Liam Neeson Recalls Reading the Gospel With Robert De Niro and Jeremy Irons

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Liam Neeson has gotta have faith. (Photo: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
Liam Neeson has gotta have faith. (Photo: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

The badass Liam Neeson, who took out kidnappers in Taken and saved lives in Schindler’s List, had doubts about taking on his latest role in the new Martin Scorsese movie, Silence. And, yes, it’s definitely a difficult one — a Jesuit priest from the 1600s who defied the law in spreading Christianity and pondered Buddhism in order to save his life.

Neeson eventually decided to do it, thanks in part to an experience he shared with a couple of other A-listers back in 1986, he tells Guideposts.org. Neeson, Robert De Niro, and Jeremy Irons all met with Father Daniel Berrigan, a Jesuit priest, while they were working on the movie The Mission, about Jesuit priests.

“I’ll never forget the Mass that we shared in a hotel room, sitting around a table,” said Neeson, who was raised Roman Catholic. “[Father Dan], Bob De Niro, Jeremy Irons, and myself just reading the Gospel, reading the lessons of the day. The consecration of the bread, it made religion of the Catholic faith for me really, really alive.”

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Neeson also decided to take the role in Silence because he liked the idea of helping other people reflect on their faith.

It’s something he does constantly. After this movie, Neeson found himself more curious than ever about faith and religion. He read books on both of those subjects and on the way that the human brain makes sense of them, only to end up with more questions.

“I don’t believe you can really have deep faith without deep doubt. It goes hand in glove. I’m convinced of that now,” he said. “But I still believe in a God.”