Five years ago Today in Movie History – January 30 – Taken became a surprise box office smash in the U.S. with a terrific $24.7 million opening weekend on its way to a $145 million domestic gross. Building from its very effective trailer, Taken transitioned star Liam Neeson to a legitimate action hero. A sequel would follow in 2012 and a third is already in the planning stages.
As for birthdays, Gene Hackman is 84 today. He’s been nominated for five Academy Awards and won two – for Best Actor in 1971 for The French Connection and Supporting Actor in 1992 for Unforgiven. The other nominations: Bonnie & Clyde, I Never Sang for My Father, and Mississippi Burning. Mr. Hackman appeared in many notable pictures throughout his storied career before his retirement from acting in 2004. They include Downhill Racer, The Poseidon Adventure, The Conversation, Young Frankenstein, as Lex Luthor in the Superman franchise, Reds, Under Fire, Hoosiers, No Way Out, The Firm, Crimson Tide, Get Shorty, The Birdcage, Enemy of the State, and The Royal Tenenbaums.
Christian Bale is 40 today. Of course, he’s best known as the Caped Crusader/Bruce Wayne in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. He got his start as a teenager headlining Steven Spielberg’s Empire of the Sun. His recent work with director David O. Russell resulted in a Supporting Actor Oscar win for The Fighter and a nomination for Best Actor just last week for American Hustle. And there’s his now iconic role in the 2000 cult classic American Psycho. Other noteworthy films: Shaft, The Machinist, The Prestige, 3:10 to Yuma, Terminator Salvation, Public Enemies, and Out of the Furnace.
As for Six Degrees of Separation between these two fantastic actors:
Gene Hackman was in Unforgiven with Morgan Freeman
Morgan Freeman was in Batman Begins with Christian Bale
And that’s today – January 30 – in Movie History!