Liam Neeson – Racist? Well, on the face of it, it certainly seems that way in an interview with The Independent, which was done in order to promote his new movie Cold Pursuit – released in the UK on February 22nd, but while his character goes on a killing spree, the only thing that will be killed is Neeson’s career.
Note that I will use the exact quote from the interview, so expect strong and offensive language, but I have to use it so as to be within context and factually accurate.
Neeson is an actor who used to make films worth watching, such as Schindler’s List, but in the past few years, it’s been a series of mostly lame actioners like The Taken Trilogy, Run All Night, Non-Stop, The Grey, The Commuter, and the less said about The A-Team reboot the better. However, now he’s even thrown away that easy meal ticket.
We can all say dumb things from time to time, and if you say you’ve never said anything dumb, then you’re lying, but when you’re talking to the press you have to be particularly careful, and if you want to get something off your chest, that is NOT the time to do it.
He was interviewed by The Independent’s Clémence Michallon about his role as Nels Coxman, a snowplow driver who is seeking revenge against the drug dealers he thinks killed his son, so it’s a revenge flick, and that’s why he brought up the situation that follows, but the film itself also shows how lazy he is since it’s based on a 2014 Norwegian film, which is one of those that’s been on my to-do list for some time, In Order of Disappearance, which starred Stellan Skarsgård as Nils Dickman. I can certainly understand why they changed the surname of the character, but given how Neeson sounds the same in every film, there was no way he’d pass for being Norwegian. Then again, you could also (rightly) say the same about Sean Connery as Juan Sánchez Villa-Lobos Ramírez in both Highlander and Highlander II: The Quickening.
For Liam Neeson, his personal story of revenge came about when a female friend of his had been raped. He didn’t want to identify her, but did say that she told him the man who attacked her was black, and that that is the only way she could identify him.
He then goes on to say “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.”
Based on the interview in full – which is worth a read, even if it is in that gutter piece of clickbait trash known as The Independent, it does sound like he has regrets in not only thinking those thoughts, and carrying out the action of walking around with that intention, but also in bringing it up, full stop, but in 2019, the world is less tolerant of anyone trying to explain themselves, especially in the light of other entertainers who have thrown away their careers for different reasons such as Kevin Spacey and comedian Louis CK.
It even surprised Neeson’s co-star, Tom Bateman (2017’s Murder on the Orient Express), who exclaims in reply, “Holy shit!”, and reminds me of the Cannes press junket when Lars von Trier came out with the baffling admission that he had sympathy for Hitler, saying he ‘understands’ the tyrant, and announced “I’m a Nazi”, much to the surprise of one of his stars, Kirsten Dunst whose mouth dropped on camera. This was at the time he was promoting the film Melancholia, which I do have to say is bloody wonderful, and his controversial 2018 movie, The House That Jack Built, turned out to be one of my favourites of last year, but yes, Trier is nuts as hell.
Naturally, the memes have already started on Twitter, such as with this one doing the rounds.
So, is Liam Neeson racist? Let me know what you think in the comments bleow.
Just seen the Liam Neeson trend 🤦🏽♂️ pic.twitter.com/uWKsqlzH9Z
— Rahul Writes (@Rahul_Writes) February 4, 2019
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.