×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Cold Pursuit’ Director Defends Liam Neeson as a ‘Very Decent, Grounded Man’

In Berlin to promote his latest film, Norwegian director Hans Petter Moland insisted that Liam Neeson is “not a racist” in response to the recent brouhaha around comments made by the star of Moland’s Lionsgate thriller “Cold Pursuit.”

“He is a very honest, he is a very decent, grounded man,” Moland said at a press conference for “Out Stealing Horses,” his new drama starring Stellan Skarsgard, which premieres Saturday in competition at the Berlin Film Festival.

Moland said that people who had not seen “Cold Pursuit” but who have been upset by Neeson’s comments are “commenting on [the movie] in derogatory ways…lumping it together with something that has nothing to do with it. It’s taking my voice away.”

While promoting “Cold Pursuit,” Neeson told Britain’s Independent newspaper last week that, 40 years ago, upon hearing that a friend was allegedly raped by a black attacker, he wanted to “unleash physical violence” and walked the streets hoping to kill some “black bastard.” In the wake of his remarks, Tuesday’s red carpet at the New York premiere of Moland’s revenge drama was canceled just hours before guests were to arrive.

Speaking in Berlin on Saturday, Skarsgard said: “I find it disturbing and frightening to live in a world where people get punished not only for their deeds, but they get punished also for what you say. You can get punished for what you think. But most of all you get punished for what people think you think.”

Moland said audiences should read Neeson’s quotes in context rather than “listening to all the Twitterati.” He added: “I made a film about the futility of revenge. It makes fun of all the gangster stereotypes, all of the other kind of stereotypes you can think of. It’s a cautionary tale about revenge, and I’d like people to see it for that.”

More Film

  • Gwyneth Paltrow Variety Cover Story

    Gwyneth Paltrow Talks About Her Biggest Fights With Harvey Weinstein

    In this week’s Variety cover story, Gwyneth Paltrow looks back on the 20th anniversary of winning the best actress Oscar for “Shakespeare in Love.” The movie still holds up today, although there’s an ominous figure lurking in the credits. The romantic comedy was produced by Harvey Weinstein, and Paltrow spoke about working for the volcanic [...]

  • Jason Hoch to Lead Imperative Entertainment's

    Jason Hoch to Lead Imperative Entertainment's New Podcast Division (EXCLUSIVE)

    Entertainment studio Imperative Entertainment has hired producer Jason Hoch to lead its newly formed podcast division, Variety has learned. The new division will create and produce podcasts based on both original ideas and third-party IP, in addition to exploring opportunities within the company’s existing slate of feature and TV projects. Hoch has over 20 years [...]

  • Gwyneth Paltrow 'Avengers: Infinity War' film

    Gwyneth Paltrow to Exit Marvel Cinematic Universe

    For the last decade, Gwyneth Paltrow has popped up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Pepper Potts, Iron Man’s secretary and eventual girlfriend. But in an interview with Variety, the actress said that she’s planning on retiring the character after this summer’s “Avengers: Endgame.” “I mean, I’m a bit old to be in a suit [...]

  • Oscars Predictions Final

    Final Oscar Predictions: Who Will Win, and Who Should?

    At 5 p.m. Tuesday on the west coast it’ll be pencils down for Oscar voters, so to speak. Or maybe in an era of online voting, it’s more like laptops closed. Either way, polling for the 91st annual Academy Awards officially concludes in a few short hours. Five days from now, we’ll find out which [...]

  • Modern Films Picks Up Oscar-Nominated 'Never

    Modern Films Picks Up Oscar-Nominated 'Never Look Away' for U.K.

    Modern Films has snagged U.K. and Ireland rights to “Never Look Away,” the German-language Oscar entry from “The Lives of Others” helmer Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck. The multi-generational story follows a young art student (Tom Schilling), who falls in love with a fellow student (Paula Beer). Her father (Sebastian Koch), a renowned doctor, disapproves of [...]

  • Gwyneth Paltrow Variety Cover Story

    Gwyneth Paltrow on How 'Shakespeare in Love' Changed Her Life (and the Oscars) Forever

    Gwyneth Paltrow never felt the same after making “Shakespeare in Love.” The movie that earned her the best actress Oscar 20 years ago transformed her into a global star. “It just changed my life,” Paltrow says on a recent afternoon in Los Angeles, reflecting on the impact of the 1998 romantic comedy that grossed nearly [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content