For the last decade, Liam Neeson has become the gold standard star of the revenge action thriller. Someone wrongs someone Neeson’s character loves, and he goes after them with a very particular set of skills. One does wonder, sometimes, where an actor finds the reserves to play this kind of brutal, sadistic character. In a new interview with The Independent in support of his film Cold Pursuit — in which Nesson plays a man who seeks revenge after the murder of his son — he made a shocking admission: After someone Neeson knew was raped, he spent “maybe a week” wandering around  looking for a “black b—d” to kill.

Here’s his exact quote:

[The victim] handled the situation of the rape in the most extraordinary way ... But my immediate reaction was ... did she know who it was? No. What colour were they? She said it was a black person. I went up and down areas with a cosh, hoping I’d be approached by somebody. I’m ashamed to say that, and I did it for maybe a week – hoping some [Neeson gestures air quotes with his fingers] ‘black b—d’ would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could kill him.

(A cosh, by the way, is a bludgeon.)

My first thought is that this is an absolutely disgusting thing to say or to think. (Neeson did say to The Independent that his behavior was “horrible” and “awful” and that he “did learn a lesson from it” eventually.) My second thought is: Why on Earth would you admit this to anyone anywhere, much less to a journalist on the record at a press junket for a movie?!? It’s truly, truly bizarre.

So, yeah, Cold Pursuit  opens in theaters this Friday. It’s an extremely violent movie; and often plays the various murders Neeson and others commit for twisted laughs. It seems much stranger to me now than it did earlier today.

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