Belfast Telegraph

Liam Neeson to the fore in new Men In Black trailer after race comments backlash

Liam Neeson in the trailer for Men In Black International
Liam Neeson in the trailer for Men In Black International
Liam Neeson in the trailer for Men In Black International
Allan Preston

By Allan Preston

Liam Neeson has appeared in his first movie trailer since becoming embroiled in a race row earlier this year.

Men In Black International sees the Ballymena-born star take on the role of High T, head of the UK branch of the covert anti-alien agency.

He is joined by co-stars Chris Hemsworth, currently reprising his role as Thor in Avengers Endgame, and Tessa Thompson.

Neeson provoked controversy when he admitted during an interview that years ago he had wanted to kill a black person after a close friend was raped.

Speaking while promoting his revenge movie Cold Pursuit, he revealed that he had walked the streets holding a weapon in the hope he could kill a black person if they approached him.

The movie's red carpet premiere was subsequently cancelled in the fallout, as well as an appearance on the Stephen Colbert chat show in the United States.

Neeson said he was ashamed of his thoughts at the time, but still received a massive backlash over his confession.

The controversy did not significantly dent his box office appeal, though, and the latest big budget outing suggests that Hollywood is willing him to give him another chance.

In February some fans demanded Sony Pictures "digitally replace" or erase Neeson from the film and threatened to boycott it.

One Twitter user said at the time: "If they can magically de-age every actor in the (Marvel Cinematic Universe) they can digitally replace Liam Neeson in MIB and they should."

Another said: "Sorry Tessa Thompson, I was looking forward to MIB International with you and Chris Hemsworth but I CANNOT support this movie after reading Liam Neeson's racist comments about wanting to lynch a random black person."

Despite the furore Neeson features prominently in the trailer and promo poster.

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