Liam Neeson has had a long and storied career, and if you just know him from the Taken movies or even Schindler’s List, you don’t know half of it. Most people obviously know that he tragically lost his wife, Natasha Richardson, after she suffered a skiing accident in 2009. But did you know that he lived with Helen Mirren for much of the 1980s? Or that he tried out to play professional soccer? Or that he left college — where he was a physics and computer science student — to go work for the Guinness Brewery (I like the man’s priorities)?
He also began boxing at the age of nine, and I tell you this so that you’ll know that Neeson’s ability to throw a punch during a movie is well-earned. The man can kick your ass, despite what Steven Seagal might have you believe. Thankfully, Neeson hasn’t put those boxing skills to use in the real world, except for once.
A Reddit user unearthed this interview of Neeson from a few years ago, in which he admitted that he was fired for punching a 15-year-old student during his days in teacher training. But there was a good reason. The kid was holding a knife (at 2:40).
Sometimes there is a discipline problem, so [the issue is] getting them to settle down before you start teaching them, you know? And this particular kid just didn’t want to settle down, and he wanted to disrupt the whole class, you know? So I went over to him and asked him to leave the classroom and stand outside, and the next thing I know, he pulled a knife on me. And my immediate reaction was to punch him, which I shouldn’t have done. But I felt threatened, so I punched him.
He was a “big kid,” too, as Neeson pointed out. And that’s the difference between Liam Neeson and most of the rest of us. Somebody pulls out a knife, and my first instinct is to back away. Neeson’s first instinct is to knock him out. Why he was fired for punching a kid who pointed a knife at him, however, makes no sense at all. It could’ve been a lot worse, you know?
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