On Sean Connery’s Contentious Relationship with James Bond
Veteran Hollywood reporter Peter Bart recently reflected on an interview he had with Sean Connery back in November 1966 on his relationship with the James Bond franchise where he noted the late actor’s “fiercely intense character.”
Bart said he felt that none of the recent tributes to the late actor authentically captured the kind of man Connery was and how he saw his relationship with Bond. “He felt angry. He felt exploited,” said Bart by the kind of shallow materialism Connery felt the films promoted, as he explained: “The Bond pictures have become like comic strips dependent on bigger and better gimmicks. That’s all that sustains them.” He said he was also disturbed by “[finding] himself surrounded by Bond licensed products — attaché cases, toys, even underwear.” Connery added, “There are even dolls with spikes that protrude from their shoes. It’s a lot of rubbish.”
Feeling frustrated by the work he needed to survive in Hollywood, Connery tried to distance himself from the Bond franchise “by playing a hard-drinking failed poet in a small movie appropriately titled A Fine Madness” after having completed his fourth Bond film Thunderball the prior year, 1965. “Most important, he was determined to sign off on the Bond franchise and prepare to direct his first play” says Bart.
Bart further reflected that “Connery made it clear he still was dedicated to his acting career, which is why he’d accepted the lead role in A Fine Madness, directed by Irvin Kerschner. It had opened badly to mixed reviews, but he had relished playing ‘the sort of unorthodox individual society loves to suffocate.’”
At some point, Bart had to ask: “Would there be more Bonds for him?”
“A look of resignation” crossing his face, Connery replied “The negotiations will be difficult. I am fighting for time as well as for money. A Bond picture takes six months. I want time to fit in other things that mean more to me.” One of the most important things for him was the play, though he never had the chance to direct it. Sadly many successful actors feel unfulfilled by the shallowness of their art and struggle to take their careers in a more personally satisfying direction.
On October 31st, Sean Connery passed away peacefully in his sleep at the age of 90 after a long and illustrious career in film.
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