Liam Neeson battles wolves in the new film "The Grey" and says that while the one he worked with were fake, they still seemed "pretty scary."
In the film, which hit theaters on Friday, January 27, members of an oil drilling team survive a plane crash and get stranded in the Alaskan wilderness, where they face dangers such as blizzards and wolves. Neeson's character, a man named Ottway, takes on the role of leader. The film also stars Dermot Mulroney and Frank Grillo.
When asked if he worked with real wolves, Neeson, 59, told OnTheRedCarpet.com: "I personally didn't. Just animatronics."
"It was quite intense because these wolves were made larger than they are in real life and especially the alpha wolf was made to be quite mythological, quite sinister and I have to fight a couple of them," he added. "It was pretty intense. Pretty scary, too, actually. Even though there were humans behind them, manipulating them, but they were still very real. There was no CGI there."
The actor, who was born in Northern Ireland, is no stranger to fighting imaginary enemies - he engaged in lightsaber duels in the 1999 movie "Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace," which is being re-released to theaters in 3D on February 10.
Neeson also told OnTheRedCarpet.com that his character in "The Grey" has a "respect for the wolves."
"He knows how they operate, he knows how they behave as a pact and he ... most certainly has an empathy with them," he said. "I also think he has a very, very guilty conscience, too, because he's had to kill them to protect the workers in this oil refinery, you know, which I think weighs very, very heavily on him. But there's a respect there, most certainly."
"I think there's kind of a mythological, almost a Greek tragedy thing is about to unfold where ... maybe these wolves are about to get their revenge on their brothers and sisters that I've killed," Neeson told OnTheRedCarpet.com. "And I know that and they know that and they know that I know that. Maybe."
Neeson, who earned an Oscar nomination for his title role in the 1993 Holocaust film "Schindler's List," also has several more films in the works. He can also be seen in the movie "Wrath of the Titans," which is set for release on March 30 and is the sequel to the 2010 film "Clash of the Titans." Neeson also stars in "Battleship," a movie inspired by the board game of the same name and which also features R&B singer Rihanna in her debut acting role.
It has also been reported recently that Neeson will reprise his role as Henri Ducard, aka the villain Ra's al Ghul, in the new Batman film, "The Dark Knight Rises," playing terrorist Ra's Al Ghul. His casting has not been confirmed by the movie's studio, Warner Bros. Pictures. "The Dark Knight Rises," the third in Christopher Nolan's trilogy, hits theaters on July 20.
Check out a trailer for "The Grey," starring Liam Neeson.