Liam Neeson Rejected James Bond Because of His Wife’s Ultimatum: ‘If You Play 007, We’re Not Getting Married’

Liam Neeson revealed in a recent interview with Rolling Stone that James Bond producer Barbara Broccoli contacted him several times in the 1990s to ask if he was interested in taking on the role of 007. The actor was fresh off an Oscar nomination for best actor at the time thanks to “Schindler’s List.” Why turn down one of the most iconic action roles in film history? It all came down to Neeson’s wife, Natasha Richardson.

“I know the Broccolis. They looked at a bunch of actors,” Neeson said. “‘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.’ 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.'”

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Neeson’s love for Richardson outmatched his interest in playing James Bond, so he never took a serious meeting with Broccoli. What Neeson did do was tease Richardson by “going behind her back, making my fingers as though I’m holding a gun, and [humming the James Bond theme],” he said. “I loved doing that shit!”

“She gave me a James Bond ultimatum,” Neeson added. “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!”

Fortunately for the actor, he’d get a second chance at action movie stardom with the “Taken” franchise. Neeson would also get a taste of mega-franchises with his role as Qui-Gon Jinn in “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace,” although that’s not a universe he’s keen on returning to right now.

“No, I’m not,” Neeson said on “Watch What Happens Live!” this month when asked if he will return to “Star Wars.” “There’s so many spinoffs of ‘Star Wars.’ It’s diluting it to me, and it’s taken away the mystery and the magic in a weird way.”

Neeson’s most recent release, “Marlowe,” is now playing in theaters.

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