Ahead of the release of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
next Thursday, Neeson [who voices Aslan in the movie] said: ‘Aslan symbolises a Christ-like figure but he also symbolises for me Mohammed, Buddha and all the great spiritual leaders and prophets over the centuries.
‘That’s who Aslan stands for as well as a mentor figure for kids – that’s what he means for me.’
Neeson, 58, who grew up in Ballymena, Northern Ireland, is a practising Roman Catholic and was named after his parish priest. His actress wife Natasha Richardson died in a skiing accident in March last year.
Two years ago, he teamed up with an order of American Catholic priests to bring out a CD of spiritual meditations for Lent.
William Oddie, a fomer editor of The Catholic Herald and a lifelong fan of the Chronicles of Narnia, accused Neeson of ‘a betrayal of Lewis’s intention and a shameful distortion’.
He said: ‘Aslan is clearly established from the very beginning of the whole cannon as being a Christ figure. I can’t believe that Liam Neeson is so stupid as not to know.’