A few days before his well-reviewed movie "The Grey" opens in the U.S. theaters, Liam Neeson shared his challenging experience in filming the survival thriller on a very "unimaginably inhospitable" set. Speaking to Screen Rant, the 59-year-old actor said that he was nearly "curled up" and dead while shooting the anticipated film.
"I'd curled up and die. Yeah, especially 40 minus degrees, which it was our first week," he recalled. "I remember thinking, 'We're never going to finish this film. It's impossible.' Cameras were malfunctioning and equipment wasn't working, and I thought, 'This is ludicrous'."
The actor playing Ra's Al Ghul in "Batman Begins" went on sharing, "After the initial draw of reading it, and genuinely kind of falling in love with it, I then thought, 'How the f*** is he [director Joe Carnahan] going to shoot this thing?' We have extremes of temperature, winds and stuff, and then wolves and ranging rivers and stuff, it's like, how's he going to shoot this stuff in 40 days? But he did, he did it."
Though admitting to have faced difficulties while filming the movie, Neeson stated that the hardship had triggered something primal in him. "Well, the script kind of did. The script read like a 19th Century epic poem for me, something like 'The Ancient Mariner' or something. And also the little boy in myself; I just thought it would be great to be out with a bunch of guys on a cliff face or a rock face and do manly things," he said.
As for how he prepared himself to cope with the physical challenges on the tough set, the Irish actor opened up about his inspiration, "I remember seeing this documentary from a couple of years ago about this crazy Brit who swims from iceberg to iceberg in Antartica."
"You know, you find these people sometimes, and he was this London guy, and he started preparing for these swims by standing under freezing cold showers for ten minutes, 15 minutes every morning, and I did that," revealed the actor. "I got up to seven minutes most mornings, and it actually works; it immunizes your body, and your body starts getting used to the cold. It really works."
"The Grey" follows a group of oil-rig roughnecks that are left stranded on the sub-arctic tundra after their plane experiences a complete mechanical failure and crashes into the remote Alaskan wilderness. Battling mortal injuries, cold weather and ravenous hunger, the survivors are relentlessly hunted and pursued by a vicious pack of rouge wolves.
Joining Neeson in the cast ensemble are Frank Grillo, Dermot Mulroney, Dallas Roberts, James Badge Dale, Joe Anderson and Nonso Anozie. In addition to working behind the lens, Carnahan writes the script along with Ian Jeffers. The film is due to be released in theaters across the U.S. on January 27.