For Micheál Richardson, getting a chance to work with his dad, Liam Neeson, on their new film, Made in Italy, was an opportunity to honor his late mother, Natasha Richardson. The young actor and his movie star father spoke with ET and opened up about starring in the emotional family dramedy.
"Of course, there were the parallels between the script and our lives," Richardson said of the film, in which he and Neeson play a father and son who are still struggling with the death of the family matriarch. Neeson's wife, and Richardson's mother, died after a skiing accident in March 2009.
For Richardson, it was those parallels that connected them to the script and made them feel a connection to Richardson.
"I think really where we felt her was in that collaborative love for the script and the film," he explained.
"I think it would have been something she'd be so proud and happy about. So that's where I could feel her, in sort of honoring that [and] doing the things that I know she would love us to be doing."
As for Neeson, the experience was "a lot of fun" in a number of different ways.
"I love being with a film crew, actually much more than I do with actors. I adore film crews, and this one especially because they were mainly Italian, mainly from Milan. I felt like they were keeping us aloft. They were protecting us," Neeson shared. "The film has a lot of delicate subject matter and it was good just knowing this crew had your back."
In the film, Neeson stars as an artist who travels with his estranged son to Tuscany to fix up and sell a house they inherited from his late wife.
"I had to remind myself I don’t have to act when I'm with Micheál. I don't have to act being his father, because I am his father and he's my son," Neeson explained with a laugh.
For Richardson, their connection gave them a lot of room to find their characters, and they were able to infuse their own personalities into the film.
"James [D'Arcy] sort of let us riff and improv," Richardson shared.
It's because of the reality of their bond that Neeson thinks audiences will appreciate the film and its central relationship between a father and son.
"I think people will enjoy it, especially the times we’re living in with this pandemic," Neeson said. "We have a loving film that’s about connecting, really connecting, [and] that’s what I hope audiences take away from it."
Made in Italy opens in select theaters, drive-ins and Digital on Demand on Aug. 7.