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“You Don’t Want Me”: Christopher Nolan Reveals Why Liam Neeson Initially Refused To Play Ra’s Al Ghul In ‘Batman Begins’

Christopher Nolan had a lot riding on ‘Batman Begins.’ DC’s most prized IP has a history of more failures than successes, but Nolan’s gamble of a more realistic Batman story worked out well. One of the film’s highlights was Liam Neeson as Ra’s al Ghul. But the ‘Taken’ actor wasn’t even interested. 


Years later, Christopher Nolan talked about how Neeson was overwhelmed by the character’s infinite intellect. But instead of moving on, Nolan was attracted to Neeson’s nervousness. He stuck with him, and together they created one of the most complex DCU villains and the most exciting Batman movies in a long time.

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Liam Neeson’s Hesistation In Playing Ra’s Al Ghul In ‘Batman Begins’ 

Ra's al Ghul in Christopher Nolan's 'Batman Begins'
Ra’s al Ghul in Christopher Nolan’s ‘Batman Begins’

Liam Neeson played Ra’s al Ghul in Christopher Nolan’s ‘Batman Begins.’ Neeson’s character is an influential father figure to a disillusioned Bruce Wayne, training him in mental and physical disciplines. Despite brilliantly playing this sophisticated antagonist, Liam Neeson had his doubts. 


Christopher Nolan remembers Neeson refusing the role initially, “I still remember meeting, I think it was Liam Neeson for a part in Batman Begins, and he immediately started recommending other actors, saying no, no, no, you don’t want me… I didn’t quite know what goes into that thinking on the part of a great actor,” 

The ‘Inception’ filmmaker added, “I don’t know if anything makes you more excited to work with that person because you see a sense of modesty about them, you see a sense of nervousness in a way, and that’s the kind of collaborative person that you want to collaborate with.”

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Liam Neeson On Passing On The Chance To Play James Bond 

Natasha Richarson and Liam Neeson
Natasha Richarson and Liam Neeson

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Liam Neeson talked about walking away from another iconic part. Throughout the ’90s, the ‘James Bond’ producers wanted Neeson to carry the license to kill. But ultimately, it came to Neeson’s wife Natasha Richardson’s request- it was her or the part!

Keenly aware of James Bond’s womanizing persona, Richardson had no desire to see her husband bring such a character with dubious morals to life. The ‘Schindler’s List’ actor recalled, “She gave me a James Bond ultimatum. And she meant it! Come on, there’s all those gorgeous girls in various countries getting into bed and getting out of bed. I’m sure a lot of her decision-making was based on that!”

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Shaurya Thakur
Shaurya Thakurhttps://firstcuriosity.com/
Shaurya Thakur is a Content Writer at First Curiosity, who, in his personal time, is writing the greatest "overcoming post-academic slump existential crises" story. His current obsessions are John Cassavetes and Jack Kerouac; musically, he belongs to Arctic Monkeys and Franz Ferdinand.