Belfast Telegraph

Neeson sings The Sash in Coen Brothers' new Wild West movie

Ballymena actor Liam Neeson in The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Ballymena actor Liam Neeson in The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Ballymena actor Liam Neeson singing The Sash during one of his scenes in the Coen Brothers’ film

By Jonathan Bell and Gillian Halliday

It may have been worn at Derry, Enniskillen and the Boyne - but now The Sash is getting a run out in the Wild West courtesy of one of our most famous sons.

Ballymena man Liam Neeson stars in the Coen Brothers' film The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs, which premiered on Netflix last weekend.

The latest creation from the sibling directors is broken down into six vignettes, each of which tells its own story of outlaws and settlers against the harsh and unforgiving backdrop of the American frontier.

It is in the third episode, entitled Meal Ticket, where Neeson plays a callous theatre owner, described as a "boisterous Ulster Protestant", who travels with his companion, a quadruple amputee known as Harrison the Wingless Thrush.

Played by Harry Melling - known to millions of Harry Potter fans as Dudley Dursley - Harrison is completely reliant on Neeson's character to live, and stars in the impresario's one-man travelling freak show.

In one clip Neeson's character is lying drunk by a camp fire singing Weila Weila, an Irish school playground song made famous by The Dubliners, before breaking into The Sash.

Reaching a crescendo, he staggers to his feet before smashing a bottle into a fire to proclaim the next destination of their caravan.

The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs, featuring fellow Irish star Brendan Gleeson as well as James Franco and Tim Blake Nelson, was released at the Venice International Film Festival in August. At the time the Taken star was back home to shoot romantic comedy Normal People alongside English actress Lesley Manville, and was spotted at various locations including the Shore Road at Jordanstown.

Based on a script penned by Belfast playwright Owen McCafferty, Neeson and Manville play married couple Tom and Joan struggling to come to terms with her breast cancer diagnosis.

Neeson recently revealed how one of the horses on the Coens' production recognised him from a previous film they had both appeared in.

"He actually remembered me from another Western we made a while back," Neeson said.

"When we worked together before I took special care of him. I fed him treats."

Neeson can currently be seen on the silver screen in the Steve McQueen heist film, Widows.

Belfast Telegraph


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