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HomeEntertainmentLiam Neeson Reveals Why Natasha Richardson Didn’t Want Him Playing James Bond

Liam Neeson Reveals Why Natasha Richardson Didn’t Want Him Playing James Bond

Liam Neeson has a certain set of skills, but talking about women seems to be one he occasionally flubs.

The “Taken” star — who was flabbergasted by the idea of taking a pay cut so a female co-lead could get a raise — explained to Rolling Stone in an interview published Monday why he turned down the role of James Bond in 1995’s “GoldenEye.”

Neeson explained to the magazine that he was “offered” the role along with numerous other actors. But when he mentioned this to his late wife of 15 years, Natasha Richardson (who died in 2009 after a skiing accident at Mont Tremblant in Quebec), Neeson said she gave him a “James Bond ultimatum.”

“My lovely wife, 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.’ 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 shit! [Laughs]”

Which, admittedly, is very cute. But things took a weird turn when Neeson explained why he thought his late wife didn’t want him playing the iconic role.

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

Richardson and Neeson at New York City’s Lincoln Center in 2008.

Joe Corrigan via Getty Images

Neeson and Richardson did seem to have a very happy relationship — and he has kept her memory alive with a lot of sweet anecdotes about their time together.

In a 2016 episode on Sirius XM’s “My Favourite Song,” Neeson revealed that Richardson had serenaded him at their wedding in 1994 with Van Morrison’s “Crazy Love.”

“Behind my back, Natasha had been taking singing lessons to sing it to me,” he said. “After the ceremony, we were all going in to start the night’s festivities, and she grabbed the microphone, and she sang me this. I was like, ‘Wow.’”

The “Marlowe” star has also been extremely open about the grief he experienced after her sudden death.

“There’s periods now in our New York residence when I hear the door opening, especially the first couple of years … any time I hear that door opening, I still think I’m going to hear her,” Neeson told Anderson Cooper on “60 Minutes” in 2014.

Later on, in his Rolling Stone interview, Neeson admitted that he did not “know how to answer” a question regarding how he stayed afloat in the aftermath of Richardson’s death.

“Life goes on. Natasha’s mother, Vanessa [Redgrave], and her sister [Joely Richardson] kind of moved in, and I had a wonderful assistant, Joanna,” he told the magazine. “People just came to help, you know? In a big way. And I’ll never, ever forget that.”

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