Lionsgate canceled their Red Carpet premiere for Liam Neeson’s new film Cold Pursuit following Neeson’s comments on revenge in an article with the British website The Independent.
Variety indicates the Red Carpet premiere was canceled “due to his revelations in an interview earlier this week with the Independent that was hoping to kill some “black bastard” upon learning his close friend was brutally raped over 40 years ago.”
Neeson appeared on Good Morning America on February 5th to discuss his comments with The Independent.
“We were doing a press junket. The topic of our film is revenge. It’s a dark comedy too, but it’s based as revenge. The lady journalist was asking me how do you tap into that. 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 and when I came back she told me about this.”
He would go on to recount his emotions upon hearing about the encounter, “I had never felt this feeling before, which was a primal urge to lash out.”
Neeson would recall his actions upon hearing about the encounter, “I asked her, ‘Did you know the person? It was a man?’ ‘No.’ ‘His race?’ She said it was a black man. I thought okay. And then after that there were some nights I went out deliberately into black areas in this city looking to be set upon so I could unleash physical violence, and I did it for say maybe 4 or 5 times until I caught myself on.”
Neeson would admit that the race of the man wouldn’t have mattered, “Oh definitely, if she had said an Irish, or a Scot, or a Brit, or a Lithuanian, I know I would have had the same effect. I was trying to show honor, to stand up for my dear friend in this terrible Medieval fashion. I’m a fairly intelligent guy and that’s why it kind of shocked me when it came down to Earth after having these horrible feelings. Luckily, no violence occurred ever. Thanks be to God.”
He also admitted that he sought help following the encounter which occurred around 40 years ago, “t really shocked me this primal urge I had. It shocked me and it hurt me. I did seek help. I went to a priest. He heard my confession. I was reared Catholic. And two very, very, very good friends I talked to. And believe it or not power walking, two hours every day. To get rid of this. I’m not racist.”
The Red Carpet premiere was supposed to occur on February 5th. Cold Pursuit debuts in theaters across America on February 8th. It sees Neeson taking on the role of a Colorado snowplower who seeks revenge after his son is murdered.