Just last week when reporting on Rob Marshall’s casting considerations for who should play Johnny Depp’s onscreen paramour in his Thin Man remake, I wondered how far Hollywood would push their love of pairing older men with much younger women. And now Oscar-winning writer-director Paul Haggis (Crash) has revealed to Vulture his striking choice of casting 28-year-old Olivia Wilde to play the love interest of 59-year-old Liam Neeson.
Don’t get me wrong, I–like many younger ladies–harbor a serious crush on the Taken star who can go from tough as nails to utterly adorable (I’m thinking Love, Actually) with an endearing believability. Nonetheless, that’s pure fantasy and this 31-year gap is sure to be a jarring disparity on screen. Regardless, this May-December pairing will be among the stars fronting Haggis’ latest ensemble piece,Third Person.
After having developed Third Person‘s script for more than two years, Haggis is finally looking to lens the film this August. But for now he is being painfully tight-lipped when it comes to who else may appear in his next effort. He has divulged:
“It’s about three story lines, three love stories, three relationships in three different cities that combine in a very odd way: New York, Paris, Rome.”
Neeson and Wilde will be at the center of the New York plot line, with the latter slated to play a reporter who covers the city’s ever-vibrant party beat. Haggis shared no details on what kind of role Neeson will fill, but it seems to me that with such a prominent difference in their ages, and Wilde’s character’s incredibly cool job, their story may well revolve around Neeson’s character feeling too old and out-of-date for his chic, young girlfriend.
Already, the age gap along with Haggis’ decision to set part of his love-centered tale in New York is drawing superficial parallels to the work of Woody Allen. But it’s unlikely Third Person will be a wry comedy in that vein as Haggis is best known for his earnest and dark dramas. To that end, I’ll be curious to see what Haggis take on romantic love is, as his exploration of patriotism and fatherly love in 2007’s In the Valley of Elah was riveting and unforgettable.