24 APRIL 2009

Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyman has praised grieving actor Liam Neeson for returning to work on Chloe just days after saying his final goobye to late wife Natasha Richardson.

"Liam is heroic," says the director, who had been prepared for a hold up in filming after Natasha died following a ski accident while Liam was making the thriller. "He came back and finished."

British Columbia-raised Atom also told TV network ET Canada: "He called me and said, 'You know, let's do it right away.' It was really emotional."

"I think the only way he could have come back right after was because his family was all there to support the boys," adds the film-maker, referring to Liam's sons, Michael, 13, and 12-year-old Daniel.

The 56-year-old actor is "still in a state of shock", says Atom. "I think he's trying to absorb (what's happened)… He's suddenly a single parent with absolutely no preparation for that."

He is, however "surrounded by people that really love him. There is a lot of support".

Photo: Getty Images
Director Atom Egoyman was prompted to acknowledge the bravery of the Irish actor, pictured on the Toronto set of the thriller, after he returned to complete lensing the film days after attending wife Natasha Richardson's funeral