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For the actors and filmmakers of the new installment of ‘Taken’, ‘Taken 2’, the decision to return for a sequel was not taken lightly. ‘Taken’ had captured something special, and everyone was determined to find a fresh angle on Bryan Mills’s tale. “When I read Luc and Robert’s script,” Director Olivier Megaton explains, “I found the openings to do something new. It’s not just another Bryan Mills story; it’s about family and a father determined to save it.”
“The writers were really wonderful in how they approached the new story,” says Maggie Grace. “It retains all the elements that worked so well in ‘Taken’, and then expands upon them. Bryan, Kim and Lenore are fighting to survive – and for each other.”
Much of the action in ‘Taken 2’ unfolds in Istanbul, a locale rarely seen on screen. Megaton spent much of his prep time scouting locations and walking around the city for hours at a time. When principal photography commenced, he knew Istanbul’s streets and passageways better than some of the local crew.
Liam Neeson says shooting in Istanbul was like nothing he has experienced. “Istanbul is where east meets west – a beautiful city full of wonderful people,” notes the actor, who has filmed on locations around the globe but remains most impressed with Istanbul’s singular sights and sounds.
Everywhere the crew members turned, they were faced with a landmark. Key locales included the front of the Süleymaniye Mosque, one of the city’s grandest buildings; the Grand Bazaar, a 15th Century Istanbul landmark that takes up an entire city block and welcomes more than a quarter of a million visitors every day; and a traditional hamam, or Turkish bath, home to the film’s explosive finale.
Director of photography Romain Lacourbas, enhanced the vivid palette of these stunning locations. “You could almost touch the light and it would change hue,” says Neeson. “And there are shots where you see the whole city laid out in front of you.” Adds Maggie Grace: “Being given carte blanche to see behind the scenes of this incredible city, you can literally feel its history.”