Liam Neeson has made headlines lately for voicing his fatigue with the seemingly endless parade of superhero movies dominating the film industry. However, this attitude is a far cry from how the acclaimed actor felt immediately following his turn as the villain Ra’s al Ghul in 2005’s Batman Begins. At the time, Neeson was eager to keep playing the iconic Batman foe, a testament to how thrilled he was by the film’s $350 million box office smash and critical acclaim.
After portraying Ra’s al Ghul in director Christopher Nolan’s Batman reboot, Neeson was desperate to reprise the role following the movie’s runaway success. Despite initial hesitations about starring in a superhero film, Neeson came away immensely proud of Batman Begins and immediately wanted to return for a sequel. His post-release enthusiasm demonstrated that even skeptical actors can become diehard believers after being part of a game-changing comic book movie.
Thrilled by Positive Response to Batman Begins
Neeson portrayed Ra’s al Ghul in 2005’s Batman Begins, which revitalized the Batman franchise under director Christopher Nolan. Though Neeson was initially skeptical of acting in a superhero film, the movie ended up receiving critical acclaim and earning $356 million at the box office.
A source said that after Batman Begins exceeded expectations, “Liam was walking around on cloud nine.” The insider added, “He was so thrilled to be part of a superhero movie that was seen as ‘serious’ cinema.” Neeson suddenly had a new appreciation for the genre.
Liam Neeson was Eager to Keep Playing the Iconic Villain
In the wake of Batman Begins’ success, Liam Neeson made it clear he wanted to keep playing the villainous Ra’s al Ghul. “He told Chris Nolan he would happily play the character again in a heartbeat,” said the source.
However, Nolan ended up using a plot twist related to the Lazarus Pit to bring back Ra’s al Ghul in a different incarnation, played by a different actor. But Neeson remained proud of being the first to portray the iconic Batman foe on screen in many years.
The Actor Praised Christopher Nolan’s Fresh Take
Not only was Neeson impressed by the box office might of Batman Begins, but he also sang the praises of Nolan’s unique directorial approach to the superhero genre. “He respected the way Chris grounded everything in a gritty realism,” a colleague of Neeson’s noted. “He thought it elevated comic book films to a new level.”
Though jaded by the superhero craze today, Liam Neeson was once extremely passionate about playing Batman’s nemesis Ra’s al Ghul, only growing eager to reprise the role after seeing the acclaimed reaction to Batman Begins. Neeson has changed his tune, but he was unabashedly thrilled to be part of a new era for Batman – at least for a time.
In the afterglow of 2005’s Batman Begins, Liam Neeson was an avid supporter of superhero movies and hungry to play the villainous Ra’s al Ghul again. But as the genre exploded across Hollywood, Neeson’s enthusiasm slowly faded. While Neeson may now complain about superhero fatigue, he was once an ardent believer who craved returning to the world of Batman – a testament to the phenomenal work of pioneering filmmaker Christopher Nolan.
Batman Begins is available on Max. You can also rent/buy it on Amazon Instant Video, Google Play, iTunes, and Vudu.