Liam Neeson deserves our respect. The guy is committed. When tasked with portraying a talking lion in the "Chronicles of Narnia" series, he packed up his bags, gathered up his family and headed off to Kenya for some on-the-ground research.
"We got to see them killing, eating, mating, sleeping, roaring. I can see why these creatures are kings of the jungle," he told MTV News. "They have this wonderful majesty and element of danger, this mysterious look in their eye that seems to be a thousand years old."
Yes, the Oscar nominee braved an African safari all so the voice of his CGI lion would have an air of authenticity. Hey, makes sense to us.
But as even Neeson admitted, voicing the creature — the Jesus-like beast called Aslan — was "an act of imagination," and so his research and commitment to the character didn't stop there. For "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader," the third installment in the franchise, which hit theaters Friday (December 10), Neeson gathered up the design team's computer mockups of Aslan and took them home with him.
"I stuck those all over my bedroom so that when I woke up in the morning, I could see this lion," he said.
Yet with recollections of real-life lions in his head and animated renderings surrounding him, the key to voicing Aslan was one simple directive: Don't imitate "The Lion King"!
"I tried not to think of James Earl Jones!" he laughed, referring to Jones' portrayal of Mufasa, the venerable king in Disney's 1994 film. "That would be a little too intimidating."
Check out everything we've got on "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader."
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