Liam Neeson has been spotted out and about looking shockingly frail. Many fans were concerned that something was wrong with the Taken actor, but according to Neeson, there is a perfectly good explanation for his 20-pound weight loss — it was all for his role in his upcoming film Silence.
According to Collider, Liam explained that he dropped the weight, along with his co-stars Adam Driver and Andrew Garfield, at the request of the film’s director, Martin Scorsese.
“Martin wanted us all to look a bit more gaunt,” Neeson said at the 4th Annual Los Cabos International Film Festival in Mexico on Sunday, November 15. “I know Adam went to the extreme. He’s an ex marine and when he’s given an order, he follows it through. He was like something out of Auschwitz. Martin requires this level of dedication and I think it pays off.”
Garfield also took his role to the extreme, losing 40 pounds and negatively impacting his relationship with his now-ex-girlfriend Emma Stone.
Liam Neeson explains his dramatic weight loss. See the pic: https://t.co/PibQE6aIXt
— Us Weekly (@usweekly) November 17, 2015
“He’d been in a dark place for months, getting into his role,” a source close to the actor told Us Weekly.
Neeson went on to describe the Oscar-winning director as “intimidating” and said he requires a lot out of his actors.
“Martin is intimidating,” Neeson said. “He’s legendary – so as a performer you have to get over that. I had to get over that… He require[s] absolute silence on set, like everybody has to stop work when he’s giving a direction or explaining a scene. I mean everybody – the guy that’s painting 400 yards away has to stop. If he hears one tiny sound it’s shattered for him so he commands that respect. He commands that silence and especially for this film it was necessary.”
Silence, which is due out in 2016, is based on the novel by Shusaku Endo and is set in the 17th century.
IMDb summarizes the plot by saying, “In the seventeenth century, two Jesuit priests face violence and persecution when they travel to Japan to locate their mentor and to spread the gospel of Christianity.”
While filming the movie, Liam said he experienced one of the most terrifying events of his life when a 6.1 earthquake hit Japan, delaying production.
“I was in my hotel room, on the 15th floor and the room, the world, started to shake,” he said. “I thought I’ll just stand under the door way, that’s what you do. I was under there for 10 seconds. I thought this is crazy – I’m 15-floors up, you don’t stand in the doorway. I went out into the corridor and there’s a little lady, the manager of the floor. She’s got her clipboard to see if the rooms are cleaned. I’m standing there [shaking] and she turns to me and says, ‘No problem, no problem. I’ve been here twenty years – no problem.”
— Empire Magazine (@empiremagazine) November 16, 2015
Despite Scorsese’s intimidating characteristics, Liam said there was no way he was going to turn down the role, and the decision was a no-brainer.
“Who’s going to turn down a job with Martin Scorsese?” Neeson Joked. “He’s a very special director and for actors he’s exceptional. His level of concentration and focus, what he prepares for the actors before you come on set is just wonderful.”
While the exact run time of Silence is still up in the air, producer Gaston Pavlovich said they are shooting for two hours and 10 minutes. They are hoping “for the film to premiere at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.” However, Pavlovich added that he will not be pressuring Scorsese to release the film before he is ready. Either way, the film will hit theaters in the latter part of 2016.
Are you excited to see Liam Neeson’s performance in Silence? Leave your comments below.
[Photo by Abraham Caro Marin/Associated Press]