Liam Neeson Is Convinced His ‘Ballad of Buster Scruggs’ Horse Recognized Him

"He whinnied when he saw me. And pawed the ground," the actor said after a New York Film Festival screening of the new Coen Brothers film.
Liam Neeson attends the premiere for "The Ballad of Buster Scruggs" at Alice Tully Hall during the 56th New York Film Festival, in New York2018 NYFF - "The Ballad of Buster Scruggs" Premiere, New York, USA - 04 Oct 2018
Liam Neeson
Evan Agostini/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Liam Neeson has long been an outspoken fan of Central Park’s horse-drawn carriages, but one horse in particular recently stole his heart. At a recent Q & A for Joel and Ethan Coen’s “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” at the New York Film Festival, Neeson shared a rather odd anecdote from the set. The actor plays what he called a “traveling impresario” in the anthology Western, driving a horse carriage and setting the stage for an armless, legless orator who regales indifferent crowds with classical monologues.

“The odd thing is the horse who pulls my wagon knew me,” Neeson said. When asked to follow-up, he added: “You won’t believe it. I’m saying this horse knew me. He actually remembered me from another Western we made awhile back. I love animals. When we worked together before I took special care of him. I fed him treats. Gave him apples … He whinnied when he saw me. And pawed the ground.”

Russell Crowe, who co-starred with Neeson in Paul Haggis’ 2010 thriller “The Next Three Days” was quick to back up his buddy, tweeting: “This is absolutely true. There’s a horse, George, who I gave the speech in the forest in Gladiator on. Years later he was on the set of Robin Hood and we would have a chat every day. Same with the white horse, Rusty, in Robin Hood. We chatted again on Les Mis. Lifelong friends.”

Somebody cast these guys in another horse movie, stat!

“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” also stars Tim Blake Nelson, Tyne Daly, James Franco, and Zoe Kazan. Netflix is reportedly releasing the film in theaters on November 16.

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