Belfast Telegraph

Neeson's new film tackles terrorism

Liam Neeson loves that his film Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet is all about empowering girls.

Since 2008's Taken, Liam has established himself as an action star. Prior to that, the 63-year-old had an Oscar nomination under his belt for Schindler's List and won praise for 40s-set Kinsey.

Next up he'll appear in Martin Scorsese's Silence. Set in the 17th century, the story is based on two Jesuit priests who face violence and persecution as they travel to Japan to spread the gospel of Christianity.

"It did and it didn't [feel like a shift in gears]," Liam told US Esquire. "I had worked with Martin on Gangs of New York and I'd played a Jesuit before in a film called The Mission. I had to reacquaint myself with the Jesuit literature. It's minded stuff. The Jesuits in Japan in the 1600s... I was living it. We dropped a lot of weight. It's spiritual. God knows that there are reverberations nowadays when we're reading about ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and fundamentalist religions that are trying to hoist themselves on to people's lives. [Silence] is an extraordinary story - and a testament to faith. The power of faith."

Yesterday Liam's latest film, animated movie Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet, was released in US cinemas. It tells the story of poet Mustafa, voiced by Liam, and his journey to get home with his housekeeper and daughter while evading those who fear that his true words will provoke rebellion.

"[When Mustafa is at his lowest ebb, his daughter recharges him]. It's about empowering girls, women. We're reading all the time and seeing horrible images about how women are being treated as third-rate citizens across the world," he explained.

It was this theme that got Liam on board, and his work with educational non-profit organisation Journeys in Film.

"It's basically using the storytelling power of film to educate our kids in schools, to have a richer understanding of the complex world in which we live. It's using foreign language films and documentaries to help our kids learn about the world. The Prophet would be ideal for this curriculum," he smiled.

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