How Liam Neeson turned a Metro-North commute right into a thrill trip

The Winter of Hell could be absolutely upon us, with subway and prepare delays as a result of large freeze and work on the tracks — however a minimum of your night is nothing like ’s.

In his newest film, “The Commuter” (out Friday), the 65-year-old motion star stares demise within the face aboard the 6:25 p.m. Metro-North Hudson line to Poughkeepsie.

Neeson weapons it on the Metro-North.Lions Gate/Everett Assortment

It’s the very same prepare I take to my sleepy suburb of Irvington, NY — though it truly terminates at Croton-Harmon — and, boy, does my journey appear boring in comparison with the homicide and mayhem unfolding within the flick.

Director Jaume Collet-Serra partly selected this explicit line due to Neeson’s “attachment” to the route. He repeatedly makes use of it to journey upstate to his nation house in Millbrook, NY (though, sadly, I’ve by no means sat subsequent to him).

“Liam has taken that prepare actually lots of of instances, and he loves it,” Collet-Serra tells The Submit. “It’s a very stunning route going from Grand Central via Harlem and up the Hudson River.”

Not that Neeson’s character, Michael, spends a lot time gazing out of the window. After being confronted by a mysterious stranger, he’s blackmailed into discovering the identification of a fellow passenger earlier than the final cease.

‘Liam has taken that prepare actually lots of of instances, and he loves it.’

Simply as you’d count on from one of many actor’s thrillers, there’s loads of head butting and taking pictures — the kind of factor that simply wouldn’t be tolerated on the quiet automotive. (The film was truly filmed on a London set that includes a 30-ton reconstruction of a Metro-North prepare.)

And it takes a little bit of license so far as the locations are involved. Collet-Serra’s Hudson line makes a cease at 86th Avenue and Lexington Avenue, adopted by the fictional 96th and Lex cease earlier than winding its method in direction of Chilly Spring by way of Dobbs Ferry and Tarrytown.

However the director maintains that the range of the passengers in “The Commuter” displays actual life.

“The road has an amazing cross part of individuals on their commute upstate — some folks getting off in Harlem and others touring for an hour-and-a-half,” says Collet-Serra. “There are white- and blue-collar employees sitting collectively, all with totally different [back] tales.”

He additionally factors out that the considerably old style (and, within the film, somewhat dirty) Metro-North prepare is a metaphor for Neeson’s downtrodden insurance coverage salesman, Michael.

The true Metro-North commuter prepare travels alongside the Hudson River.Alamy

“They each are a bit bit beat-up,” he says. “In different cities than New York, the trains are extra fashionable,” says the Spain-born director, who’s teamed with Neeson on three earlier movies. “They don’t use the system a lot the place the conductor place slips of paper on the seat in entrance [to show which zone you are traveling to].” The latter aspect is integral to the plot of “The Commuter,” since Michael has to determine the place every passenger is getting off.

As a part of his analysis for the movie, Collet-Serra casually interviewed plenty of Metro-North engineers and conductors. One such dialog made its method into the ultimate script.

“The conductors have a superb humorousness and don’t take issues too severely as a result of they’ll’t whereas coping with [difficult] passengers of their job,” he says. “One in every of them mentioned: ‘If the prepare doesn’t kill me, the folks will.’ ” The quote is delivered by British actor Colin McFarlane.

It’s an amazing line, however the very best within the movie arguably belongs to actor Andy Nyman, who performs one other traveler on the prepare. After his horrible ordeal aboard the Metro-North, involving a spectacular derailment, his character blurts out: “Subsequent time, I’ll take the bus.”

Seasoned Westchester commuters like me can solely shrug. New Jerseyites, we ain’t.

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