Liam Neeson was offered and turned down the role of James Bond 20 years ago

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

At the age of 61, Liam Neeson is kicking more ass than he ever has in his four decade career. The star of NON-STOP has become an action hero at an age when most actors are fading out of the genre and he doesn’t seem to be showing any signs of slowing down. It may seem that he has a career that most would envy, but it was very close to having been even bigger.

Neeson was offered the role of James Bond back during the period after Timothy Dalton vacated the role. In an interview with Hull Daily Mail, Neeson explained how close he got to the iconic part and why he turned it down.

“I was heavily courted, let’s put it that way, and I’m sure some other actors were too,” says Neeson, as he chews thoughtfully on a toothpick and rests his long limbs on an armchair.

“It was about 18 or 19 years ago and my wife-to-be said, ‘If you play James Bond we’re not getting married!’ And I had to take that on board, because I did want to marry her,” he recalls, smiling.

His wife, Natasha Richardson, tragically died five years ago, but I can imagine why she didn’t want him to take the part. Becoming James Bond is not just a role but an all-encompassing part that follows you for the rest of your career. Some actors like Roger Moore and Timothy Dalton never recovered from being stereotyped as the suave secret agent while others have thrived. It could also have had something to do with the women that would have been pursuing the man in the tuxedo that she may not have wanted to deal with.

At the very least, knowing that Liam Neeson was almost the famous secret agent puts into perspective why we keep thinking he would have been perfect for the role as we see him kicking ass and taking names in movies like TAKEN and NON-STOP. Now if only someone would dream up a similar character and grab Neeson before he hits 70.

Source: Hull Daily Mail

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Alex Maidy has been a editor, columnist, and critic since 2012. A Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic and a member of Chicago Indie Critics, Alex has been's primary TV critic and ran columns including Top Ten and The UnPopular Opinion. When not riling up fans with his hot takes, Alex is an avid reader and aspiring novelist.