It's a tale of the good, the bad and the funny in Liam Neeson's new comedy, "A Million Ways to Die in the West." The Oscar-nominated actor — known for playing good guys — is the big baddie, a gun-slinging outlaw named Clinch Leatherwood.
"It's quite romantic," Neeson said of his character's name during a visit to TODAY Monday. Not so romantic? It turns out that Clinch rides back into town to seek revenge when he learns that a cowardly farmer (Seth MacFarlane) is striking up a relationship with wife Anna (Charlize Theron).
"When I read the script, it made me giggle a lot, let's put it that way. And I blushed quite a few times too," Neeson admitted. "And I thought, 'No, they're not going to shoot this. No, they cannot shoot this. They won't be allowed to get away with this!' But they did. It's 'Family Guy' humor."
And on the topic of the long-running bawdy animated show created by MacFarlane, Neeson said that about 10 years ago, there was an episode that poked fun at the actor and his brogue.
"His main character, the little fat father in 'Family Guy,' they were making fun ... 'Imagine Liam Neeson being in a Western. Haha! With that funny accent of his,'" the actor recalled. "So when Seth called me to ask if I'd do (the movie), I said, 'I'll do it on condition that I do it in a very broad Irish accent.' So he agreed."
If his manner of speaking seems out of place in this film, that's not the only thing. It turns out that Neeson's Clinch is the one and only serious character. But for good reason.
"The more serious I was, the funnier I was," the actor explained.
"A Million Ways to Die in the West" — which also stars Neil Patrick Harris, Sarah Silverman and Giovanni Ribisi — opens May 30.