Liam Neeson Was Going to Be James Bond but Rejected the Role Because of His Love for His Wife

James Bond is one of those iconic roles that most actors dream of playing. But Liam Neeson turned it down because of an ultimatum that Natasha Richardson, his then-future wife, had given him. And recently, he opened up about this decisive moment when he chose love over anything else.

Liam Neeson was the top choice for James Bond.

PHOTOlink/Everett Collection/East News

The 70-year-old star revealed that back in the ’90s, he was approached multiple times by one of the producers of the James Bond films, Barbara Broccoli, who asked him whether he was willing to take on the role of 007.

Around that time, Neeson had started to become a star, having just received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor for his performance in Schindler’s List.

And a few months before Schindler’s List was released in December 1993, the actor had also found love, having met actress Natasha Richardson while they were both starring in a Broadway show together.

Mary Evans/AF Archive/David Gadd/East News

During a recent interview, Neeson recalled the time when he was offered the role of James Bond. He shared, ’’I know the Broccolis. They looked at a bunch of actors.’’ He went on to explain, ’’Schindler’s List had come out and Barbara had called me a couple of times to ask if I was interested.’’

Neeson, who was eager to grasp this great opportunity, replied, ’’Yes, I would be interested.’’

He gave it up for love.

However, things completely shifted when Richardson heard the news.

’’And then my lovely wife said to me, ’Liam, I want to tell you something: If you play James Bond, we’re not getting married,’’’ Neeson noted. ’’She gave me a James Bond ultimatum. And she meant it!’’


The actor’s love for Richardson outweighed his interest in portraying the iconic spy, so he declined to have any formal discussion with Broccoli.

And even though he didn’t take the part, Neeson acknowledges that he ’’loved’’ the idea of being James Bond, and admitted that when alone, he would sometimes pretend to be in character as the famous hero.

He and Richardson formed a happy family together.


When asked why he thinks his wife didn’t want him to take the role, the star admitted that there is a lot of temptation that can come with being James Bond.

’’Come on, there are all those gorgeous girls in various countries,’’ he noted. ’’I’m sure a lot of her decision-making was based on that!’’

By saying ’no’ to the role, Neeson was able to tie the knot to his soulmate, Richardson, in 1994.

The couple went on to have 2 sons and remained married for 15 years until Richardson’s tragic death as a result of a skiing accident in 2009.

Another Hollywood star got to become James Bond instead.

Instead, actor Pierce Brosnan was cast as James Bond and debuted his first 007 movie in 1995. Brosnan went on to portray the heroic spy in a total of 4 James Bond films.

As for Neeson, the actor had a second major opportunity at action movie stardom thanks to the Taken franchise, which debuted in 2008.


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