I felt a churning within the gut’: Liam Neeson says picture taking with son Micheàl was ‘a bit close to the knuckle’ as they play sorrowful father and kid following the death of married person Natasha Richardson
The late actress tragically died aged 45 from an Epidural hematoma, or bleeding around the brain, two days after accidentally hitting her head during a beginner’s skiing lesson in Quebec, Canada in 2009.
During an appearance on Friday’s Graham Norton, Liam, 68, says his latest role was ‘a bit near the knuckle’ as he took on the role of a man who had lost his wife.
Liam Neeson and his son Micheàl Richardson discussed playing a grieving father and son in their new film following the death of his wife Natasha Richardson
Liam, who plays father Robert in Made In Italy, stars alongside his real-life son Michael, 25, who plays a boy called Jack that reunites with his estranged father.
When asked by host Graham, 57, about playing a father and son who have lost their wife and mother, Liam says: ‘We can very much relate to that.
‘When I read the script I thought, “Oh my gosh, this is a bit near the knuckle”. I felt a churning in the gut, but thought it would be great to do and to do it with my son.’
Micheál, asked if he and his father had discussed whether they would be comfortable playing out emotions in public, says, ‘We had a conversation about it beforehand.
Horrific: The late actress tragically died aged 45 from an Epidural hematoma, or bleeding around the brain, two days after accidentally hitting her head during a beginner’s skiing lesson in Quebec, Canada in 2009 (pictured in 1992)
‘I think dad was more worried about the publicity aspect of it and me getting questions about mum and other personal things, but I was pretty cool with that.
‘Other than that, it was so odd that it was 10 years after mum had passed and we were actually selling a family home that she grew up in, so it hit a little harder for us.’
Talking about saying things to each other in the movie that they might not have said in real life, Liam says: ‘It was cathartic in a way – the way in which art sometimes can be.
‘There were some very delicate emotional scenes, and I could access the emotion without any problem, I didn’t need days to build up to it and I thought Micheál would be the same. We had such a delicate producer and such a supportive crew that we felt wonderfully comfortable.’
Tragic: During an appearance on Friday’s Graham Norton, Liam, 68, says his latest role was ‘a bit near the knuckle’ as he took on the role of a man who had lost his wife (pictured together in 1999)
Asked about working with his father, Micheál reveals, ‘I auditioned for the part for my own dignity. I didn’t just want to be handed the part because he’s my dad.’
Liam interjects, ‘You auditioned? I didn’t know that!’
Asked what it was like growing up with such famous parents, Micheál says, ‘I watched all their movies, but I was kind of traumatising at the age of five seeing my dad sliced in half by a lightsaber or blown up in an explosion, and also kissing somebody else – as a kid I thought it was CGI or some Hollywood effect!’
When asked by host Graham, 57, about playing a father and son who have lost their wife and mother, Liam says: ‘We can very much relate to that’
In the film a London artist (Neeson) and his estranged son (Michael) try to mend their relationship as they work together to repair a dilapidated house in Italy, which belonged to their late wife and mother.
Micheál recently reflected on his grief after the late star’s sudden death when he was aged just 13, in a new candid interview.
Speaking to Times 2, the up-and-coming actor, admitted that he wished he ‘could have adult conversations’ with his mother and said he was always a ‘mama’s boy’, making the loss even harder.
‘I was a mama’s boy – I wish I could have adult conversations with her’: Micheál reflected on his grief, in a recent interview (pictured left with his mother and brother Daniel in 2008)
Speaking about the loss Micheál said: ‘She was a terrific, terrific mother. What I wish is I could have just these adult conversations with her, these random questions about the industry or music.
‘I was a mama’s boy growing up and she was really my best friend. I mean we were all a close family, but Danny [his younger brother] was my dad’s boy and I was my mom’s boy, for sure.’
Going on to discuss how he felt following her tragic accident, he went on: ‘It was so sudden. When it’s unexpected and it’s just a complete freak accident, it really sort of messes with your mind, whether you believe in fate or not.’
Micheál added that the experience of losing his mother at such a young age made him go through ‘a bit of a head spin’ and he had years of ‘distracting’ himself from the loss, but said he still often gets hit by grief suddenly.
Struggle: Micheál (pictured together in film Made In Italy), also admitted that he wished he ‘could have adult conversations’ with his mother
She died many years earlier when Jack was small, although they have rarely talked about her since. Nevertheless, the reverberations of her loss have defined their relationship, and the film mirrors Micheál and Liam’s own family tragedy.
Micheál is a scion of the legendary Redgrave acting dynasty that includes his late mother and her sister, as well as his grandmother Vanessa Redgrave and her father Sir Michael.
A particularly significant way Micheál has chosen to remember his mother is to adopt Richardson as his stage name.
Honest: Micheál reflected ‘I was a mama’s boy growing up and she was really my best friend. I mean we were all a close family, but Danny was my dad’s boy and I was my mom’s boy, for sure’
Poignant: Micheál and his father explore their family relationship in Made In Italy, a film that follows a father and his estranged son as they try and sell the house left by his late mother