liam neeson james bond
Liam Neeson has made a name for himself in recent years as the go-to tough guy for action-packed blockbusters, including "Taken," "The Grey," and most recently "Non-Stop." But while Neeson's success in that genre marks a bit of a latter-day career revitalization for the formerly more-serious star, the actor has revealed that he once had a shot at one of the biggest action franchises of all time: "James Bond."

In an interview with the U.K.'s Hull Daily Mail, Neeson said that in the era when Pierce Brosnan ultimately landed the 007 role, Neeson himself was in demand for the part -- but according to the actor, he had one very important reason for turning it down.

"I was heavily courted, let's put it that way, and I'm sure some other actors were too," Neeson said. "It was about 18 or 19 years ago and my wife-to-be [Natasha Richardson] 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 indeed passed on the part, and went on to marry Richardson (who died in 2009 following a tragic skiing accident). And while many actors may wonder "what if" when thinking of such a big career opportunity, Neeson told the Daily Mail that he doesn't have any regrets about his choice, and that he's enjoying making lots of movies now, including nine in 2013 alone.

"I'm keeping busy, which is thrilling," he said. "I love to work."

[h/t The Playlist]

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categories Movies