Published Feb 04, 2019Ahead of his new film Cold Pursuit hitting theatres, Liam Neeson has admitted to wanting to commit a racist murder in reaction to the rape of someone close to him.
Neeson made the confession in conversation with the Independent, telling the publication how he understood the "primal" motivation that his Cold Pursuit character feels. In the film, Neeson plays a man avenging the murder of his son.
Neeson recounted a time in which he had come back from overseas to discover news of the rape. "She handled the situation of the rape in the most extraordinary way," Neeson said of the victim. "But my immediate reaction was… I asked, did she know who it was? No. What colour were they? She said it was a black person."
The actor continued: "I went up and down areas with a cosh, hoping I'd be approached by somebody — I'm ashamed to say that — and I did it for maybe a week, hoping some 'black bastard' would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could … kill him."
Neeson declined to name the victim and withheld details to protect their identity.
"It took me a week, maybe a week and a half, to go through that," he said. "She would say, 'Where are you going?' and I would say, 'I'm just going out for a walk.' You know? 'What's wrong?' 'No no, nothing's wrong.'"
The interviewer stressed that Neeson was conscious of how serious the admission was.
"It was horrible, horrible, when I think back, that I did that," Neeson said, adding, "I did learn a lesson from it, when I eventually thought, 'What the fuck are you doing,' you know?"
His Cold Pursuit co-star, Tom Bateman, can only offer a "holy shit" in response.
Neeson concluded by referencing his upbringing in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, saying, "I knew a couple of guys that died on hunger strike, and I had acquaintances who were very caught up in the Troubles, and I understand that need for revenge, but it just leads to more revenge, to more killing and more killing, and Northern Ireland's proof of that. All this stuff that's happening in the world, the violence, is proof of that, you know. But that primal need, I understand."
Last January, Neeson caught the ire of many for saying movements such as #MeToo and #TimesUp created "a bit of a witch hunt."