The actor opened up about longtime Bond rumors and the reason he never took on the role.
When it comes to James Bond, it was a no-go for Liam Neeson. In a new interview with Rolling Stone, the action star cleared up rumors that he was slated to take on the role of 007 in the early '90s, and shared why his late wife, Natasha Richardson, changed his mind about playing Agent 007.
"I was not offered James Bond. I know the Broccolis. They looked at a bunch of actors. 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,'" Neeson recalls of being approached for 1995's Goldeneye. "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.'"
He continues, "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 sh*t!"
While the couple joked around about Neeson playing Bond, the 70-year-old actor said Richardson was serious about her would-be husband not taking the role -- even giving him what he said was a "James Bond ultimatum."
"She gave me a James Bond ultimatum. And she meant it!" Neeson shares. "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!"
Neeson and Richardson would go on to tie the knot in 1994 and were married until her untimely death following a skiing accident in March 2009. The beloved Parent Trap actress was just 45 years old. During their marriage, the two stars welcomed sons Micheál, 27, and Daniel, 26.
The Taken actor and his two sons have often spoken about his late wife, with Neeson telling Anderson Cooper for 60 Minutes in 2014, "She always packed so much into every day, Natasha, that maybe she knew she wasn’t destined to be on this earth for a long period of time -- I don’t know. I mourn for her... I visit her grave on a very regular basis."
In a 2020 interview with Vanity Fair, Micheál also opened up about his mother, and explained why her performance in The Parent Trap is his favorite. "That’s more or less what she was like," he said of her role as mom Elizabeth James. "She was this sweet, amazing mother figure -- my best friend."
He continued, "She had these amazing, big welcomes when we’d come home or she would come home... I’m so lucky because I have her captured on film."