I "had to take [Richardson's ultimatum] on board because I did want to marry her," said Liam.
Liam Neeson told Rolling Stone that he did not seriously consider portraying the role of 007 in the 1995 film GoldenEye because of his late wife, Natasha Richardson. While talking to Rolling Stone about his new movie Marlowe in an interview published on February 20, Neeson, 70, clarified that he "was not offered James Bond," but had considered the possibility of taking on the iconic spy role until Richardson, whom he married in 1994, gave her views on it, per PEOPLE.
"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 told the outlet. "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.' "
"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]," he added. "I loved doing that s***!" The Taken star went on to say that Richardson delivered him "a James Bond ultimatum" regarding the part.
"And she meant it! Come on, there's all those gorgeous girls in various countries getting into bed and getting out of bed," Neeson told Rolling Stone, laughing. "I'm sure a lot of her decision-making was based on that!"
Richardson and Neeson were married for 16 years before she died in 2009 at the age of 45 of blunt force trauma after falling while skiing at Quebec's Mont Tremblant, Canada. She and Neeson had two sons together. Micheál Richardson, 27, is an actor who goes by his mother's surname. Daniel Neeson, 26, is a fashion designer and entrepreneur.
Neeson has referred to the "James Bond ultimatum" in the past as well, most notably in a 2014 interview in which he said he "had to take [Richardson's ultimatum] on board because I did want to marry her," as per The Independent.
Recalling the ultimatum, Neeson said elsewhere in the Rolling Stone interview that he did not "know how to answer" a question regarding how he managed to keep going in the aftermath of Richardson's death. "It was such a freak accident...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 outlet. "People just came to help, you know? In a big way. And I'll never, ever forget that."
Neeson's new movie Marlowe is in the theaters now.
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Chung Sung-Jun