The first official look at Liam Neeson in Martin Scorsese's Silence reveals him in an agonized pose. But the actor was completely relaxed and charming during a press conference at the Los Cabos International Film Festival this past Saturday morning, kicking off a publicity tour for the film.
Why Mexico? Mexican producer Gaston Pavlovich, who was also on hand, is responsible for financing the film, a dream project of director Martin Scorsese for many years. Scorsese is still busy editing right now, but he sent along a 30-second video to express gratitude to Pavlovich: "It's been a wonderful experience. Thank you from the bottom of my heart."
Asked why he wanted to make the film, Neeson joked that, as mentor to the director, he knew it was very special for Martin Scorsese. Turning serious, he recalled the relatively brief time he spent working on Gangs of New York, commented on Scorsese's intense preparation, and said: "He supplies 200 percent; all he wants from you is 100 percent."
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Liam Neeson on SILENCE
"I was raised an Irish Catholic, so it struck very close to home." The film asks very fundamental questions: "Is there a God? Why have faith? Why get up in the morning?"
In the film, Neeson plays Father Ferreira, described in the official synopsis as "an esteemed priest who has reportedly apostatized." Silence "follows two missionaries' encounters with persecution, martyrdom, apostasy and grace in 17th century Japan." Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver play the two missionaries.
Neeson described producer Pavlovich as his "new best friend." When Pavlovich asked to meet with him, the actor groaned to himself, "Oh, God," before previous meetings with producers had not always gone for him on other projects. But with Pavlovich, the one-hour lunch turned into a four-hour conversation before they knew it. "I think I met a kindred spirit," Neeson commented.