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‘I’m not a leader’

Actor Liam Neeson says he is unlike his screen character John Smith in The A-Team. HT brings you an exclusive interview with the Schindler's List star.

entertainment Updated: Jun 26, 2010 01:24 IST
Harsha Bhatnagar

Actor Liam Neeson says he is unlike his screen character John Smith in The A-Team. HT brings you an exclusive interview with the Schindler's List star.

You play John ‘Hannibal’ Smith in TheA-Team. How was it preparing for the role?
I got a lovely taste of action adventure with Taken. And I was just looking for another opportunity to kick some a**. I was a boxer for seven years as a kid, so I did know how to throw a punch. This was a chance to do it on screen. I’m an ex-smoker. I’m off them for 17 years and I was very conscious of that. So the only thing I needed to prepare for was smoking a cigar. .

Tell us about John ‘Hannibal’ Smith.
Hannibal is a character who is tactically brilliant and capable of making a plan come together. He is often shown as this angry and intense character who likes to do everything by himself and doesn’t leave anything for other members of his team. I think people should love him because he knows no fear and does real cool stuff. He is a real guy. Do you relate to your character in the film?

Hannibal is a natural leader. I’ve never really been a company man in that sense. I’ve been a member of a football team and stuff like that. They were never my sports. I was a boxer. I liked that one-on-one thing. I’m not a decision maker at all. I’d be useless in a real battle with soldiers. I do love taking orders. I’m good at that. But no, I’m not a natural leader at all.

Apparently, the film has a discussion between your character Hannibal and Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson’s character about Mahatma Gandhi and his principle of non-violence.
I’m totally a non-violent person in real life, but that’s part of the joy of acting. You can enter these worlds, psychologically try and analyse how you would feel, how you would react in certain situations and change your persona into someone else’s. In real life, I truly follow the Gandhian principal.

Have you ever watched any Indian movies?
I’ve watched a few, in bits though. They make pretty interesting stuff!

What are the other projects you are working on?
I’ve just completed The Unknown White Male. It’s a thriller by Jaume Collet-Serra, who directed Orphan. I’m sharing the screen with Diane Kruger and January Jones.