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Liam Neeson explains why he turned down James Bond

Liam Neeson explains why he turned down James Bond

His career could have changed in a major way.

Liam Neeson recently revealed that he was approached multiple times to play James Bond in the 1990s, however, he didn't go for it for an extremely wholesome reason.

Given that this is one of the most coveted characters in cinema, it's confusing to think that the Northern Irish actor would have passed it over for other opportunities. Additionally, James Bond underwent a number of changes over the decades, with future versions of the super spy intended to be much more in touch with his emotions, which is what we expect of modern male characters.

Speaking to Rolling Stone, Neeson clarified that he was never offered the role, however he was on the radar of the Bond higher ups owing to his performance in Schindler's List. "Barbara [Broccoli] had called me a couple of times to ask if I was interested, and I said, 'Yes, I would be interested,' he replied to the assumption that he had turned GoldenEye down because he wasn't wanting to become a big action star. How the tables turn.

The original GoldenEye 007 is now playable on Xbox Game Pass - check out the trailer here:

Yet, there was one aspect of being Bond that Neeson wasn't willing to budge on. "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 shit!" he laughed. The two worked together on the film, as well as the Broadway play Anna Christie, and were married in 1994. In 2009, Richardson passed after she suffered bleeding on the brain incurred in a skiing accident in Montreal, and Neeson recalled grappling with the void that she had left in their lives.

"I don’t know how to answer that," said the actor of how he managed in that time. "Life goes on. Natasha’s mother, Vanessa [Redgrave], and her sister [Joely Richardson] kind of moved in, and I had a wonderful assistant, Joanna… People just came to help, you know? In a big way. And I’ll never, ever forget that. It will be fourteen years since she passed away next month."

Featured Image Credit: Sony Pictures Releasing, 20th Century Fox

Topics: TV And Film, James Bond