By Clark Collis
Updated August 15, 2014 at 04:00 AM EDT
Credit: Atsushi Nishijima

A Walk Among the Tombstones is a kidnapping thriller starring Liam Neeson. Sound familiar? It certainly did to the Taken star. ”I was a wee bit hesitant,” Neeson says. ”I thought, ‘Telephone calls to kidnappers?’ It’s old f—ing territory.” The noir-loving actor was ultimately won over by director Scott Frank’s script, which is faithful to the hard-boiled nature of writer Lawrence Block’s original 1992 novel. Neeson plays Matthew Scudder, a private detective and recovering alcoholic who’s hired by a high-end drug dealer (Downton Abbey‘s Dan Stevens) to find the people responsible for abducting and murdering his wife. ”It’s not Taken,” says Frank, a successful screenwriter (Get Shorty, The Wolverine) who made his directorial debut with 2007’s The Lookout. ”It’s not an action movie — it’s a very different sort of thing.”

The project received a post-shoot assist from Steven Soderbergh, director of the Frank-penned Out of Sight. ”The film wasn’t working,” Frank admits. ”He came into the cutting room and helped me follow all the rules I had set for myself and then had immediately abandoned.” But now the filmmaker sees franchise possibilities, noting that a few of Block’s other Scudder novels are ripe for adaptation. And Neeson says it would be ”nice to don that raincoat” in a sequel — if, of course, audiences are taken by Tombstones.

A Walk Among the Tombstones

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