Liam Neeson on 'Silence': 'It's about questing after faith'

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silence liam neeson cnnmoney_00002409

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Story highlights

  • Liam Neeson stars as Father Cristóvão Ferreira in 'Silence," a story about two Jesuit priests who face persecution when they travel to Japan
  • The film is directed by Martin Scorsese and has been in the works for more than 20 years

(CNN)Liam Neeson's latest movie required him to take a journey of reflection.

Neeson plays Father Cristóvão Ferreira in Martin Scorsese's longtime passion project, "Silence." The film follows two Jesuit priests played by Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver, who go on a pilgrimage to Japan to find Ferreira. Along the way, they face violent persecution while spreading the word of Christianity.
"It's a subject matter that you can't just simply act your way through," Neeson told CNN in a recent interview. "We really had to strip away the layers and really confront yourself in what your real beliefs are. I certainly did, didn't come away with any answers ... I'm still questing, let's put it that way."
    Scorsese has been trying to make "Silence," based on the book written by Shūsaku Endō in 1966, for two decades. Neeson said that while being on set, Scorsese created an environment that spoke to the title of the film.
    "He creates a very special environment for you, the actor. He does demand an incredible amount of silence from everybody on set. Which is very, very daunting and quite intimidating. You have 170 people all focused on this one little scene, it really creates this extraordinary, holy space and you have to go into it and do your job."
    Although Neeson admitted it's not always enjoyable to watch his own projects, this film feels different.
    "This one was very, very special because it'll touch everybody in some way. It's about questing after faith and a belief and why we're on this planet."
    "Silence" opens in theaters December 23.