Made in Italy: Liam Neeson stars in Amazon Prime trailer
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The Northern Irish star, 68, is one of the highest-grossing actors of all time and has forged an impressive film career. He landed landmark roles in Schindler’s List, the Taken franchise, Star Wars, Batman Begins and countless others. Liam was named the seventh greatest Irish film actor in an Irish Times poll last year.
He appears on The Graham Norton Show tonight alongside his son Micheál Richardson to promote their new film Made In Italy.
It focuses on a bereaved father and son and their struggle to come to terms with the sudden death of their wife and mother.
The role mirrors the experience of Liam, whose wife Natasha died two days after suffering a head injury during a skiing lesson in a resort near Montreal, Canada.
Natasha, who was an actress, initially refused treatment following her fall but later was flown to a hospital in New York.
She died from an epidural hematoma, a bleed on the brain, and in a statement, the family said they were “shocked and devastated” by what happened.
More than a decade on, when Liam was offered the part in Made In Italy, director James D’Arcy feared getting a furious response from the star.
Earlier this month, he told Metro that he believed the casting would be “either a work of genius… or a disaster”.
Mr D’Arcy was concerned that he would “get a very insulting note back” from Liam’s agent because “everybody knows what happened to his wife”.
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He expected an angry response like: “How dare you send Liam that script?”
However, Liam told the director he “really was touched” by the writing and that it “moved me so much”.
The actor confessed: “I’m a bit scared of it… I think that’s the reason I’d like to be involved.”
Liam was married to Natasha for 15 years before her death in 2009 and has spoken about his struggle with grief.
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Five years after she passed, he recalled that heartbreaking time during a 2014 interview in the US TV show 60 Minutes.
Shortly after arriving at the Canadian hospital, where his wife was initially taken to, Liam was informed she was brain dead.
He recalled the devastating words he told her while he was by her bedside “on life support”.
Liam said: “I went into her and I told her I loved her and said, ‘Sweetie, you’re not coming back from this, you’ve banged your head.’”
He admitted that grief continued to “hit [him] like a wave” and at times he struggled with a “profound feeling of instability”.
Liam continued: “The Earth isn’t stable anymore and then it passes and it becomes more infrequent – but I still get it sometimes.”
The star regularly expected his wife to walk through the door of their New York apartment and said her death “was never real” to him.
He admitted her death “still kind of isn’t [real]” and he expected to “hear her” five years on.
Liam revealed that his wife kept “three people alive” after she passed because her heart, kidneys and liver were donated to other people.
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He said: “It’s terrific and I think she would be very thrilled and pleased by that.”
Liam’s son Micheál Richardson, who uses his mother’s last name while acting to honour her, recently spoke about his loss.
Earlier this month, he told The Times: “It was so sudden… it really sort of messes with your mind.”
After his mother’s death, Micheál debated whether it was “fate or not” that she passed in a “freak accident”.
Micheál said it sent him into “a bit of a head spin” for years, which he coped with by “latching on to the tiny little memories”.
He continued: “Whether it’s her laugh or her energy in the room or her cooking.”
Micheál felt “incredibly grateful” to have her films to “go back and watch” but wished she was alive to counsel him.
He said: “What I wish is I could have just these adult conversations with her, these random questions about the industry or music.”
Micheál admitted he was a “mum’s boy” while he was growing up and described Natasha as a “terrific, terrific mother”.
Liam Neeson and Micheál Richardson star on The Graham Norton Show, which airs at 10.55pm tonight on BBC One.
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