Find Out What Made Liam Neeson Reject the Iconic Role of James Bond

Ashley Hunte
Liam Neeson appeared at the Zurich Film Festival in a grey suit and black mock neck shirt.
Getty | Thomas Niedermueller

Over the decades, many iconic actors have donned the title of 007 for one of the most popular and long-standing film franchises to date. From Sean Connery all the way to Daniel Craig, many James Bond actors have experienced fame during and long after their respective tenures.

The actors who get chosen aren't the only ones who are considered, though. Plenty of actors have been considered for the role, though most either get rejected or, like Liam Neeson, decide to turn it down.

In A Recent Interview, Neeson Admitted That He Was Once Up For The Role

Several men in suits walking as seen through the barrel of a gun.

The Academy Award nominee was briefly in the running for the role in the 90s.

He Was Originally Interested In The Role

Neeson in a suit, arriving at TIFF in 2008.
Wikimedia Commons | Karen Seto [Creative Commons Attribution 2.0]

He recalled having a conversation with Bond producer Barbara Broccoli.

It Seemed She Was Impressed With His Most Recent Film Of The Time

Neeson as Oskar Schindler in the 1993 film which was filmed in black and white.
Giphy | Maudit

"Schindler's List had come out and Barbara [Broccoli] had called me a couple of times to ask if I was interested," Neeson said in an interview with Rolling Stone published earlier this week.

He Was Initially Interested In The Part

Sean Connery as James Bond, smoking a cigarette and introducing himself.
Giphy | James Bond 007

At the time, he'd told Broccoli that he was interested in becoming the next Bond.

However, He Later Changed His Tune

Jimmy Fallon saying, "Nevermind, everything's fine!"
Giphy | The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

Though still interested, Neeson decided not to pursue the role of James Bond.

Why? Because Of His Wife

Richardson and Neeson both appeared in The Man Who Came to Dinner in 2000.
IMDb | The Man Who Came to Dinner via IMDb

Natasha Richardson, who would become his wife shortly after, threatened to not marry Neeson if he took the part.

The Late Actress Gave Him An Ultimatum

A woman frantically waving her arms and continuously saying "no!"
Giphy | CBS

"'Liam, I want to tell you something: If you play James Bond, we’re not getting married,'" Neeson recalled Richardson telling him.

Though He Said No, Neeson Would Still Tease Richardson About It

A clip of James Bond gunning down someone who watched him through a gun's barrel.
Giphy | James Bond 007

He would "going behind her back, making my fingers as though I'm holding a gun, and [humming the James Bond theme]," according to the interview.

Neeson Believes Richardson Did Not Want Him To Stray

Reece Witherspoon in a jacket, shrugging nonchalantly.
Giphy | Sky

"Come on, there's all those gorgeous girls in various countries getting into bed and getting out of bed," Neeson continued. "I'm sure a lot of her decision-making was based on that!"

Liam Neeson Would Eventually Become An Action Star, Though

Liam Neeson in Taken, saying "I will find you" into a cellphone.

Though he did not star as Bond, Neeson eventually made a name for himself in the action movie world through his roles in the Taken series.

And He's Experienced A Prolific Career Since Then

Liam Neeson blowing a kiss to the camera while on an interview chair.

Neeson, now 70, went on to star in films such as Love Actually and The Chronicles of Narnia.

And Richardson Made Nice On Her Promise

A bouquet, white heels, perfume, and rings on top of a fancy chair.
Unsplash | Anton Mislawsky

The two ended up getting married in 1994 and remained married until Richardson's death in 2009.

Another Famous Actor Ended Up Getting The Part

Pierce Brosnan first appeared as James Bond in 1995.
Giphy | James Bond 007

After Neeson rejected the role of James Bond, it ended up going to Pierce Brosnan.

Brosnan Went On To Make Four Bond Films

Brosnan as bond, jumping off an exploding ski hill.
Giphy | James Bond 007

First appearing in 1995's Goldeneye, Brosnan played Bond in Tomorrow Never Dies, The World is Not Enough, and Die Another Day.

With His Last Film Releasing In 2002, It Became Time For A New Bond

Daniel Craig first became Bond in 2006.
Giphy | James Bond 007

It took a few years, but Daniel Craig eventually stepped into Bond's shoes with 2006's Casino Royale. The film acted as a "reboot" for the franchise.

Craig Continued Acting As Bond For A Decade And A Half

Daniel Craig as Bond, closing the door of a car and adjusting his suit.
Giphy | Regal

He went on to reprise the role in 2008's Quantum of Solace, 2012's Skyfall, and 2015's Spectre.

Craig Finally Ended His Bond Tenure In 2021

Daniel Craig saying, "The name's Bond. James Bond," on SNL.
Giphy | Saturday Night Live

2021's No Time to Die was Craig's final time appearing as James Bond, leaving the franchise open for yet another reboot with a fresh actor.

For Now, The Future Of 'James Bond' Is Unknown

A man menacingly petting a white cat.
Giphy | James Bond 007

The search for the next Bond is underway, though no one is sure who will fill the shoes just yet.

But There Are Rumors And Speculations

A woman saying, "Who knows, honestly, at this point."
Giphy | Siesta Key

Several actors have been rumored for the role, most recently including Aaron Taylor-Johnson.

h/t Too Fab