James Bond can have any woman in the world, except for one to hear Liam Neeson tell it. That’s because when he was up for the role at one point, his wife said he could have the gadgets and guns but not the girl. That’s because she’d leave him.
Neeson opened up on Late Late Show with James Corden Friday about what happened after he started getting calls from Bond producer Barbara Broccoli.
“But I wasn’t offered it. I know they were looking at various actors, and I apparently was among them,” Neeson noted. “However, my dear, departed wife did say to me … ‘Darling, if you’re offered James Bond and you’re going to play it, you’re not going to marry me.’”
Liam Neeson doesn’t say in the interview when producers courted him for the role. But he told Men’s Journal that producers spoke to him in the mid-1990s, which is the heart of the Pierce Brosnan-Bond era.
“I was being considered,” Neeson says. “I’m sure they were considering a bunch of other guys, too.”
He said he would have loved to pay Bond, but he loved his wife too much, and she had some sage advice for him as well.
“Women. Foreign countries. Halle Berry. It’s understandable,” Also, he had just played Oskar Schindler in Schindler’s List. “She was like, ‘You’re going to ruin your career,’ ” Neeson told the magazine. “But it’s no big deal. It’s nice to be inquired after.”
Liam Neeson Discusses His Wife’s Death
Liam Neeson married Natasha Richardson in 1994. They had two children.
Neeson hasn’t spoken much about what happened to Richardson or how she died in 2009. But the details are disturbing. The family was on a skiing trip when she went off course and hit her head on a tree.
The accident was tragic. Doctors told Liam Neeson that she was effectively brain dead when she collided with the tree.
“(Doctors told me) she was brain dead. And seeing this X-ray it was, like, ‘Wow.’ But obviously she was on life support and stuff,” Neesom told 60 Minutes.
“And I went in to her and told her I loved her. Said, ‘Sweetie, you’re not coming back from this. You’ve banged your head. It’s – I don’t know if you can hear me, but that’s – this is what’s gone down. And we’re bringing ya back to New York. All your family and friends will come.’ And that was more or less it.”
Neeson told Men’s Journal he tries to stay busy to cope with losing the love of his life.
“I need to work,” he says. “I am a working-class Irishman. I’m f***ing lucky: A stranger gets in touch with my agent and says, ‘Could you send Liam Neeson a script?’ I’m still flattered by that. So I’ll keep doing it till the knees give up. It beats hiding in a basement in eastern Aleppo.”