I liked Neeson quite a bit in “A Walk Among the Tombstones,” where he played Lawrence Block’s hard-boiled PI Matt Scudder. Block isn’t Chandler (who is?), but he’s still Mystery Writer Royalty, and Scudder is a great, enduring character. I think Neeson will be fine.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that everyone wants to be seen as a whole person, not just as one aspect of themselves, particularly if that aspect is a physical one. And I completely agree, a bit of empathy for others doesn’t cost anything and goes a long, long way.