Interview with Liam Neeson, star of Martin Scorsese's epic Silence

Eva Mackevic

Silence is director Martin Scorsese’s latest religious epic and passion project of 28 years, starring Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver and Liam Neeson. We caught up with Liam to talk about playing a fallen Christian and the meaning of faith.

Interview with Liam Neeson—Father Ferreira in Silence 

Martin Scorsese is no stranger to lofty religious themes tackling the meaning of life, the existence of god and self-sacrifice for the greater good of humanity, having previously touched upon the topics in the highly controversial The Last Temptation of Christ and Kundun.

Silence, adapted from a 1966 novel Chinmoku by the Japanese Catholic writer Shusako Endo, completes the trilogy with breath-taking pathos and nuanced thoughtfulness. After a 15-year struggle to get the screenplay right, Scorsese faced further difficulties with funding; yet 28 years on, it is finally here, in all its grandeur and existential magnitude.

The film tells the story of two 17th century Portuguese missionaries (played by Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver) who undertake a dangerous journey to Japan to search for their missing mentor, Father Christavao Ferreira (Liam Neeson), and to spread the gospel of Christianity.

Filmed in Taiwan, Silence is visually stunning with its dreamy mountainous landscapes, dark, ominous seawaters and cold, stripped-down countrysides, which perfectly complement the equally severe, tormented lead performances.

Garfield and Driver, tasked with portraying the two conflicted young missionaries on a life-threatening mission, deliver incredibly layered, discerning performances. Even though they are intrinsically different—both physically and spiritually—they really enhance each other’s presence and the dynamic of their relationship is fascinating to watch.

Adam Driver, Andrew Garfield in Martin Scorsese's Silence
Photo: Kerry Brown

And then there’s Father Ferreira—the mysterious Colonel Kurtz-like figure lurking patiently in the background. His presence on the screen, though very brief, carries a majestic, dignified power and remains an unsolved mystery of the film and the evasive key to this story. 

Silence opens in cinemas across the UK on New Year's Day

 

Read more: Our favourite films of 2016

 

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