The Antrim native turned Hollywood royalty, Liam Neeson, admitted he would be interested in playing the controversial figure of Reverend Ian Paisley in a biographical movie.
The “Taken” star was speaking the press during a trip to Northern Ireland where he was honored with the freedom of his hometown, Ballymena. He explained that he has received several Ian Paisley biopic scripts but they were simply so bad he had to turn it down.
“I have been approached, yeah. I've read a couple of scripts based on the Reverend Ian Paisley, but they were atrocious,” said Neeson, speaking to Express and Star reporters.
“They're really bad, they are. There's a saying - 'If it ain't on the page, it ain't on the stage'. But I would certainly think about it.”
Reverend Ian Paisley was a minister of the Free Presbyterian Church and a Loyalist politician who stepped down from public life in 2012, aged 85.
He was known as a firebrand preacher and loyalist community figurehead, having led the Democratic Unionist Party for years before entering a historic power-sharing government with Sinn Féin. Paisley was infamous for his “Ulster says “No!’” stance on the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement and his campaign against the gay community.
The Reverend would be a tough character to play but there’s no doubt that Neeson thinks he would be up to the job.
In 1993 he played the role of Oskar Schindler in “Schindler’s List”. He has also played the role of the “Big Fella” Michael Collins in his biopic “Michael Collins”.
More recently Neeson has turned his hand to action movies such as “Taken”, “Taken 2”, “Grey”, and “Battleship” to name but a few but perhaps it’s time for him to go back to his roots.
The 60-year-old star has admitted he would like to “tread the boards” again. Given that he started his acting career at Belfast’s Lyric Theatre and later Dublin’s Abbey Theatre is seems only natural.
He said “I would love to tread the boards again at some point. It's been four-and-a-half years since I was on the stage so it's time to flex that muscle again.
"I'd love to do it at the Lyric. We're actively trying to find something, you know. I'm a single parent so it's hard trying to distance myself for the moment.”
Neeson’s wife Natasha Richardson died in 2009 after due to a head injury she obtained while skiing. Neeson is now the sole parent to their two sons Micheál and Daniel. The family is based in New York City.
Last this year Neeson will be seen in another action movie “Non Stop”, starring alongside Irish American actress Julianne Moore. The newly fledged action-hero Neeson will yet again play the hero role, as Bill Marks, a long-time Air Marshall who takes charge as terrorists take over a New York to London fight.