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'I'm proud my son now uses Natasha's surname', says Liam Neeson


Liam Neeson with his son Micheal Richardson

Liam Neeson with his son Micheal Richardson

Liam Neeson with his son Micheal Richardson

Liam Neeson has revealed that working with son Micheal Richardson on a film in Italy was "cathartic in many ways for both of us".

The Taken star said it helped them deal with the death of Natasha Richardson - Liam's wife and Micheal's mother - in a freak skiing accident in 2009.

The Michael Collins actor said he was proud his son had changed his surname from Neeson to Richardson in honour of his mother.

The two men recently starred together in Made in Italy playing an estranged father and son who head to the Mediterranean country to sell their holiday villa following the death of Neeson's character's wife.

"The subject matter was, is very close to home," said the 68-year-old star.

"You know, losing my wife, Micheal losing his mother, that is part of the story of Made In Italy. It was quite cathartic in many ways for both of us.

"It touches on very, very delicate stuff.

"But, you know, sometimes that's the wonderful thing. Sometimes in art you can explore stuff and it's kind of safe, especially with a film.

"The script really made my gut turn because it touched on something Micheal and I have both gone through - something we're still going through 11 years after she died.

"I'm very proud of him. I'm not gonna blow smoke up his a***, but he does have a presence. He really does."

The veteran actor told radio host Andy Cohen on his American show, SiriusXM, he was delighted when Micheal, who was 13 when his 45-year-old mother died, changed his name in 2018.

"I think he did the right thing. I think it was a lovely gesture," Neeson said.

"He's not saddled with my last name, which you know, I have a certain celebrity status I guess.

"I'd hate for him to be constantly asked: 'Oh are you Liam Neeson's son?' So, it was a lovely gesture. "Natasha's family, mother, and sisters were very touched by it."

Meanwhile, the star said he had no regrets about playing Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn in the 1999 prequel film, Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace, which attracted a lot of criticism at the time.

"I know a lot of fans and critics didn't like it. I'm proud of it," he said.

The actor defended one of the film's stars Ahmed Best, who suffered a lot of abuse for playing the unpopular character Jar Jar Binks in the film and struggled to get work after the role. He has admitted he even considered suicide.

"It really hurt his career. I have to say when I was making that film he was probably one of the funniest and talented guys I had ever worked with."

Neeson said he was pleased that things seem to have changed and that Best received a standing ovation at the Star Wars Celebration event in Chicago last year.

The Ballymena man, a three-time Golden Globe nominee, was on SiriusXM to promote his latest action role as a bank robber who wants to change his life around in Honest Thief which opens in cinemas next month.