A US gun manufacturer which provided weapons for the Liam Neeson action sequel Taken 3 has criticised the Irish actor for pro-gun control comments he made in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks.
Neeson launched a tirade against the proliferation of firearms in the US in an interview last week, while denying that Hollywood contributes to the problem. Now PARA USA says it is severing all ties with the Ballymena-born star and urged all other manufacturers to do the same.
“PARA USA regrets its decision to provide firearms for use in the film Taken 3,” said the company in a statement in its Facebook page seen by the Washington Times. “While the film itself is entertaining, comments made by its Irish-born star during press junkets reflect a cultural and factual ignorance that undermines support of the Second Amendment and American liberties.
“We will no longer provide firearms for use in films starring Liam Neeson and ask that our friends and partners in Hollywood refrain from associating our brand and products with his projects. Further, we encourage our partners and friends in the firearms industry to do the same.”
Neeson told Gulf News: “First off, my thoughts and prayers and my heart are with the deceased, and certainly with all of France, yesterday. I’ve got a lot of dear friends in Paris.”
He then added: “There’s too many guns out there. Especially in America. I think the population is like, 320 million? There’s over 300m guns. Privately owned, in America. I think it’s a disgrace. Every week now we’re picking up a newspaper and seeing, ‘Yet another few kids have been killed in schools.’”
But Neeson, who has starred as ex-CIA operative Bryan Mills in all three Taken films, said the gun problem was unconnected to violent action movies. “I grew up watching cowboy movies, loved doing that [gun gesture] with my fingers, ‘Bang, bang, you’re dead!’ I didn’t end up a killer...,” he said. “A character like Bryan Mills going out with guns and taking revenge: it’s fantasy.”
Taken 3, co-written once again by French series creator and film impresario Luc Besson, opened at No 1 in both the US and UK earlier this month despite largely negative reviews. The film has so far taken $163 million at the global box office.