Liam Neeson says he dropped ’16 or 17 pounds’ for ‘Silence’ role

NEW YORK, Jan. 3 (UPI) — Liam Neeson says he lost about 16 or 17 pounds to play a thin, haunted-looking, Portuguese-Catholic missionary in Martin Scorsese‘s “Silence.”

Neeson’s character in the big-screen epic was tortured for his beliefs and teachings in 17th-century Japan. The film co-stars Adam Driver and Andrew Garfield as the young priests who try to find and rescue their mentor.

Asked by UPI during a recent round-table interview with reporters in New York about how the physical transformation he underwent affected his approach to the role, Neeson replied: “Martin wanted us, all of us, to drop some weight.

“I thought, ‘OK, well… a good start is to give up the carbs.’ And, some of the boys, Adam, I mean, he dropped 51 pounds, he told me. And I managed 16 or 17 or something like that,” the 64-year-old actor said. “So, that helps [you think], ‘OK, you’re physically preparing for something.’ Denying yourself, which was very appropriate for this Jesuit film. Denial’s very important.”

“Silence” is in theaters now.