Liam Neeson has admitted to carrying around a cosh and hoping to come across a "black b******" to kill with it after his friend was sexually assaulted.

The 66-year-old actor said he felt strong urges to carry out a racially-aggravated attack after learning that the man who attacked his friend was black.

The Taken star said he felt a thirst for revenge after he came back home from overseas to find a close female friend had been raped.

He has declined to disclose the name of his friend, or to give further details about the attack, so as to protect her identity.

Advertisement

Neeson has said he feels "ashamed" of his past "awful" urges after disclosing that for a week he walked around hoping someone would provoke him so that he could attack them.

"She handled the situation of the rape in the most extraordinary way," he told The Independent.

He explained his mindset at the time, adding: "But my immediate reaction was... I asked, did she know who it was? No. What colour were they? She said it was a black person.

"I went up and down areas with a cosh, hoping I'd be approached by somebody - I'm ashamed to say that - and I did it for maybe a week, hoping some black b*****d would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could kill him."

The actor shared the startling story after being asked about his insight into his character in his new film, Cold Pursuit, who has a thirst for revenge after his son is killed by a drug gang.

Neeson said he feels remorse for his actions, explaining: "It's awful. But I did learn a lesson from it, when I eventually thought, 'What the f*** are you doing', you know?"

He added that he understands the need for revenge because he grew up in Northern Ireland during the Troubles: " I come from a society – I grew up in Northern Ireland in the Troubles – and, you know, I knew a couple of guys that died on hunger strike, and I had acquaintances who were very caught up in the Troubles, and I understand that need for revenge, but it just leads to more revenge, to more killing and more killing, and Northern Ireland's proof of that.

"All this stuff that's happening in the world, the violence, is proof of that, you know. But that primal need, I understand."

Advertisement

The actor has become more candid in interviews of late, last year telling Ireland's Late Late Show that the #MeToo movement had turned into a "witch hunt".

He said: "There's some people, famous people, being suddenly accused of touching some girl's knee, or something, and suddenly they're being dropped from their program, or something...it's a witch hunt."

The Telegraph has contacted Liam Neeson's representatives for comment.

This article originally appeared on the Daily Telegraph.