Liam Neeson Says Naked Gun Reboot Has ‘About 3 Laugh-Out-Loud Moments’

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Summary

  • Liam Neeson is admittedly “a little bit nervous” about his upcoming reboot of
    The Naked Gun.
  • Neeson plans to put his own spin on the character of Frank Drebin, who was originally portrayed by the late Leslie Nielsen.
  • Neeson is a fan of the original
    Naked Gun
    trilogy, which was adapted from the short-lived television show
    Police Squad!
    (1982), which also starred Nielsen as Lt. Drebin.



Sure, Liam Neeson’s version of the lovable and dimwitted Frank Drebin might not have George Kennedy backing him up, but the famous police lieutenant is headed back to the big screen — and Neeson is actually “nervous.” While promoting his film, In the Land of Saints and Sinners, the actor spoke to MovieWeb about taking on the comedic role of Lt. Frank Drebin Jr. — originally played by the late Leslie Nielsen — in the upcoming reboot of The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! (1988). Neeson said:

“I’ve done a couple of, like, TV skits with Stephen Colbert and Ricky Gervais, but those were two minutes, three minutes tops. But I’m a bit nervous about Naked Gun, because it’s a feature film… If he tests it well, which I’m sure he will, Akiva Schafer is our writer-director. And there’s lots of funny gags, lots of funny visual gags happening at the same time while ‘serious things’ are being discussed, you know?”


Neeson was adamant that The Naked Gun was not a remake in any way:

“It’s not a remake. It’s a reboot. It’s a totally different thing. I think we start in May and shoot for a couple of months or so. It’s a good script but it’s still developing. You know, there’s about three laugh-out-loud moments, but we need seven or eight.”

Then again, take Neeson with a grain of salt. He has a very wry and dry Irish humor reminiscent of Beckett and, more recently, McDonagh, so he may very well be having a laugh.



Liam Neeson Will Do His ‘Own Thing’ in The Naked Gun Reboot

Liam Neeson’s acting talent is without question impressive, but he’ll be tackling a comedic role that Leslie Nielsen owned much in the same way that Peter Sellers did with the character of Inspector Clouseau in The Pink Panther movies. However, as much as Neeson admires The Naked Gun movies, the actor plans on doing his “own thing” when it comes to portraying Lt. Drebin in the upcoming Naked Gun reboot. Neeson said in an interview with Collider:

I’ll do my own thing. I remember Leslie very well. I love those films. Especially that first,
Airplane!
You know, ‘Don’t call me Shirley.’ Just that line alone, I think, changed Leslie’s career up until he passed away.


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Neeson refers to one of Nielsen’s biggest roles, which is that of Dr. Rumack in 1980’s Airplane! Up until he made the classic comedy, Nielsen was best known primarily for his dramatic roles in films like Forbidden Planet (1956), The Poseidon Adventure (1972) and the television series The New Breed (1961-1962).

Once Nielsen appeared in Airplane!, the trajectory of his career veered toward mainly comedic parts, which included Dracula: Dead and Loving It along with both Scary Movie 3 and Scary Movie 4. So, it’s arguably for the best that Neeson does things his own way, because trying to play Frank Drebin the way Nielsen did seems like a daunting task — perhaps, even an impossibility.

The Naked Gun
reboot starring Liam Neeson opens in theaters on July 18, 2025.


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