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“There’s all those gorgeous girls getting into bed”: Liam Neeson Refused James Bond Role to Keep Late Wife Natasha Richardson Happy, Feared His Marriage Would Fail for Bombshell Bond Girls After Wife’s Ultimatum

“There’s all those gorgeous girls getting into bed”: Liam Neeson Refused James Bond Role to Keep Late Wife Natasha Richardson Happy, Feared His Marriage Would Fail for Bombshell Bond Girls After Wife’s Ultimatum

There’s definitely no actor in the world that would want to pass up the opportunity to play a memorable character, we’re talking James Bond levels of memorable here. The chance to play such a role also indicates a path to glory in the movie industry- your name will forever be remembered by fans of the popular character you work on.

The job of playing the dashing James Bond is one such example. Many have been recruited over the years to play the British spy, but only a few have succeeded in the eyes of the public. At one point in time, the world almost got Liam Neeson’s take on the character- but there was an ultimatum that led to his departure.

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Liam Neeson

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Liam Neeson Could’ve Been James Bond If Not For Wife’s Ultimatum

Liam Neeson is one of those actors in Hollywood who do an excellent job of getting the best out of their characters, before, and even now with his latest release Marlowe. It’s safe to say that his lead role in the Taken movie series has made him a memorable face in Hollywood, so at least he’s got an image.

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Liam Neeson

But just like every other actor in the world, Neeson had taken aim at forever etching his name among the greats of the movie industry by cementing a role in a popular franchise. Early on in his career, after delivering a brilliant lead performance in the Oscar-winning Steve Spielberg movie Schindler’s List, the opportunity came calling for him.

Gaining wider recognition for his talent as an actor after working on Schindler’s List as well as an Oscar nomination, the 70-year-old actor was contacted by Barbara Broccoli to play the much sought-after role of James Bond.

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Liam Neeson in Schindler’s List

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Like any aspiring actor, Neeson was going to agree to the role but the ultimate decision was influenced by his late ex-wife Natasha Richardson. In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, the Blacklight star reveals why he never played 007-

“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.’ “

However, his wife would chip in on the possibility of that happening-

“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.’”

In the end, Liam Neeson succumbed to the power of love and opted out of playing James Bond as he never held a meeting with Broccoli for the role.

Also Read: ‘I didn’t want anyone else playing him’: Liam Neeson Reveals Why He Returned For Obi-Wan Kenobi

Liam Neeson’s Rejection Of James Bond Role Was A Running Joke Between Him And His Wife

It must’ve taken quite a lot of courage to deny a role as iconic as that of James Bond. It’s even more stunning when putting things into perspective- Liam Neeson was a not-so-well-known actor at the time looking to make his mark in the movie industry, and passing up an opportunity like the 007 role must’ve made him look like a fool to a lot of other aspiring actors.

James Bond FandomWire
Natasha Richardson and Liam Neeson

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But as he notes in his recent interview with Rolling Stone, the Memory star turned that story into a running joke between him and his wife Natasha Richardson. As he explains, Neeson would be-

“going behind her back, making my fingers as though I’m holding a gun, and [humming the James Bond theme]. I loved doing that sh*t!”

He further takes a guess at his wife’s thought process on the whole thing-

“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!”

Despite not having worked on the James Bond franchise, Liam Neeson still ended up making a name for himself with the Taken thriller movie series, although the Bond role would’ve been a nice touch as well.

Taken is currently available for streaming on Lionsgate Play.

Source: Variety

Written by Sang Tonsing

Sang is a content writer for Fandomwire with over 300 published articles. He now has 3 years of experience and counting in content writing. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Political Science at Delhi University.