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freak accident Liam Neeson says new drama about losing wife and mother is very close to his own tragedy

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Liam Neeson's wife died in a tragic skiing accident

Liam Neeson's wife died in a tragic skiing accident

Liam Neeson's wife died in a tragic skiing accident

Liam Neeson tells The Graham Norton Show tonight that it was “cathartic” working with his son Micheál Richardson on a new film where they have lost their wife and mother.

The Taken star says Made in Italy mirrors real life after his own wife, Natasha Richardson, Micheál’s mother, was killed in a freak skiing accident in 2009.

In the new comedy drama the two actors’ characters are trying to get over their loss while selling the family’s holiday home in Italy.

Talking by video link from the U.S. screen legend Neeson tells Graham: “We can very much relate to that.

“When I read the script I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, this is a bit near the knuckle.’

“I felt a churning in the gut, but thought it would be great to do and to do it with my son.”

Micheál is asked if he and his father had discussed whether they would be comfortable playing such emotional roles in public.

“We had a conversation about it beforehand. I think dad was more worried about the publicity aspect of it and me getting questions about mum and other personal things,” Micheál says.

“But I was pretty cool with that. Other than that, it was so odd that it was 10 years after mum had passed and we were actually selling a family home that she grew up in, so it hit a little harder for us.”

Talking about saying things to each other in the movie that they might not have said in real life, Liam reveals: “It was cathartic in a way – the way in which art sometimes can be.

“There were some very delicate emotional scenes, and I could access the emotion without any problem.

“I didn’t need days to build up to it and I thought Micheál would be the same.

“We had such a delicate producer and such a supportive crew that we felt wonderfully comfortable.”

And Micheál surprises his father when he says: “I auditioned for the part for my own dignity. I didn’t just want to be handed the part because he’s my dad.”

A stunned Liam says: “You auditioned? I didn’t know that!”

Asked what it was like growing up with such famous parents, Micheál says: “I watched all their movies, but I was kind of traumatising at the age of five seeing my dad sliced in half by a lightsaber or blown up in an explosion.

“And also kissing somebody else – as a kid I thought it was CGI or some Hollywood effect!”

Michael Collins star Liam (68) has revealed in the past that he was proud of his son for changing his surname from Neeson to Richardson in 2018 in honour of his late actress mother. Micheál was 13 when his 45-year-old Nastasha died.

“I think he did the right thing. I think it was a lovely homage, a nice gesture,” Liam said last year.

“Natasha's family, mother, and sisters were very touched by it, as indeed I was.”

In Made in Italy the two men play an estranged father and son who bond together while selling the Mediterranean villa.

Also appearing on tonight’s show is actress Cush Jumbo, promoting her new revenge thriller The Beast Must Die.

And she recalls how she once went to pieces after meeting her idol Daniel Day Lewis.

“I was doing a show on Broadway and afterwards Daniel Day Lewis came backstage and said the most wonderful things about me and the show,” she says.

“I was standing there panicking trying to think of things to say about his work and the only thing I could think to say was, ‘I like your woolly jumper.’

“He looked at me oddly, said ‘thank you’ and left!”

Other stars appearing with Graham are Tahar Rahim (The Serpent), comedian Deborah Meaden, actor Rob Brydon, and singer-songwriter Laura Mvula.

The Graham Norton Show is on BBC One tonight at 10.45pm.

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