Liam Neeson

Liam Neeson turned down the role of James Bond because to his wife’s ultimatum: ‘If you play 007, we’re not getting married.’

In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Liam Neeson said that James Bond producer Barbara Broccoli called him multiple times in the 1990s to see if he was interested in playing 007. The actor had just received an Oscar nomination for best actor for his performance in “Schindler’s List.” Why pass up one of cinema’s most legendary action roles? It all came down to Natasha Richardson, Liam Neeson’s wife.

“I’m familiar with the Broccolis. “They looked at a lot of actors,” Neeson explained. “When ‘Schindler’s List came out, Barbara [Broccoli] called me a couple of times to see if I was interested, and I replied, ‘Yeah, 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.’”

Neeson’s affection for Richardson outweighed his desire to portray James Bond, thus he never agreed to a real meeting with Broccoli. Neeson teased Richardson by “going behind her back, making my fingers look like I’m carrying a gun, and [humming the James Bond theme],” he added. “I had a lot of fun doing that shit!”

“She issued me a James Bond ultimatum,” Neeson continued. “She meant it!” Come on, all those beautiful girls in many countries getting into and out of bed. I’m sure it influenced a lot of her decisions!”

Thankfully for the actor, the “Taken” franchise would provide him with a second chance at action movie stardom. In his appearance as Qui-Gon Jinn in “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace,” Neeson would also get a taste of mega-franchises, but it’s not a realm he’d like to return to right now.

“No, I’m not,” Neeson stated last month on “Watch What Happens Life!” when asked if he would return to “Star Wars.” “There are so many ‘Star Wars’ spinoffs.” It’s diluting it for me, and it’s removing the mystique and wonder in an odd manner.”

“Marlowe,” Neeson’s most recent film, is out in theatres.