10 Strangest Reasons Actors Turned Down Famous Movie Roles

9. Liam Neeson's Wife Wouldn't Marry Him If He Took The Part - GoldenEye

Tom Cruise Edward Scissorhands
Fox & MGM

The Role

Only the most iconic super-spy in the history of fiction - 007 himself, James freakin' Bond. After initially planning to succeed Roger Moore as Bond in 1986, Pierce Brosnan finally won the part almost a decade later, making his debut as the character in 1995's terrific GoldenEye.

Before settling on Brosnan, though, the part was offered to numerous actors who turned it down for a variety of reasons, including Mel Gibson, Hugh Grant, and Liam Neeson.

While Gibson and Grant were obvious casting misfires from the jump, Neeson's refusal is a little more surprising.

Why He Turned It Down

Despite being the perfect age and touting the requisite suaveness for the role, and by his own claim being "heavily courted" for it, Neeson said no for one unexpected reason: his fiancee Natasha Richardson wouldn't marry him if he accepted it. He said:

"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."

Hilariously, Neeson added in a more recent interview, "Women. Foreign countries. Halle Berry. It's understandable."

It's certainly a most unexpected reason for an actor to walk away from one of the most lucrative gigs in the business, but if nothing else, it's a testament to how desperately he wanted to marry his late wife.


Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.