Who would pass up the chance to be James Bond?
Who wouldn't want to be James Bond? Well it turns out there are a few in Hollywood who just weren't that enamoured with putting on a suit and become 007. Liam Neeson has just confessed that he turned down the role in order to marry wife Natasha Richardson, but what other Hollywood stars also gave Bond a no and WHY?
Liam Neeson could have played James Bond
In 1994 Liam Neeson was approached to play James Bond, at the time the story went that he didn't want to do action movies, coincidently he now does a lot of action movies. Instead he stuck to more serious dramas like Schindler’s List, however now Neeson has admitted the real reason for turning down the part. The actor told the Hull Daily Mail, "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."
Way back in the beginning when the original Bond was being cast Cary Grant was approached for the role. Despite being one of the suavest men ever to grace the big screen, Cary who was 58 at the time felt he was simply too old for the role. The part was of course then given to Sean Connery.
Another choice for the original Bond was Richard Burton, he was considered for the role three times, in 1959, 1961, 1968. Originally his concern was that the whole Bond concept was just too risky, but later the actor allegedly wanted more money than the producers were willing to pay.
You may know him as TV’s Batman but Adam West could have also added James Bond to resume in 1970. The actor was courted for the role in ‘Diamonds are Forever’ but turned it down because he believed Bond should be British. We must say Adam, we agree!
Batman as Bond? Christian Bale
Batman had another chance at becoming Bond when Christian Bale was considered for the role. His former publicist would later allege in a 2012 book that he turned down the role because of his dislike for the 007 character, believing it represented 'every despicable stereotype about England and British actors’. Surely not Christian.
Liam Neeson is not the only Irish actor to be asked to become 007. Colin Farrell was on the shortlist back in 2004 before Daniel Craig was cast. Colin himself wasn't keen on the idea and didn't feel audiences would want him as Bond.
What about an Australian Bond? Another name in the running to replace Pierce Brosnan was Hugh Jackman. Jackman was reportedly offered the part but realised that the curse of Bond is that, well your always Bond. He told The Hollywood Reporter in 2011, "I thought it would box me in too much, my natural instinct is to keep as many doors open as possible." It worked out he got to be Wolverine and sing in 'Les Miserables'.
Ewan McGregor could have followed Sean Connery’s steps as the next Scottish Bond. Instead he chose to follow Hugh Jackman and turn down the role due to typecasting concerns.
Ewan McGregor didnt want typecasting as Bond
Could you imagine Burt Reynolds playing James Bond? Well back in 1970 someone could, and Burt was offered the part. Much like Adam West though, Burt too felt that Bond must be British. He has since admitted that he is still haunted by the decision saying in 2005 ‘in the middle of the night, you hear me wake up in this cold sweat going, 'Bond, James Bond.’
Filied alongside Burt Reynolds in the really? category is 'Dirty Harry' actor Clint Eastwood. Eastwood was approached in 1970 for the part and turned it down. Guess why…because he thought Bond should be British.
Better off as a villian? Ralph Fiennes
Ralph was considered twice for the role, 1994 when producers felt he wasn’t a big enough star yet and then in 2004 when he couldn't commit to filming scheduling. Ralph however was able to add a Bond movie to his CV, when he played M in 2012’s ‘Skyfall’.