Liam Neeson, best known for his role as the ride-or-die, retired CIA operative in the ‘Taken’ series, is officially speaking his truth and opening up about his past urge to commit a hate crime.
In an interview with Independent to discuss his forthcoming film, ‘Cold Pursuit,’ in which he plays a driver who seeks revenge against dealers he thinks killed his son, the Ireland-born actor, who’s made a living off stories of revenge and vengeance, shared his own experiences with retributive justice.
“There’s something primal – God forbid you’ve ever had a member of your family hurt under criminal conditions,” Neeson explained when asked how ‘his latest character turns to anger.’
As he continued, he opened up about the experience that linked him to his character on a personal level – in which his violent impulses led him to seek retribution after a close friend was raped by a black man.
“My immediate reaction was…I asked, did she know who it was? No…what color were they? She said it was a black person,” Neeson explained to Independent. “I went up and down areas with a cosh, hoping I’d be approached by somebody – I’m asked to say that – and I did it for maybe a week, hoping some ‘black bastard’ would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could kill him.”
“It took me a week, maybe a week and a half, to go through that. She would say, ‘Where are you going?’ And I would say, ‘I’m going out for a walk.’ You know? ‘What’s wrong?’ “No no, nothing’s wrong.”
However, Neeson admitted that his thoughts were “horrible, horrible,” he said he was ashamed of his racist assumptions, but he it was all part of a more significant lesson.
“It’s awful, but I did learn a lesson from it, when I eventually thought, ‘What the f*ck are you doing,’ you know?” He said. “I understand that need for revenge, but it just leads to more revenge, to more killing and more killing, and Northern Ireland’s proof of that.”
“All this stuff that’s happening in the world, the violence, is proof of that, you know,” he said. “But that primal need, I understand.”