That Time Tim Roth Accidentally Stabbed Liam Neeson While Filming A Movie

Tim Roth being presented with his dueling sword in Rob Roy.
(Image credit: MGM/UA)

Accidents will happen, even when making major motion pictures. While everything is usually laid out with precision and planning, human error is inevitable. Unfortunately for Liam Neeson, one such accident saw his co-star/frequent Quentin Tarantino collaborator Tim Roth accidentally stab him. It wasn’t just a run of the mill stabbing either, as during a particularly intense sword fight, Neeson incurred a rather unique injury when all was said and done.

During Tim Roth’s appearance on the Overdue Rentals podcast, the actor discussed his time on director Michael Caton-Jones’ 1995 historical epic Rob Roy. With scenes that required a lot of swordplay and practice, especially the final duel between Neeson’s titular Scottish hero and Tim Roth’s British aristocrat Archibald Cunningham, the usual rigors of training were in play. But that didn’t stop the fateful moment that Mr. Roth laid out below from taking place: 

I did stab Liam Neeson actually. … He was the lead in [Rob Roy,] I had loads of time to practice, so I was working with his double. This amazing guy, that actually really looked like him as well. But I was working, rehearsing with his double a lot, so I had my moves down, but Liam was playing catch up with us. So at one point he went to parry a move that I did, and my sword went in-between his finger and up in [his hand.] It was like, ‘Oh my god, medic!’ And they’re blunt ended swords, they were carefully crafted, made out of aluminum, I think. Anyway, that was super painful, but I did get to stab Liam Neeson; and then shortly after I was doing a crap movie, and got stabbed in the exact same place myself. So, karma.

Just when you thought the story couldn’t get any stranger, in comes the twist that Tim Roth would find himself suffering that same injury himself. Even without that epilogue, two things need to be said about how Liam Neeson handled the moment. Not only does it look like you can see he’s still fighting after being injured, but in pure action hero fashion, it doesn’t interfere with his performance. 

In order for you to see the moves and weapons at play in Rob Roy’s climactic finale, we’re including the final dueling scene below. Just in case you don’t want the film spoiled for you, you can always skip over to the next paragraph and remain unsullied. For all who are still here, please enjoy this sporting round of swordsmanship: 

While the moment in question doesn’t seem to have made it into the final cut, you can see what looks like Liam Neeson’s reaction after the fact. At about the six minute mark in the clip above, the actor looks at his hand and flexes it, as if to make sure it’s alright. Continuing on with the scene, Neeson also bandages his hand while delivering the dialogue after the film-ending sword fight. 

It would be some time before Taken would change Liam’s career into one of a full-out action superstar. So this stoicism in the face of really intense hand pain is something that is even more commendable, and a great early entry in Neeson’s resume of method acting stunt work. But you can bet that the actor, who was at the time considered as a candidate to play James Bond, learned some valuable lessons for his future career change. 

Tim Roth seems to have taken some important knowledge as well, as last we’ve heard he hasn’t injured anyone while hulking out in his role as the MCU baddie Abomination. Perhaps that might be something to ask him about during the She Hulk press tour, as Roth’s enthusiastic return will probably have some interesting stories to tell. Should these actors ever cross paths again on the big screen, this tale will absolutely be something that comes up, even if it’s as briefly fleeting as the blades between duelists.

The schedule of current and upcoming movies sees both of these Rob Roy cast members continuing to be busy. Tim Roth can be seen in the indie drama Sundown, as well as a part of the “anxiety inducing” Sundance hit Resurrection, co-starring Rebecca Hall. As for Liam Neeson, he can next be caught in his latest action blockbuster Blacklight, which heads to theaters on February 11.

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.