Schindler’s List was undoubtedly the role that launched Northern Irish actor Liam Neeson to a whole new level of fame, but he had appeared in nearly 25 films before the release of the Steven Spielberg movie in 1993. One such movie was 1988’s crime thriller movie The Dead Pool, which is the last of Clint Eastwood’s five Dirty Harry movies.
It seems as though Eastwood was somewhat intimidated by Neeson’s physical presence as a co-star – which he would later exploit in his lengthy action movie career, of course. According to Neeson, Eastwood ensured that he always appeared taller than his co-star onscreen, despite them being the same height.
According to an interview with The Irish Times from 1994; Eastwood is a big man, nearly 6 feet, 4 inches tall, and so is Neeson. But since Eastwood was the star, Neeson was not permitted to appear bigger than the Mighty Clint. “They actually put me down a couple of inches shorter than Clint,” Neeson says. “Where we were filmed side by side, he stood on curbs and the upside slopes of hills. Because he was the hero, I was made shorter. That galled me.”
If the rumor mill is to be believed, this is far from the only example of actors standing on boxes etc to appear taller onscreen. Eastwood decided to retire as Dirty Harry after The Dead Pool, as he was 58 and felt he was getting too old for the role. Even more surprising than Liam Neeson being in a Dirty Harry movie, is the fact that Jim Carrey plays a character called Johnny Squares in The Dead Pool, in what was his first ‘dramatic’ role.
While Eastwood may have retired his Dirty Harry character back in the 1980s, he has far from retired from Hollywood altogether. At the age of 93, Eastwood is currently working on the latest movie that he will both direct and star in – Juror #2. Both Dirty Harry and Steve McQueen’s character Bullitt were partly based on real life San Francisco detective Dave Toschi, who is portrayed by Mark Ruffalo in David Fincher’s Zodiac.
Check out our guide to the best detective movies.