HOLLYWOOD superstar Liam Neeson headlines Jeff Wayne’s musical version of The War of the Worlds at Sheffield’s Motorpoint Arena next year - but not in person.
The Star Wars and Taken action hero is to be projected on to a huge screen as a 3D hologram.
Neeson, the 59-year-old Oscar nominated star of Schindlers List, cannot manage live appearances because of a busy film schedule next year, believed to include the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises and Taken II.
So he has spent four days filming his role for the Victorian- based alien invasion story which comes to the Motorpoint Arena Sheffield on Sunday, December 9, 2012.
He’s taking over the part of the journalist, which was originally played by Richard Burton.
Neeson will interact with actors on stage when he appears as a full body hologram.
He will hover above the stage as part of the two-hour film which will be projected on to a 100 foot- wide ‘animation wall’.
Other magical special effects include a 35ft tall Martian fighting machine, firing a real flame heat ray over the audience and ‘incineration’ of a cast member.
Concert-goers are also promised a world first ‘levitation’ illusion.
Based on Wayne’s Ivor Novello Award-winning album, which produced global hit singles Forever Autumn and The Eve Of War, it was inspired by HG Wells’ classic science fiction story.
A new double album is out next June.
Neeson, a huge fan of the original, told The Star: “I loved the book as a kid. I remember buying the tape. I loved the music.
“We shot my scenes against a green screen, which I am very used to with Star Wars and Clash of the Titans.
“It wasn’t that different to shooting a film. We did it in days, so it’s not impinging on my career.”
Guest artistes for the album and live show are yet to be announced, but previous tours have included Justin Haywood and David Essex. Australian Jason Donovan appeared in last year’s production.
n Tickets priced £62.50 and £42.50 go on sale from 9am on Friday, November 25. Buy in person at the venue, call the Arena box office on 0114 256 5656.
Log on to www.motorpointarenasheffield.co.uk to book tickets online.