Liam Neeson has dropped out of a major movie project about the life of St Columba – citing his grief over wife Natasha Richardson's death last year.
The actor had been approached to star in Scottish director Norman Stone's new film alongside Jeremy Irons later this year.
Neeson, from Ballymena, was due to play the role of King Aidan in the movie, which centres around the life of the great saint, who brought Christianity to Scotland.
The star is said to have spent months dwelling over the high-profile role and was extremely excited about the script, but decided it was too much, too soon, following the loss of his beloved wife less than a year ago. “It has been a difficult time for Liam,” Stone said of the news.
“I think he would have been great in the film.
“We wanted him to play the part of King Aidan, who has fiery clashes with Columba (played by Irons).
“It would've been great to see him alongside Jeremy. The script was with him for several months and I understand he loved it.
“He has decided not to go ahead, which is a pity, but the decision was made after what has been a difficult time for him and I respect the circumstances.
“He is a truly great actor,” he added.
Liam’s talented actress wife died last March following a skiing accident in Montreal, Canada. Natasha, (45) the daughter of screen siren, Vanessa Redgrave and sister of fellow actress, Joely Richardson suffered from an epidural haematoma, which caused bleeding between the skull and the brain's covering.
The accident happened while the actress was taking a supervised skiing lesson at the Mont Tremblant ski resort in Quebec.
Natasha's husband, Liam and two sons, Micheal (13) and Daniel (12) were left devastated by her sudden death and are still struggling to come to terms with their grief as the one-year anniversary of her death approaches.