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Why Liam Neeson Turned Down the Role of James Bond

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 (Reuters)

Movie-goers are well aware of Liam Neeson's most memorable roles, including Oskar Schindler in "Schindler's List" or Bryan Mills in "Taken." But if fate had taken a different turn a few decades back, Neeson might be well-known for another role altogether: Bond. James Bond.

In an interview with the Hull Daily Mail, the Irish actor revealed that he was once in talks to play the iconic British Secret Service agent, previously made famous by such actors as Sean Connery and Roger Moore.

"I was heavily courted, let’s put it that way," said Neeson. "And I’m sure some other actors were too. 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." (Neeson is speaking of wife Natasha Richardson, who died as the result of a tragic skiing accident in 2009.)

Given the time frame, it's safe to assume that Pierce Brosnan went on to nab the role Neeson declined, most likely in 1995's "GoldenEye."

Neeson, however, didn't miss out on becoming an action star. He's already headlined the successful "Taken" films as well as "The A-Team" and "The Grey," and at the age of 61, he's currently starring in "Non-Stop" alongside actresses Julianne Moore, Lupita Nyong'o and Michelle Dockery.

In fact, there's really only one role that he wishes he had nabbed: the lead in the recent Robert Redford film "All Is Lost."

"That’s the only thing recently where I thought, 'Oh I would have loved to have played that part,' he told the Hull Daily Mail. "Mr Redford was wonderful and it’s a terrific film, but I did feel a little pang of, you know, jealousy."

To read more of Neeson's interview, visit the Hull Daily Mail.