THE COMMUTER: PRODUCTION MEETING

Fourth-time collaborators Liam Neeson & Jaume Collet-Serra had a bit of a break after the appropriately named Run All Night. It was time to make another movie.

Liam: Jaume!

Jaume: Liam!

Liam: So, I was thinking –

Jaume: Way ahead of you – remember Non-Stop?

Liam: Sure

Jaume: Well, what if we did another movie like that?

Liam: I don’t know if I want to do another plane movie

Jaume: Not another plane movie – this one, it’s completely different. We’re gonna put you, I’m excited, we haven’t done this before… on a boat!

Liam: Hmm, but what about Battleship?

Jaume: Battleship. Right

Liam: Not trying to be difficult, it’s just, you know, I already kind of did a boat movie

Jaume: Uh-huh

Liam: We could, you know, set it in a skyscraper, or a lorry, or a train, or a –

Jaume: Train! I love it!

Liam: Can I use my real voice in this one, I’ve had to do a lot of accents lately

Jaume: Sure, we’ll just throw in a line about your character being from Ireland, we’ll call you Michael or something – Michael MacCauley – we’ll use that for now, you haven’t played a Michael before have you?

Liam: I played Michael Collins

Jaume: Anyway, my idea is to make you an everyman –

Liam: I’m not CIA, or an Air Marshall, or something?

Jaume: We can say that you were a cop, but now you’re a regular Joe, you sell insurance, or something

Liam: And what am I doing on the train?

Jaume: You’re commuting, and then you tell a stranger that you’ll do something, for money, there’s a bag of money on the train, and then you get in trouble

Liam: And then I have to save the people on the train?

Jaume: Yes!

Liam: And no one will know what’s really going on?

Jaume: Yes!

Liam: Including me?

Jaume: Yes!

Liam: Who else is in it?

Jaume: We’ve got Patrick Wilson, and Jonathan Banks, from Breaking Bad

Liam: Nice

Jaume: Vera Farmiga’s on board, and Sam Neill!

Liam: I thought Sam was doing a bunch of other stuff

Jaume: He’s only in it for a little bit, you’ll barely notice him. We also need someone from Game of Thrones – that’s what everyone’s doing

Liam: I know Dean-Charles Chapman?

Jaume: Who?

Liam: The kid who plays Tommen, he could be my son

Jaume: That’s good enough. We could use at least one more really good non-American actor – it doesn’t have to be a big role. Have you heard of Roland Moller?

Liam: From Land of Mine? He’s great!

Jaume: Did you see that movie Lady Macbeth? I know Florence, can see if she’s free, could use that indie cred

Liam: Isn’t this getting a little crowded?

Jaume: It’s a train – we’ll find space

Liam: Speaking of space – I know Shazad from the new Star Trek

Jaume: Haven’t seen it

Liam: It’s really good – you’ll like it. But what should I tell him?

Jaume: Oh he can be a… stockbroker, or funds manager, one of those guys attached to an earpiece

Liam: I still don’t get why I have to save everyone

Jaume: We don’t find out till later, basically you have to find a passenger or bad things start happening, which means you have to get to know everyone on the train while exposing the bad guy – think Murder on the Orient Express meets North by Northwest, only with a bunch of millenials

Liam: Will the train crash?

Jaume: Sure, I think we can afford it. We’ll also need you to climb out of the train at some point, and probably throw someone off the car

Liam: We could do some really great one-liners there

Jaume: We’ll think of something, trust me.

Liam: Can someone say something like “Next time, I’m taking the bus”?

Jaume: Don’t you think that’s too on the nose?

Liam:

Jaume: Yep we’ll do that

The Commuter (aka Liam Neeson on a Train, aka Non-Stop to Putnam, aka Rail All Night), a thoroughly enjoyable and at times hyper-Hitchcockian action-thriller from the ever reliable Neeson, complete with a plot that is by no means perfect but perfectly serves its purpose, is in cinemas now. If you have a choice between this and Murder on the Orient Express, there’s a reason these guys have made four films together and after this will (hopefully) make a fifth.