It’s been a big news day for movies about real-life figures from Irish political history. While Timothy Spall is (likely) set to play controversial Northern Irish politician Ian Paisley in a film about The Troubles, first-time actor (excepting a small appearance in Anchorman 2) and Liam Neeson’s son Michael Neeson is (definitely) set to play more beloved Irish patriot Michael Collins in The Rising, which will focus on the Easter Rising of 1916, one of the most important political events in Irish history (as well as one of the most art-inspiring). And, yes, that is the role his father played in the 1996 Neil Jordan biopic Michael Collins. One might even say Michael is takin’ (“Taken”) after his father, if one wanted to say a thing like that.
According to Deadline, Relative newcomer and definite Irishman Kevin McCann will direct a script he co-wrote with his pal Colin Broderick, which serves as a sort of prequel to Michael Collins, covering the events prior to the Irish Civil War. Rounding out the cast so far is, once again, Northern Irish actor Colin Morgan of Testament Of Youth and Merlin as Sean McDermott, and dirty, ignoble Scot David O’Hara, best known for his work in Braveheart and The Departed, as James Connolly. Both McDermott and Connolly played important roles in the Easter Rising, but not dramatized-by-two-generations-of-Neeson-actors important, apparently.
Of course, whether Michael Neeson will truly follow in his father’s footsteps—by being a serious actor in serious dramas for years and then mostly become known for acting almost exclusively in throwaway action-thrillers once he reaches his late 50s—will be interesting to see. To be sure, if he inherited his father’s chops, then The Rising may signal the rising of a strong new talent, and if not, then we can all say we witnessed a terrible beauty being born, or something like that.