He has a very particular set of skills, and one of them is apparently encouraging civil discourse. Liam Neeson plays Mark Felt, the FBI source known as Deep Throat in the Watergate investigation, in the movie Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down The White House.
Speaking at a press conference in Los Angeles, Neeson told reporters he’s happy to see Americans protesting the current administration, the way Felt took a stand at a time of great social upheaval in the U.S.
“You’re a citizen of the country and you have a right to protest,” Neeson said. “I’m not going to attack the Trump but the guy has to be given his time and his cabinet have to be given its time. People are out protesting, especially women which is great. It’s great to see America protesting again. That doesn’t seem to have happened for many, many years. Yes, get in there, get on the streets, make your voice heard. You have a right to protest and it’s great, certainly with the women’s movement.”
Since November 9 there have been protests of the Trump administration, growing more and more organized. There was the Women’s March in multiple cities on inauguration day, the Gay Pride Parade became Resist March and other groups have taken to the streets to give voice to those at risk.
“I think there’s the potential of legitimate wrongs being committed,” Neeson continued. “As one political analyst I saw a few weeks ago was asked outright, do you think there was collusion between Russia and the Trump administration? He said, ‘Let’s put it this way. There’s no smoke without fire and there’s a hell of a lot of smoke.’ These people have to be held accountable.”
Researching Mark Felt made Neeson more aware of these issues. Growing up in Ireland he was more focused on his country’s political struggles.
“My research just made me aware of the scale of it and how it reinforced in me, and it’s the same for growing up outside Belfast back home, you don’t know who to believe anymore,” Neeson said. “You’ve been lied to and there’s smoke ad mirrors all the time. These elected leaders that claim to be representing us, and they have to be held accountable, especially when they break the law and when they think they’re above the law as Richard Nixon felt because he was President. [Nixon felt] whatever he said was above the law and of course it’s not.”
Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought down The White House comes from writer/director Peter Landesman. It is his second movie in which the lead demands people “tell the truth.” Previously, Will Smith demanded it of the NFL in Concussion. Landesman says he may have more “tell the truth” movies in him.
“Sometimes I feel like our narratives pick us,” Landesman said. “I personally have this feeling that writers have one story that they tell. They just dress it up differently every time. Different clothes, different geographies. This has definitely been a throughline in my body of work and it was true when I was a journalist also. My next film is a World War II film. It’s after a different kind of truth. It’s really the truth of survival and winning in a battle. It is true that Will’s character in Concussion and Liam’s character in Mark Felt definitely carried that lone wolf whistleblower burden. I think that’s undeniable.”
Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down The White House, is now playing in New York and Los Angeles.