Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 12 July 2014

Neeson: I rejected Paisley role

Liam Neeson would be happy to tread the boards again

Liam Neeson has revealed that he turned down the opportunity to portray Reverend Ian Paisley on the big screen - because the scripts were "atrocious".

The Irish actor, who was granted the freedom of his home town Ballymena, admitted he could be persuaded with the right screenplay after expressing an interest in playing the former politician in a film.

"I have been approached, yeah. I've read a couple of scripts based on the Reverend Iain Paisley, but they were atrocious," said the 60-year-old as he accepted his honour in Northern Ireland.

"They're really bad, they are. There's a saying - 'If it ain't on the page, it ain't on the stage'. But I would certainly think about it," he added.

Liam, who has starred in Schindler's List, Michael Collins, The Dark Knight Rises and Clash Of The Titans, also said he would like to return to the theatre again - but it would depend on his two teenage sons with late wife Natasha Richardson.

He began his career in Belfast's Lyric Theatre and later joined the Abbey Theatre in Dublin before moving to London, and then Hollywood.

"I would love to tread the boards again at some point. It's been four-and-a-half years since I was on the stage so it's time to flex that muscle again," he said.

"I'd love to do it at the Lyric. We're actively trying to find something, you know. I'm a single parent so it's hard trying to distance myself for the moment," he added.

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