Liam Neeson Once Considered Quitting Films Because He Felt Hollywood Hated Actors

Actor Liam Neeson has built himself a long and successful career in the film industry, and he appears to still be going strong.

But a couple of decades earlier, the star didn’t see himself sticking around Hollywood for long. After starring in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, Neeson vowed to walk away from the industry because he hated how actors were treated.

Why Liam Neeson wanted to quit acting

Liam Neeson posing while wearing a black jacket and blue shirt.
Liam Neeson | Carlos R. Alvarez/WireImage

For a while, it seemed that Star Wars: The Phantom Menace was intended to be one of Neeson’s last acting roles. In a resurfaced interview, he spoke candidly about his early retirement, explaining that he was fed up with the film industry.

“Film is a director’s medium; it has nothing to do with actors,” Neeson once told Red Book (via Guardian). “We are basically puppets, walking around, hitting marks, saying lines. Producers make all the money, and you get the sense that they hate actors.”

However, Neeson at the time asserted he wasn’t quitting acting altogether. He still appreciated the art, but he just preferred being on stage to being in front of the camera.

“The great thing about playing Oscar Wilde last year on Broadway was being in control from 8pm to 10.30pm. It was just me, my co-actors and an audience. If I messed up one night in a certain scene I’d have a chance to do it again the next night without anyone shouting ‘Cut’ after 10 seconds,” he said.

Since he was older, Neeson didn’t want to invest his time and talents in doing something he felt wasn’t right.

“The crews are treated like slaves. It’s only recently that I figured out what I am uncomfortable with. Now that I am in my middle years, certain intuitive truths have hit home. I don’t think I can live with the inauthenticity of movies any more,” he added.

Why Liam Neeson decided to change his retirement plans

Later on, the Batman Begins star would change his mind about leaving the film industry. At a press junket for The Phantom Menace, the star explained that his frustrations with the industry came from exhaustion. He’d done two films back to back and was looking for a break.

“I had just come off playing Oscar Wilde on the West End stage and on Broadway and making two films back to back, and I was just kind of burnt out and wanted out of it all,” he said according to Entertainment Weekly.

Liam Neeson once shared that he was going to quit action films

After years of being in the business, Neeson has garnered a reputation for being one of Hollywood’s most notable action stars. Neeson has had several thrillers under his belt including films like Taken and Cold Pursuit to add more to his action filmography.

But in an interview with Guardian, Neeson discussed perhaps moving away from action films.

“Maybe two more years. If God spares me and I’m healthy,” he once said. “But after that, I’ll stop [the action] I think.”

Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, however, he clarified his remarks about retiring from action movies.

“It was slightly blown out. I was just in one of those moods at the Toronto Film Festival where someone said, ‘Well, what about action movies?’ I was feeling my age that morning. I said, ‘I’m 60-bleep-bleep-5! Give me a break, guys,’” he said. “But no, there’s a couple more in the pipeline we’re hoping to do.”

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