“He turned me down”: Steven Spielberg Nearly Considered Liam Neeson for $275M Oscar Nominated Movie After His Favorite Actor Refused the Role

"He turned me down": Steven Spielberg Nearly Considered Liam Neeson for $275M Oscar Nominated Movie After His Favorite Actor Refused the Role

When it comes to filmmaking, few directors have had the aura and longevity in Hollywood like Steven Spielberg. The director who has worked in the industry for a staggering 6 decades, has been instrumental in creating some of the most iconic films of the century spanning multiple years. From Jaws, Schindler’s List, ET and Indiana Jones to his latest film The Fabelmans, no genre has been untouched by the prolific filmmaker.

Steven Spielberg
Oscar winning director Steven Spielberg

With an unassailable repertoire of films over many years, the Jaws director is expectedly one of the most sought after filmmakers that many A-list actors have craved to work with. While Spielberg’s pedigree can command the presence of any actor to be part of his films, The Fabelmans director had a special rapport and respect for two top actors in the industry and spoke of how one of them almost did not do his famous historical biopic.

Also Read: Amy Adams Was Nervous Before Aggressively Kissing Leonardo DiCaprio in Steven Spielberg’s Movie

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Steven Spielberg’s First Choice Daniel Day-Lewis Refused Lincoln Initially

Among the plethora of big league stars that Steven Spielberg has worked with, Daniel Day- Lewis held a special place among the director’s favorite artists. Though the duo has only worked on Lincoln together, the director was a self-confessed admirer of the Oscar winning actor. But there was a time when Day-Lewis rejected Lincoln stating that the role didn’t feel tailor-made for him. The actor ultimately signed on to portray the great American President. Recalling the past, Spielberg stated,

I approached Daniel first to play Lincoln eight, nine years ago. We had a very healthy flirt about possibly doing this together. He turned me down. And then Liam [Neeson]. Then we both decided to do other things. And then I came back to Daniel.”

Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg with Daniel Day-Lewis

Despite Neeson finally giving way to Daniel Day-Lewis, his friendship with the There will be Blood actor and his earlier association with Spielberg in Schindler’s List ensured that he encouraged Day-Lewis to work with Spielberg and take on the role of Abraham Lincoln. The working relationship between the actor and director ultimately went on to become one of the most fruitful collaborations.

Also Read: Tom Cruise Liked $603M Steven Spielberg Movie Script So Much He Asked Him to Postpone Another 2005 Film That Got a Mammoth 5 Oscar Nods

Steven Spielberg And Tom Hanks Share A Beautiful Relationship

Unlike Daniel Day-Lewis, Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg have collaborated on multiple films that have paved way for a warm working relationship between the actor-director duo. Speaking of the memories made during the filming of Bridge of Spies, Spielberg was effusive in his praise for Hanks and said,

One of the happiest experiences I’ve ever had with Tom was on this film, Bridge of Spies, and it’s simply because Tom is an honest actor, which means that he doesn’t have to act. If he understands the character, he exists in clothing and in the persona of that character without having to work very hard,”

Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg directing Tom Hanks in Bridge of Spies

The director compared his rapport with Tom Hanks to his professional relationship with Daniel Day-Lewis saying he was blessed to work with actors like them who became one with their characters and gave everything to their performance.

Also Read: Despite Making Gargantuan $256M Profit, Steven Spielberg Thought 2002 Tom Cruise Movie Will Be a Spectacular Failure

Source: Cheatsheet



Written by Sharanya Sankar

Sharanya is a mom, bookworm, and cinephile. Having completed her Masters degree in Journalism and Mass Communication, writing is one of her passions. When she is not running behind her 11 and 9 year old, she spends her time watching and blogging about movies. She enjoys a range of genres from Indian mass entertainers to Hollywood and world cinema. Her interests also include analyzing pop culture in movies and music.