Liam Neeson has revealed that his shocking weight loss, much discussed in the tabloids, was planned and controlled. His 20-pound weight loss was for his role in a new Martin Scorsese movie “Silence.”

The Ballymena-born star gave fans quite a shock when he stepped out recently in his adopted home-town of New York looking quite gaunt and frail. The 63-year-old star put everyone’s minds at ease last weekend when he appeared at Los Cabos Film Festival in Mexico looking much healthier.

In the upcoming Scorsese flick Neeson plays the role of Father Cristóvão Ferreira alongside actors Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver. The movie tells the story of two Portuguese Jesuit priests who travel to Japan to spread Christianity.

The IMBD blurb on the movie is: “In the seventeenth century, two Jesuit priests face violence and persecution when they travel to Japan to locate their mentor and to spread the gospel of Christianity.”

The County Antrim star spoke about the movie while in Mexico. He said, “Martin requires this level of dedication and I think it pays off.

"Martin wanted us all to look a bit more gaunt, which Adam [Diver] and Andrew did as well. I know Adam went to the extreme. He's an ex-marine and when he's given an order, he follows it through."

“Silence” is set to be released in 2016.

This isn’t the first time that Hollywood stars, recently, have given their fan base a scare by losing a shed-load of weight.

In 2014 Matthew McConaughey dropped a truly shocking 47lb (3st 7lb / 21kg) to play the role of AIDs patient Ron Woodroof in “Dallas Buyers Club."

Even more shocking was Christian Bale’s massive 63-pound weight-loss for his role in the 2004 psychological thriller “The Machinist.” Supposedly Bale lived on just a can of tuna and an apple every day to lose this weight and amazingly he was ready for his role as a bulked up Batman in “Batman Begins” released in 2005.

See there’s nothing to worry about! It’s all part of the gig.