Liam Neeson Wanted to Kill a ‘Black Bastard’ for Revenge

Liam Neeson. Photo: Jared Siskin/Getty Images

In the new film Cold Pursuit, a death-by-snowplow turns star Liam Neeson into yet another menacing vigilante. In an interview with The Independent, Neeson revealed that he once had his own, uh, revenge fantasy: After “someone close to him” was sexually assaulted, Neeson walked the streets at night with a weapon, waiting to exact revenge on any random black man, because Neeson’s friend described her alleged assailant as black. “I asked, did she know who it was? No. What colour were they? She said it was a black person. I went up and down areas with a cosh, hoping I’d be approached by somebody — I’m ashamed to say that — and I did it for maybe a week, hoping some [Neeson gestures air quotes with his fingers] ‘black bastard’ would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could kill him,” Neeson said. “It was horrible, horrible, when I think back, that I did that. And I’ve never admitted that, and I’m saying it to a journalist. God forbid.”

Neeson said his admission was terrible, and that he’s learned his lesson. “It’s awful. But I did learn a lesson from it, when I eventually thought, ‘What the fuck are you doing,’ you know?” Well!

Update, February 5: Liam Neeson was a guest on Good Morning America Tuesday morning, and he tried to explain his story further. “The topic of our film is revenge. It’s a dark comedy, too, but its base is revenge. The lady journalist was asking me, ‘How do you tap into that?’ And I remembered an incident nearly 40 years ago where a very dear friend of mine was brutally raped, and I was out of the country. When I came back, she told me about this,” he began. “She said he was a black man. I thought, Okay. And after that, there were some nights that I went out deliberately into black areas in the city, looking to be set upon so that I could unleash physical violence.”

Neeson said he walked the streets looking for a black man to attack “four or five times” until he realized what he was doing. “It really shocked me, this primal urge I had. It shocked me and it hurt me. I did seek help. I went to a priest, I bared my confession.” An unusual therapy: power walking! “Believe it or not, power walking helped me. Two hours every day, to get rid of this. I’m not racist. This was nearly 40 years ago.”

Liam Neeson Says Power Walking Really Helped His Racism