He may have been nominated for an Oscar and won critical acclaim for his many lead roles, but Liam Neeson is set to star in a special film to be screened in his home town next week.
The Hollywood superstar took time out from shooting his latest movie, a remake of the 1980s television series The A Team, to film a five-minute message to his old school.
St Patrick’s College in Ballymena, which Neeson attended from 1963 to 1967, celebrates its golden anniversary this year and his special message, filmed on location in Vancouver, will be shown at a gala dinner on Saturday week.
In the DVD recording Neeson talks warmly about memories of his old school, certain teachers who taught him and former pupils who attended it at the same time.
He also talks about his love for drama and how it started at the school, and his memories of the All Saints Boxing Club which he used to attend in his home town.
Principal of St Patrick’s Cate Magee said it had been Neeson’s own idea to film the message and send it to the school. She said he was unable to attend the golden jubilee celebrations next week but was keen to be involved in some way.
And Mrs Magee said everyone associated with the school was “humbled and proud” that the star of Schlinder’s List, Taken and Michael Collins had taken time out from his busy filming schedule to shoot the DVD.
“When the school was celebrating its 45th anniversary Liam sent us a fax message wishing us well. But obviously technology has improved and he was able to hire a cameraman this time and film this five-minute message to send to us to mark our 50th anniversary,” she said.
“Liam still has family in the town who are involved with our celebrations and so he was only too pleased to help out. In fact, it was his idea to film his message and send it to us.
“In the message he tells us he is shooting the new A Team movie in Vancouver and has just taken a few minutes out of his schedule to film for us. Liam is undoubtedly our most famous student and we are humbled and proud that he has done this for us.”
Mrs Magee said former pupils and staff would get a chance to see the DVD at the dinner dance in the Tullyglass House Hotel on October 17. And she said the school was grateful to the actor for his contribution to their celebrations.
“Liam is working back-to-back at the moment and has a really hectic schedule, yet still took time out to do this for us,” she said.
“I think that shows what type of man he is. He may be a world-famous star, but he has never lost touch with his roots.
“He visited the school some years ago when Dan Gillan was principal and I’ve no doubt he would have done so again if his schedule had permitted.”