Liam Neeson Was Offered James Bond Role, But He Refused


Apparently, we could have seen Liam Neeson play James Bond. However, his late wife, Natasha Richardson, deemed the role a dealbreaker for their marriage. With 146 acting credits to his name, Liam Neeson starred in many critically acclaimed movies and blockbuster franchises. As someone with the physique, countenance and flair, Neeson would have fit the double-o-seven role like a glove. But it never happened, which is a bit of a shame.

It’s now been revealed that longtime Bond producer, Barbara Broccoli, offered the role to him several times. But the actor has turned them down. Now, Neeson has revealed why he turned down the chance to play 007.

James Bond Role Was A Dealbreaker For Liam Neeson’s Marriage

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In an interview with Rolling Stone (via Variety), Neeson shared his main reason why he could not accept the James Bond role. If he had, his version could have premiered back in the 1990s.

Turns out that his wife, Natasha Richardson, had a condition for their impending marriage at the time. Neeson shared:

I know the Broccolis. They looked at a bunch of actors. ‘Schindler’s List’ had come out and Barbara [Broccoli] had called me a couple of times to ask if I was interested, and I said, ‘Yes, I would be interested.’ And then my lovely wife [Natasha Richardson], God rest her soul, said to me while we were shooting ‘Nell’ down in the Carolinas, ‘Liam, I want to tell you something: If you play James Bond, we’re not getting married.’

It’s quite romantic when you think that the actor passed on a chance to say “Bond. James Bond.” up on the silver screen. But he also thinks that his wife’s condition was quite preventive. Understanding the reason behind Richardson’s pushback to the idea of Neeson playing Bond, he said:

She gave me a James Bond ultimatum. And she meant it! Come on, there’s all those gorgeous girls in various countries getting into bed and getting out of bed. I’m sure a lot of her decision-making was based on that!

And as a true partner in the marriage, he complied. This did not mean that he didn’t get his wife back for it, though. Having his sense of humour intact, he would often tease his wife about the role. Neeson recalled:

Going behind her back, making my fingers as though I’m holding a gun, and [humming the James Bond theme]. I loved doing that shit!

With that, he still became 007, but only in the eyes of the one he married. And perhaps that is what counts, and that’s what’s more important.

Liam Neeson Rejects James Bond For Wife

Liam Neeson Was Offered James Bond Role, But He Refused

Credit: STX Films

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He proceeded to carve his name in Hollywood history through projects such as but not limited to, Les Miserables, The Haunting, Love Actually, Batman Begins and those ‘little’ franchises Taken and Star Wars prequel trilogy.

As studios are on the lookout for picking up popular franchises to reboot, soft reboot, spinoff or continuations, Neeson has already expressed that he is opting to bow out of the action genre. In a 2021 interview with ET online, he said:

I’m 68 and a half. 69 this year. There’s a couple more I’m going to do this year — hopefully, COVID allowing us — there’s a couple in the pipeline and, then I think that will probably be it.

His project card is still full, though, as IMDb lists more than a handful of upcoming titles with his name on them. And three out of the seven titles are already in post-production. Listed for a 2023 release are Retribution, where he plays Matt Truner, and the western drama-thriller In the Land of Saints and Sinners. Other titles in various stages of production are Charlie Johnson in the Flames, The Riker’s Ghost, The Naked Gun, Thug, and Cold Storage.

What would James Bond have been like if Liam Neeson had taken the role? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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