In his new film The Ice Highway, Liam Neeson performs Mike McCann, a trucker who’s considered one of a number of drivers recruited to move three giant, heavy drills to a distant northern Canada mine with a purpose to free miners trapped in a collapse. However to get there on time, McCann and the others should drive their 18-wheelers over the title routes — roadways actually made from ice which have frozen over the floor of huge lakes, with all the risks that one might think about attainable just below their toes.
It’s a singular situation that’s particularly suited to Neeson’s abilities as a latter-era action hero, with the Irish actor bringing the identical vulnerability and everyman sensibility to the function that makes all his action-movie roles relatable to audiences. The actor’s method to his work additionally extends to embracing the realism of the movie itself, which author/director Jonathan Hensleigh shot on precise ice roads protecting the floor of the huge Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada, utilizing full-sized Kenworth 18-wheelers.
However even Neeson admits that he felt greater than a little bit leery throughout one scene during which his character is pressured to leap right into a gap that has emerged within the ice, plunging into the frigid waters under.
“At one level one thing occurs and I’ve to dive into this icy water, the place the ice has been damaged, to attempt to save somebody,” says Neeson, cautious to not give away an excessive amount of of the plot. “We had dry fits on beneath our costumes, however no gloves, and we needed to be below the floor of the water for a great 10 to 12 seconds, in order that the extent of the floor of the water was nonetheless, after which we break by it.”
Neeson continues, “I used to be holding my fellow actor beneath (the water), however all I might take into consideration have been the victims of the Titanic, how fast their deaths will need to have been. As a result of we have been instructed by the consultants earlier than we did our scene that despite the fact that we’re dry fits on, it’s important to management your breath. You might have possibly 45 seconds to 60 seconds, and if you happen to don’t management your breath, demise is imminent.”
Nonetheless, whereas Neeson says that appearing in actual and even harmful circumstances is way totally different from working in a largely digital surroundings — like, say, a Star Wars movie — he additionally concedes that each effort is made to attenuate the chance and discomfort for him and the opposite forged members.
“Pay attention, we’re actors,” he says. “100 yards away they constructed a hut. That they had an enormous sizzling tub. As soon as we accomplished the scene, we dashed over there and simply dove into this sizzling water, costumes, every thing on, the remainder, and sat for 20 minutes.”
Even with all that, the scene in query is unquestionably a hanging, standout second within the movie. The cumulative impact of the ice, the massive vehicles, and the huge, windswept, palpably chilly setting during which the movie takes place go a good distance towards making The Ice Highway really feel as lifelike as attainable, and it helps to have an actor who’s prepared to make the leap (pun supposed) himself.
We’ll have extra with Liam Neeson later this week. The Ice Highway premieres on Netflix this Friday (June 25).
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