Who Is Micheál Richardson, the Star of Made in Italy?

Actor Micheál Richardson stars alongside his father Liam Neeson in IFC's upcoming film, Made in Italy. While Richardson has worked to separate himself from his famous parents (Neeson and the late actress Natasha Richardson) at the beginning of his career, this film highlights a new step for the 25-year-old.  

Why did Micheál Richardson change his last name? 

Richardson opted not to use his dad's very-famous last name to establish himself in Hollywood. Instead, he goes by his mother's as a way to remember her. He changed his name to honor his mom, People reports. Richardson was just 13 years old when his mother, The Parent Trap star Natasha Richardson, passed away in 2009.

What is Made in Italy about?

Made in Italy centers around an estranged father and son who work together to sell a rundown Tuscan villa. It's not quite Taken, but fans of Neeson might indulge in something a little lighter, especially with his co-star, Richardson, who happens to be his real-life son. That makes for an interesting dynamic for viewers, who haven't seen the two together since 2019's Cold Pursuit.

"[It] came about not through an agent shoehorning you into doing a script because it will show another facet of your career," Neeson told Entertainment Weekly. "James D'Arcy [the film's director and writer] got in touch with me through my English agent and she said, 'Listen, I think you should read this, there’s something to it.' I did and I sort of fell in love with it, and she said, 'Maybe this is something good for you and Micheál, your son.' And so it was kind of fate, I just felt like I had to do it."

Liam Neeson and Michael Richardson

How did he feel about portraying loss after his mother’s death?

Like his dad, Micheál said that the script felt special to him, touching on relationships between parents and their kids. He added that there are very special moments in the film that only a real father and son could feel together. The movie was shot in Tuscany, blending comedic and dramatic moments and swinging through emotional extremes. Critics have said it's tough to figure out when the father and son are acting and when they're dealing with the real-life grief of confronting Natasha's death.

"At the start when I read it, it was so close to us and just kind of weird how it came into our lives at the time it did. It's been 10 years since Mum passed and I think coming from somebody who's lost a parent at a young age […] there is a line in the film where dad says, 'Nobody knows how to do this.' I don't think anybody does, but when you experience something like that a lot of the time you shut down, stuff it in, which isn't the way I think you should grieve," he said. "You have to let it out, you have to cry, you can't push them out of your memory in any way and that's kind of what I had done as I'm sure many people have done. So this process I hope and I feel it has been chipping away at parts of me that I kind of locked down."

Micheál has spoken about the grieving process before, saying that he moved on without really having time to think about it. "In my mind, subconsciously, I either pushed it out or stored it deep inside," he told The Sunday Times. "And so, within the next week I was like, 'Okay, on with my life.'"

He knows that he's not the only one, telling Vanity Fair that he's met plenty of people who never fully grasp what happens after a parent dies.

"I don't, even still, think that I've fully comprehended it, and that seems to be a similar journey to a lot of people I've spoken to," he said. "Fifty-year-olds who lost their parents when they were 12, 13 … One day they’re out gardening, and something comes over them and they just break down."

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