Liam Neeson turned down the role of James Bond because of his wife's ultimatum: "If I played 007, we won't get married."
Liam Neeson revealed in a recent interview with Rolling Stone magazine that James Bond producer Barbara Broccoli had approached him several times in the 1990s to offer him the role of 007. At that time, the actor had just been nominated for an Oscar in the best actor category for Schindler's List. So why turn down one of the most iconic action roles in film history? The answer seems to come down to one name: Natasha Richardson.
"I wasn't the only one in the running. Barbara's team had a bunch of castings," said Neeson. He added,
"Schindler's List had only just come out, and Barbara had already called me several times to ask if I was interested, and I said, 'Yes, I'm interested.' And then my lovely wife [Natasha Richardson], God rest her soul, said to me while we were shooting the film Nell, Liam, I want to tell you something: if you play James Bond, we're not getting married."
According to the actor, his girlfriend was afraid that the role of James Bond would be too seductive for her. "She said to me: 'You're going to travel a lot, there'll be all these girls jumping on you, no thanks! "I'm sure a lot of her decision making was based on that!" he added.
Star Wars is over
Liam Neeson's love for his wife outweighed his interest in the role of James Bond, so he never had a serious date with the producer of the famous secret agent. Afterwards, the actor began teasing his wife, pretending to point a gun at her back while humming the famous 007 anthem. "I loved doing that joke!"
Fortunately for the actor, the Taken franchise has given him a second chance to star in an action film. He will also have the chance to participate in other blockbusters in the future, notably with his role of Qui-Gon Jinn in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace,
The actor has said that he is no longer interested in Star Wars. "There are so many spinoffs, it's getting too diluted for me, there's almost no mystery and magic left," he said on Watch What Happens Live.