Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

Liam Neeson quits film as grief for late wife overwhelms him

HANNIBAL RISING: Liam Neeson (far right)
Liam Neeson and wife Natasha Richardson
Liam Neeson waves to journalists as he arrives with family and friends to the funeral of his wife Natasha, March 22, 2009

Since the death of his actress wife Natasha Richardson in a skiing accident last year Liam Neeson has immersed himself in work, finding some sort of comfort in his hectic schedule.

Despite his heartache the hard-working Ballymena man saw through the various movie commitments he had made prior to the accident — even lining up a few new projects.

But it seems his overwhelming grief — combined with a dizzying timetable — has finally caught up with the father-of-two.

Neeson has dropped out of a major new movie starring Jeremy Irons about the saint who brought Christianity to Scotland, citing his anguish following his wife’s death after an accident in Canada last March.

The star of Taken and the new A-Team movie had signed up for a new film by Scottish director Norman Stone about the historical figure Saint Columba, but according to the moviemaker the 57-year-old actor has now scrapped plans to appear in the film.

Stone, who directed Shadowlands and The Mirror Crack’d, said that he had given Neeson a few months to consider his position after Richardson’s death. But he said Neeson had decided not to go ahead with the role.

“It has been a difficult time for Liam,” said Stone.

“I think he would have been great in the film. We wanted him to play the part of King Aidan, who has fiery clashes with Columba (Irons).

“It would have been great to see him alongside Jeremy.

“The script was with him for several months and I understand he loved it.

“He has decided not to go ahead, which is a pity, but the decision was made after what has been a difficult time for him and I respect the circumstances.

“He is a truly great actor.”

The break from filming comes after a busy year of back-to-back movies.

As well as the A-Team Neeson has a number of other films due for release this year including the remake of the Clash Of The Titans and The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader, for which he provides the voice of Aslan.

A number of other movies are planned for release next year including the Russell Crowe thriller The Next Three Days and Unknown White Male, which is currently filming.

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