Today’s generation prefers replacing than repairing: Actor Liam Neeson (IANS Interview)

New Delhi, Feb 21 (IANS) Veteran actor Liam Neeson, who has impressed movie lovers worldwide with his work in films like “Schindler’s List” and “Taken”, says today’s generation prefers replacing the “older items” to “repairing them”. And it worries him.

“Overall, I feel today’s generation prefers to replace older items rather than repair them. I’m pretty old-fashioned in that sense. They just don’t fix things any more. It gives me cause for worry,” Neeson, who has been in the film industry for almost four decades now, told IANS in an email interview.

The actor’s latest film “Silence” released last week in India — a country that reminds him of diversity, depth of culture and yoga.

Directed by Oscar winning director Martin Scorsese, the film is based on the 1966 novel of the same name by Shusaku Endo. It narrates the story of two Christian missionaries who face the ultimate test of faith.

Neeson says that he had to face a lot of internal convincing to do a film which questions religious faith.

“I was interested in ‘Silence’ because of where I was at in my own life with questions and thoughts about god, faith, science and everything else. I had to do a lot of internal convincing first. I don’t believe you can really have deep faith without deep doubt. It goes hand in glove. I’m convinced of that now,” Neeson said.

“The role (in ‘Silence’) had such an impact on me that even after the film wrapped up, I found myself digging deeper into science journals about how the brain processes faith and religion. The film also gave me greater appreciation of the faith I was taught as a child. My mother was a devout Catholic and I’m quite envious that there hasn’t been a single day she has missed Mass.

“I question more now as I don’t accept all the things we were taught as kids. I do still believe, but I like to encompass all religions now. I believe we’re all paying homage to God. My experience filming ‘Silence’ has raised even more questions for me, but I feel it is a good thing when it comes to faith. But I have no answers really. ‘Silence’ is a tough sell. We’re not a spiritual society any more,” he added.

Having said that, Neeson adds that a “new wave of cinema is tackling world issues and giving powerful political messages” right now.

“Hollywood has had a lengthy history of producing films for the masses and the big shift in the last decade is now they’re making films for global markets. If you can’t cater to a global audience, your career span is shortened generally. Today, the nature of storytelling appeals to a worldwide audience, particularly when it comes to blockbuster films,” he said.

He also says Hollywood is now churning out movies for global markets, keeping in mind the clamour on diversity on screen in Hollywood, with Oscar winning actors and actresses raising their voice against only whites being cast in films or being given more importance and limelight as compared to actors from other communities.

The 64-year-old says that with international film markets blooming, “other voices want to be heard on the global entertainment platform”.

“I believe that the most successful studios will be those that can incorporate their home country’s values and cultural identity, while adding subtle nuances to appeal to broader markets,” Neeson said.

“Studios are considering a global audience when making films and are approaching each new market differently, partnering and acting locally and being mindful of cultural sensitivities to gain international market share. With the rise of international film markets, other voices want to be heard on the global entertainment platform which is fantastic,” the “Les Misérables” actor added.

Working with Scorsese was an awe-inspiring experience for Neeson, who recounted how he always wanted pin-drop silence on the film set.

“Martin demands real focus. He requires absolute silence on set, like everybody has to stop work when he’s giving a direction or explaining a scene. If he hears one tiny sound, it shatters him. He commands that respect and especially for this film it was necessary to have that silence on sets,” Neeson said.

(Kishori Sud can be contacted at kishori.s@ians.in)

–IANS

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