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Friday, May 7, 1999 Published at 01:29 GMT 02:29 UK


Star Wars star quits Hollywood

Liam Neeson stars in the new Star Wars prequel

Hollywood star Liam Neeson has said he is quitting the movie business in disgust at being treated like a ''puppet''.

The Irish-born actor, set to rise to even greater fame through his role as Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn in the forthcoming Star Wars film, says he will never make another movie.

[ image: Liam Neeson plans to spend more time with his family]
Liam Neeson plans to spend more time with his family
He told reporters in New York that, after more than 20 films and an Oscar nomination for Schindler's List, he was completely disillusioned.

The 46-year-old said he could no longer bear to watch films, especially his own.

He plans to act in just one play a year and devote the rest of his time to his family and fly-fishing.

"I'm getting out, I'm retiring from movies next year. Honest to God, I'm not happy doing it - I don't want to do it anymore," he said.

"Film is a director's medium, it has nothing to do with actors. We are basically puppets, walking around, hitting marks, saying lines.

[ image: Neeson's wife, Natasha Richardson,
Neeson's wife, Natasha Richardson, "kind of understands" the decision
"Producers earn all the money, and you get the sense that they hate actors. The crews are treated like slaves."

Neeson, who grew up in Ballymena, was a boxer and fork-lift truck driver before taking to the stage.

He was spotted by film director John Boorman while acting at Dublin's Abbey Theatre. He then appeared in Boorman's film Excalibur in 1981.

The actor said he had two more films "in the can" but wanted time off to help his wife, actress Natasha Richardson, look after their sons Michael, three, and Daniel, two.

He said he had enjoyed playing Oscar Wilde last year on Broadway "because it was just me, my co-actors and an audience".

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