Liam Neeson Explains His Startling 20-Lb. Weight Loss: Martin Scorsese Wanted Us 'Gaunt' for 'Silence'

"Martin is intimidating," Neeson told Collider

Photo: Alo Ceballos/GC Images

Liam Neeson has finally revealed the reason for his dramatic weight-loss that startled fans this summer: Martin Scorsese.

“Martin wanted us all to look a bit more gaunt, which [costars Adam Driver and Andrew Garfield] did as well,” Neeson, 63, said of dropping 20 pounds during a press conference for the film, reported Collider. “I know Adam went to the extreme. He’s an ex marine and when he’s given an order, he follows it through. He was like something out of Auschwitz. Martin requires this level of [dedication] and I think it pays off.”

In Silence Neeson and Garfield star as 17th century Jesuit priests working in Japan. Neeson and the film’s producer Gaston Pavlovich were on hand to discuss the making of the movie at the 4th Annual Los Cabos International Film Festival over the weekend.

“Martin is intimidating,” Neeson said of the Oscar-winning director. “He’s legendary – so as a performer you have to get over that. I had to get over that … He require[s] absolute silence on set, like everybody has to stop work when he’s giving a direction or explaining a scene. I mean everybody – the guy that s painting 400 yards away has to stop. If he hears one tiny sound it’s shattered for him so he commands that respect. He commands that silence and especially for this film it was necessary.”

Neeson said that during the shoot, a 6.1 earthquake hit Japan and delayed production, an experience he described as the “most terrifying moment of my life.”

“I was in my hotel room, on the 15th floor and the room, the world, started to shake,” he told Collider. “I thought I’ll just stand under the door way, that’s what you do. I was under there for 10 seconds. I thought this is crazy – I’m 15-floors up, you don’t stand in the doorway.”

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Joining the film, which is due out in 2016 – hopefully by the Cannes Film Festival, according to Pavlovich – was a no-brainer for Neeson – despite the crazy circumstances.

“Who’s going to turn down a job with Martin Scorsese?” the actor joked, “He’s a very special director and for actors he’s exceptional. His level of concentration and focus, what he prepares for the actors before you come on set is just wonderful.”

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