In his latest action film, Memory, which opens April 29, Liam Neeson plays a deadly assassin confronting his toughest battle: Alzheimer’s disease.
As his precision killer character copes with his cognitive impairment, the 69-year-old star has Bruce Willis on his mind since his action movie colleague who recently suffered from aphasia retired from acting.
“My heart goes out to him. I think about him every day,” Neeson told the Post, noting that aphasia — the affects the ability to express and understand language — is especially cruel for an actor like Willis. “It’s particularly poignant, isn’t it? I wish him all the best.”
But even as the Irish icon prepares to turn 70 in June, Neeson has no plans to slow down. In fact, he has refuted reports that he is Retirement from action films.
“That was a joke,” he said. “It was a few years ago at the Toronto Film Festival… One of the Hollywood Foreign Press said, ‘Liam, what’s up with you and these action moves?’ I said, “I was stubborn… [but] I’m tired of action movies.’ But I meant it as a joke.”
But playing Alex Lewis in Memory, which co-stars with Guy Pearce and Monica Bellucci, Neeson had to face the harsh realities some face as they age, including the loss of their mental abilities. In fact, this notoriously tough guy admits he’s scared of Alzheimer’s.
“It’s crossed my mind a few times, especially when you can’t remember the name of an actor I worked with two or three years ago,” he said. “That annoys me. But maybe we all suffer from it.
“In researching this, I saw some very traumatic documentaries about suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia and of course I read some books about it. And I have a friend in Ireland who is older than me [who] has very clear early stages of dementia, which is traumatic to look at… It’s a terrible condition. It’s really.”
And for an actor, remembering lines is perhaps the most important tool of the trade. “I know several actors in London … who have lost the ability to learn lines,” Neeson said. “They just can’t learn the stuff. And these are actors who have achieved extraordinary things on stage, in film and on television.”
One thing Neeson certainly hasn’t forgotten, though, is how to kick ass on screen. He’s been doing it since he got the role of former CIA agent Bryan Mills 2009 “Obsessed” thanks to a chance meeting with director Luc Besson at the Shanghai Film Festival.
“I walked up to him and said, ‘I was an amateur boxer as a kid, and I’d like to be in a movie where I have to beat up some guys or get punched up,'” Neeson said. “They finally offered me ‘Taken,’ and I was like, ‘That’s great. I’m going to be in Paris for three months and we’re going to work… with these stunt people, fight choreographers and stuff. And then it goes straight to the video.’”
But the sleepy box office success of Taken led to two sequels (2012 and 2015) and turned Neeson into a real action star. However, now he would like to flip the script and make a romantic comedy. “I’d like that,” he said. “Yeah, that would be cool.”
Neeson, of course, played along the popular rom-com Love Actually in 2003, and the film still holds a special place in his heart. “You know, sometimes I’m flipping through the channels at 2 a.m., ‘Love Actually’ starts and… You hear Hugh Grant speaking about the latest news from people [in the planes that hit] the twin towers. And all messages were messages of love. I urge everyone to change channels when they hear this. I really do.”
In 2009, Neeson’s real-life romance with the actress’ wife, Natasha Richardson, came to a tragic end she died of a brain injury suffered in a skiing accident. And 13 years later, the widower doesn’t think he’ll ever marry again. “No, I think I’ll be alone,” he said wistfully.
No doubt Neeson will keep Richardson’s memory alive and celebrate with the couple’s two sons – Michéal, 26, and Daniel, 25 – when he turns 70 on June 7. “And,” he added, “if a person says to me, ‘Liam, it’s just a number, that’s it!'”
https://nypost.com/2022/04/18/liam-neeson-memory-makes-me-think-of-bruce-willis-every-day/ “Memory” makes me think of Bruce Willis “every day”.