An iconic Canadian actor who is starring in an upcoming Liam Neeson movie that had been expected to film in the Rocky Mountain national Parks is speaking out after it was rejected by Parks Canada.
Tom Jackson’s statements come one day after the film’s location manager Mark Voyce said Parks Canada denied his team a permit in Banff and Jasper national parks, citing aboriginal concerns and suggesting the project might need an environmental assessment.
“They never read the script,” Jackson said, adding he had written a letter to Parks Canada seeking to clarify the film’s plot.
Jackson said in the film, he plays a gang leader who is avenging the death of his son. He said Neeson’s character’s son is killed by the same man.
“I was given the privilege of reading through this script,” he said. “I saw no compromise on how this [film] portrayed First Nations people.”
LISTEN: Tom Jackson on Parks Canada’s decision to reject movie filming in Banff, Jasper
Jackson said he is speaking as an individual, not on behalf of the First Nations community.
“Are you telling me that somebody in Parks Canada has the right to say non-native people are not allowed to shoot—literally or figuratively—on film, aboriginal people?”
He also said he didn’t think environmental damage from the film was likely.
“The action in this film is about moving snow,” he told News Talk 770’s Rob Breakenridge. “ I wrote in my letter, I said, ‘Isn’t that what we do on a regular basis? We move snow… for clearing roads.’”
Jackson said he believes filming has been moved to British Columbia, where it will stay even if the Parks Canada decision is reversed.
“What has essentially happened is the ship has sailed. Even if there was a reversal in the decision, there’s no chance,” he said. “This opportunity is now going to another province.”
Parks Canada did not immediately respond to a request for comment.