(NEW YORK) — Liam Neeson found a project “full of heart” when he signed on to the Robert Lorenz-directed action thriller The Marksman.

In the film, Neeson plays Jim Hanson, an ex-marine turned rancher, who does “have a particular set of skills” — when it comes to protecting his ranch. Neeson tells ABC Audio that besides the “finely written script,” he was drawn to the relevancy of the project. 

“It deals with the border question, which has been in the headlines and newspapers here for the past three or four years,” he says. “You know, 495 children unaccounted for, split from their families, which is just appalling.”

Neeson explains that in his role as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, he receives “facts and figures and statistics,” about border crossings and family separations. The actor says that the film — which follows his character as he decides to help an immigrant family being hunted by the Mexican cartel — was an opportunity to share another perspective of an important story.  

“To get the chance to tell a story with that as the basis — illegal border crossings — I just thought it was a fine script,” Neeson says.  “And yes, it’s a kind of modern-day Western. Yes, it’s a kind of a road movie. But it’s a film full of heart.”

The Marksman, also starring Katheryn Winnick, Jacob Perez, and Juan Pablo Raba, is available in select theaters on Friday.

By Candice Williams
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.