NBC has found an actor with a particular, needed set of skills, and he comes from a particularly savage television series.
The network has reportedly cast Vikings actor Clive Standen as a young Bryan Mills, the CIA operative famously played by Liam Neeson in all three Taken movies. Standen currently appears on the History Channel series Vikings as one of the lead characters.
The Hollywood Reporter first brought news of Standen’s casting in the series, which will serve as a modern-day prequel to the movie trilogy. The Taken series will follow Bryan Mills during his early years as he’s recruited for the Emergency Covert Action Team and becomes one of the elite organization’s black-ops agents.
The pilot episode of the series will be directed by Alex Graves (Game of Thrones, Homeland) from a script penned by Homeland writer Alexander Carry, who’s executive producing the series with original franchise producer Luc Besson, who wrote and produced all three movies. Besson also directed the original, wildly popular 2008 film.
The 2008 film was a key element of Neeson’s return to action-hero roles, and had Neeson’s character punching, kicking, shooting, and otherwise eliminating bad guys who stood between him and his daughter, who had been kidnapped while vacationing in Europe. Later installments of the series would have Bryan Mills himself taken prisoner, and other members of his family taken as well, as the ramifications of his actions in the first film come back to threaten everything he holds dear. Neeson is not expected to have a role in the television series.
After the first Taken earned more than $226 million worldwide on a $25 million budget, the trilogy went on to gross more than $929 million worldwide, with sequels arriving in 2012 and 2015.
There’s no word on when filming will begin on the Taken series, and no premiere date has been issued for the project.