There was a time where the actor had a chance at the iconic role, but he didn’t pursue it because of a request by his future wife, Natasha Richardson.
Liam Neeson revealed that while he was under consideration to take on the iconic role of James Bond in 1993, he never pursued the role and it was because of a request that he not take the role by his then-girlfriend and later wife, actor Natasha Richardson.
Neeson was a talk show guest on James Corden’s The Late Late Show on CBS to promote his new movie, The Ice Road, and Corden noted that with the discussion nowadays about who will take over as James Bond after Daniel Craig’s final Bond film is released later this year (if it does, in fact, turn out to be Craig’s final Bond film, that is) he was wondering whether Neeson had ever been in the running for the role.
Neeson explained that yes, he had, in 1993, following his success doing Schindler’s List for Steven Spielberg (this was after Timothy Dalton had done the role in two films and before Pierce Brosnan was hired for what turned out to be a five-picture stint as Bond), “Yeah, they approached, I believe it was a couple of calls from Barbara Broccoli, who’s now the main producer of the Bond films. This was after I had done Schindler’s List, which was 26 years ago. But I wasn’t offered it. I know they were looking at various actors and I, apparently, was among them.”
At the time, Neeson was filming the Jodie Foster-starring film, Nell, with his future wife, Natasha Richardson (the two had met earlier in 1993 while doing the play Anna Christie on Broadway), and Neeson revealed that when she found out that he was in the running for the famous movie spy role, she had a request of him.
He explained, “[M]y dear departed wife did say to me – we were doing a movie together in South Carolina – and she says, ‘Darling, if you’re offered James Bond, and you’re going to play it, you’re not going to marry me.'”
Neeson obviously valued that relationship more, and he did not get the role, but in true Bond fashion, he DID get the girl, as he and Richardson married the following year and had two sons and lived happily together until Richardson’s tragic death in 2009 due to a head injury suffered while on a skiing trip with her family.
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Brian Cronin (14793 Articles Published)
CBR Senior Writer Brian Cronin has been writing professionally about comic books for over a dozen years now at CBR (primarily with his “Comics Should Be Good” series of columns, including Comic Book Legends Revealed). He has written two books about comics for Penguin-Random House – Was Superman a Spy? And Other Comic Book Legends Revealed and Why Does Batman Carry Shark Repellent? And Other Amazing Comic Book Trivia! and one book, 100 Things X-Men Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die, from Triumph Books. His writing has been featured at ESPN.com, the Los Angeles Times, About.com, the Huffington Post and Gizmodo. He features legends about entertainment and sports at his website, Legends Revealed. Follow him on Twitter at @Brian_Cronin and feel free to e-mail him suggestions for stories about comic books that you’d like to see featured at firstname.lastname@example.org!