Liam Neeson Joins Martin Scorsese's 'Silence'

Huh. We've gotten so used to Liam Neeson cashing paychecks and cracking skulls that it's easy to forget he's an Academy Award-nominated actor (for his turn in "Schindler's List"). And while he did dial it down a bit for Paul Haggis' abysmal "Third Person" which premiered at TIFF last fall, for the most part, we just think of Neeson these days as filling time with one generic thriller after another (e.g. the upcoming "Non-Stop" and the soon-to-be-filming "Taken 3"). But it looks he'll have a chance to remind everyone that he has other special skills that don't involve punching people in the groin.

Neeson has come aboard Martin Scorsese's long-brewing "Silence," reteaming with the director a dozen years after appearing in "Gangs Of New York" (as a priest, fittingly). He'll join Andrew Garfield, Ken Watanabe, Adam Driver and Issei Ogata in the adaptation of Shusaku Endo's novel, about two 17th-century Jesuit priests who face violence and persecution when they travel to Japan to locate their mentor and to spread the gospel of Christianity. Production on the drama begins later this year, and consider our eyebrows sufficiently raised.