Speaking with Clémence Michallon for The Independent, Neeson recounted his response to learning of the rape of "someone close to him many years ago" for the first time.
"She handled the situation of the rape in the most extraordinary way," said Neeson, who was being interviewed alongside Cold Pursuit co-star Tom Bateman. "But my immediate reaction was...I asked, did she know who it was? 'No.' What color were they? She said, 'It was a black person.'"
From there, Neeson said, he spent "maybe a week" going out at night with a bludgeon of some sort under the pretense of taking a walk. His actual intentions, however, were to enact what he felt was revenge:
"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 [Neeson gestures air quotes with his fingers] 'black bastard' would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could," another pause, "kill him."
Neeson noted how awful this is, adding that he "did learn a lesson" from his reaction. "It was horrible, horrible, when I think back, that I did that," he said. "And I've never admitted that, and I'm saying it to a journalist. God forbid."
Read the full interview, which also includes comments from Neeson on violence in cinema, here. The audio has also surfaced:
Neeson's revealing personal story surly complicates the press run for Cold Pursuit, set for stateside release this Friday. The film itself, like Neeson's popular Taken franchise, centers on a character who's out for revenge in the wake of a violent act.