Belfast Telegraph

Liam Neeson: I don’t want my boys to be actors

By Colin O'Carroll

He's one of the top stars in Hollywood with a host of hit films to his name, but Ballymena man Liam Neeson (60) is hoping that neither of his teenage sons follow him in to the world of acting.

Protective dad Liam believes that the rejection everyone experiences in the acting world is not something that he wants for either of his two boys.

Despite the Taken star's reservations, the boys' grandmother, acclaimed actress Vanessa Redgrave, has been quietly urging both Michael (17) and Daniel (16) to follow in the family tradition. Vanessa is the mother of Natasha Richardson, Liam's wife and mother of his two sons.

Before her death in a skiing accident in 2009, Natasha (45) was a renowned Tony-award winning stage actress with a number of films under her belt.

If the boys took to the stage they would be the fifth generation in an acting dynasty stretching back to their great-great grandfather, silent film actor Roy Redgrave, and great grandfather Sir Michael Redgrave, probably best known for playing bouncing bomb inventor Barnes Wallis in The Dambusters.

However, while Vanessa is trying to coax Liam's two sons onto the stage, she faces opposition from the Co Antrim man who wants to shield his boys from emotional hurt.

“My mother-in-law is encouraging them, but that's mothers-in-law, isn't it?” he joked in a recent interview.

However, he says the two teens have shown no “bent in that direction”.

“I'm kind of relieved, because I think if you're the son or daughter of a successful actor, it's a double pressure, because so much more is expected of you.

“And for every successful actor or actress there are so many others who aren't successful.

“When it comes down to it, the name of the game is really about rejection.

“You go for an interview for a part and you're rejected for all sorts of things — you're too tall, or too Irish. It is a hard process to go through and I don't want my kids to have to feel that.”

Liam has remained close to Vanessa and to Joely Richardson, Natasha's actress sister.

Vanessa and Joely play prominent roles in his life.

Liam has even followed in Vanessa’s footsteps by becoming an ambassador for children's charity Unicef.

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