Liam Neeson tells James Corden he was very nearly James Bond

Liam Neeson

Liam Neeson has revealed he almost became James Bond before the iconic role was eventually given to Pierce Brosnan.

Neeson told the story as a guest on the Late Late Show with James Corden.

He joined British host Corden by video link and the pair discussed exercise and workout routines before Neeson told the surprising story.

The Ballymena actor said: “Yeah, they approached me, I believe it was a couple of calls from Barbara Broccoli, who’s now the main producer of the Bond films.

“This was after I had done Schindler’s List, which was 26 years ago. But I wasn’t offered it. I know they were looking at various actors and I, apparently, was among them.”

Although, Neeson was never officially offered the role, he was certainly in contention.

However, he withdrew his name from consideration after a discussion with his late wife Natasha.

The Taken star explained: “However, my dear departed wife did say to me – we were doing a movie together in South Carolina – and she says, “Darling, if you’re offered James Bond, and you’re going to play it, you’re not going to marry me.”’

On that conversation his career took a turn, and although he never played the suave British secret agent, he definitely landed plenty of iconic roles.

The part of James Bond was eventually given to Irish actor Pierce Brosnan. He did a great job in the role and played 007 for five movies beginning with GoldenEye in 1995 and ending with Die Another Day in 2002.

Daniel Craig has held the role of James Bond since then, starring in five films from Casino Royale in 2004 to No Time to Die in 2021.

There is much speculation about who will be selected next to play the iconic British spy with Irish star Cillian Murphy one of the actors being linked with the role.

Although Neeson never got to play the famous character, he has no regrets. He went on to play several fictional and real-life heroes in his career, such as Greek God Zeus, and Irish republican Michael Collins.

Tragically, Neeson’s wife Natasha passed away in 2009 aged just 45 after a skiing accident.

However, the actor remembers fondly their time together, and joked that he would always bring up the decision not to play James Bond when they got into an argument.

He laughed and struck the classic James Bond pose and said: “Any time we had arguments after that, I would always go up to her and go dum de de dum dum (the James Bond theme song).”

Take a look for yourself below. Neeson also reveals that he was taught to drive by Dame Helen Mirren.