One popular action star reveals he rejected the role as the MI6 spy James Bond because his wife told him she would not marry him if he did.

One popular action star revealed that they rejected the role as James Bond because his wife would refuse to marry him if he did. Originally created in 1953 by novelist Ian Fleming, the charming spy took the world by storm in 1962 with the franchise’s first feature film, Dr. No. For over six decades and 25 Eon Productions films, six lead actors have portrayed Bond to include Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig.


Speaking with Rolling Stone, Taken star Liam Neeson revealed that he rejected the role as Bond because his wife, Natasha Richardson, would refuse to marry him. The actor explained that he was never officially offered part but James Bond producer Barbara Broccoli had contacted him to see if he was interested. Read what Neeson said below:

I was not offered James Bond. 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.” So I would tease her by going behind her back, making my fingers as though I’m holding a gun, and then [hums the James Bond theme]. I loved doing that sh*t! [Laughs]

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! [Laughs]

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How Liam Neeson Could Have Changed James Bond

Liam Neeson in Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List

Neeson has had a long career in film and television, primarily featuring in small roles during the 1970s and 80s, before becoming a household name with Steven Spielberg’s World War II Holocaust drama, Schindler’s List. The actor continued with high-profile dramatic films to include Michael Collins, Les Misérables (1998), Gangs of New York, and Kingdom of Heaven before becoming an action star with Pierre Morel’s hi-octane thriller, Taken. Since the 2008 hit, Neeson has increasingly become known for his action thrillers with Run All Night, The Commuter, Cold Pursuit, and two Taken sequels highlighting his later career.

According to Neeson’s comments, the actor would have likely been up for the role of Bond in the mid-90s, around the time Pierce Brosnan was selected for Goldeneye. As proven by his roles in the post-Taken action films, Neeson would have provided the spy franchise with a fiercely intense Bond. Neeson may not have had the overall charm or charisma of Connery or Brosnan, but he could have provided the film series with a sharper edge that the franchise would not see until Casino Royale (2006).

If Neeson managed to land the Bond role, his commitment to the spy franchise may have precluded him from taking other major career defining roles to include his Golden Globe nominated role in Michael Collins, his lauded performance as Jean Valjean in Les Misérables (1998), and as the beloved Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. Meanwhile, Brosnan excelled in the role of James Bond, wonderfully blending charm, and wit. Despite Neeson rejecting a chance to portray the MI6 agent, his career would eventually lead to numerous action roles.

Next: Daniel Craig’s James Bond Era Was The Bleakest (Which Is A Good Thing)

Source: Rolling Stone

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