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Liam Neeson Shoots Down A Popular James Bond Rumor About Him And Pierce Brosnan

Often when discussing the ‘90s era history of James Bond movies, Liam Neeson’s name has been circulated at one point or another as having been a potential candidate during that time. That sort of speculation is as easy to believe, as his particular set of acting skills would have been welcome in the void left after Timothy Dalton’s Bond duology had concluded. 

Being both a fan of Liam Neeson and the Bond legacy, I took the opportunity to ask the actor about whether or not he pined for what could have been. This was especially pertinent, as we were both sitting down for an interview to promote his latest film, Memory, which is directed by GoldenEye’s Martin Campbell and starred Pierce Brosnan as James Bond. Here's how Neeson let the world down gently:

No, not really. Journalists in the past have said, ‘Oh, I believe you were offered James Bond?’ I wasn’t offered James Bond. The Broccolis were looking at various actors, I was included, this is many years ago. And then Pierce was offered it, and rightfully so. I wasn’t offered it, I was one of quite a few actors they all saw, you know.

To be fair, Neeson did admit he was considered as a potential 007, around the time that GoldenEye saw itself needing a new James Bond. However, that story was caveated with the fact that he was never offered the role officially, which should have put the matter to bed for most. That being said, it sounds like Liam Neeson felt the need to fully set the record straight about his potential competition with Pierce Brosnan.

One official party who could have attested to the lack of any further movement on Neeson’s hypothetical tuxedo fittings is Martin Campbell. As the Memory director helped reinvent James Bond with the start of Pierce Brosnan’s 007 era, he’d be the type of person you’d think would be able to give a deeper insight into how close Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson may have come to making a firm offer. However, as Campbell admitted in our interview together, the Liam Neeson train was already out of the station by time he signed on:

This must have been before that, because I don’t ever remember him…he’d obviously turned it down before I came into the picture. He must have done, because at the time, even though we sort of went around the world meeting other people and so forth, in the back of our heads Pierce was it. And we sort of ended up where we started. Liam probably turned it down before that, but he would have made a great Bond. He would have been terrific at that time.

Thinking back on Liam Neeson’s comments about his alleged connection to the James Bond franchise, this draws into question that other time he was rumored to have been up to play 007. As the battle for the rights to SPECTRE saw producer Kevin McClory trying to mount a remake entitled Warhead 2000, Neeson’s name was one of those that’s been thrown around over time as having been on the list. We’ll just have to chalk that up as another what if that just might have been more smoke than signatures.

A fresh batch of Liam Neeson action and intrigue await in the psychological thriller Memory, which is currently showing only in theaters. For a look at the competition for this weekend, and every week to come in 2022, the upcoming movies roster is your tool to surveying the playing field. 

Mike Reyes
Mike Reyes

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.