Liam Neeson, who plays a Jesuit priest in his latest movie “Silence,” has revealed he strongly considered being a priest.
Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald Neeson said he thought strongly of the priesthood. "There were certainly links with my own upbringing. I was brought up a very staunch Catholic. Like Martin, (Scorsese, Director of “Silence”) I was an altar boy for a few years and thought about the priesthood myself in a very youthful, romantic way, you know.
“When I think back on it now, I did fall in love with the theatricality of the Catholic ceremonies: seeing people getting married, benediction, candles, processions and incense and stuff, you know, I certainly would say it was a big influence on me becoming an actor.
Working with Scorsese helped Neeson immensely. "He really makes you confront yourself as an actor and he really wants the truth from your performance. He can see when you're lying, when you're 'acting', and I love that. It's f---ing terrifying too, I must admit, especially for the first couple of takes, but then you feel you can breathe and you can tell yourself, as I did on Silence, that yes, I, Liam Neeson, am enough for this character."
Father Daniel Berrigan, an American priest who famously burned his draft card during the Vietnam War, was an adviser on the film and a big influence.
"A great, great man. I was very fond of him. And he just taught me to see God in everything. Everything! Not just in a church, or not just saying prayers or going to Mass, but in every walk of life, to try to see God in all of it. And that's a daily thing for me now." Is his faith stronger for it? "I think my faith in a god gets stronger and then sometimes it just gets absolutely shattered. I do doubt, all the time. I guess the doubt is very much hand in glove with my faith, you know."
In addition to playing a priest in Silence, Neeson has previously portrayed men of the cloth in Gangs of New York and Breakfast on Pluto.