Atom Egoyan has thanked Liam Neeson for his "heroic" professionalism in completing a film shoot just days after the death of his wife Natasha Richardson.

The British actress died in March as a result of head injuries sustained during a skiing accident in Canada.

Her husband Neeson had been filming Egoyan's film Chloe at the time and left the set to be with his wife and their two sons.

Neeson, 56, returned to the Canadian shoot of Chloe to conclude production on the picture soon after Richardson's death, an experience Egoyan labelled "harrowing".

"He called me and said, 'Let's do it right away.' It was really emotional," the director told Entertainment Tonight Canada.

"I think the only way he could have come back was right after because his family was all there to support his boys."

Egoyan added: "Liam is heroic. He came back and finished."

Neeson, who earlier this month signed to star in Clash of the Titans, his first film since Richardson's death, is still "in a state of shock," Egoyan confirmed.

"I think he's trying to absorb [what's happened] ... He's suddenly a single parent with absolutely no preparation for that," says the director.

The Schindler's List star is, however, "surrounded by people that really love him. There is a lot of support".

24/04/2009 12:02:15