“Now, the next part is very important … they are going to take you.” With those words Liam Neeson launched the second half of his career, now as an action star, in 2008s Taken. The Hollywood Reporter revealed today that Vikings star Clive Standen will take over Neeson’s role of Bryan Mills in NBC’s upcoming TV prequel to the film trilogy.
The movies featured Mills, a private security guard with “a very particular set of skills […] acquired over a very long career” that allowed him to rescue his daughter from traffickers, save he and his ex-wife from mercenaries, and discover that same ex’s eventual murderer. But, while its entertaining to watch Mills outsmart and dispatch his foes, we never really get to know the man. The TV series will introduce us to Mills before he was a prophetic ninja, as he is recruited for the mysterious black-ops Emergency Covert Action Team.
I can’t help but hope Jack Bauer cameos in here somewhere.
Doing some quick math – if Taken first came out in 2008 and Mills abducted daughter was 17, Mills was probably in his early to mid-40s. That would place his formative years of training in the late 80s or 90s, which might make for some interesting throwback fun. Remember, that was before the Internet and cell phones were widespread, so covert action was a whole different ballgame.
The series has a lot of heavy talent on board; it was created by Luc Besson who also translated his films La Femme Nikita and Transporter to TV series. Alexander Cary (Homeland) will write the scripts with Alex Graves (Game of Thrones) directing the pilot. The show has been ordered direct-to-series.
Standen has been sporting lumberjack beard for 4 seasons on Vikings as the fierce, anti-hero warrior Rollo. He is expected to return for season 5, though his role may be diminished to make room for Taken. (Regardless, the productions are going to have to find a middle ground on facial hair.) Last year he also appeared in feature film Everest.