Much has been written about late actor Sean Connery’s seminal impact on pop culture through the decades. Far and away the most popular role the actor essayed was as James Bond, with many still considering him the greatest portrayal of Agent 007 ever put to film. In a Deadline article, journalist Peter Bart reveals that Sean Connery had a decidedly less enthusiastic take on the spy franchise that he had helped launch into the stratosphere, as Bart recalls from what Connery told him back in 1966 after the actor had done four Bond movies.
“The Bond pictures have become like comic strips dependent on bigger and better gimmicks. That’s all that sustains them. More exasperating, [Connery] said, was that, wherever he went he found himself surrounded by Bond licensed products – attach&é cases, toys, even underwear. “There are even dolls with spikes that protrude from their shoes. It’s a lot of rubbish.”
True to his word, after finishing work on his fourth James Bond movie Thunderball, Connery pounced on the chance to play against type in A Fine Madness, directed by Irvin Kerschner. Despite the movie opening to lukewarm reviews, the actor relished the chance to play “the sort of unorthodox individual society loves to suffocate.” When Bart asked Connery if he would ever return to the James Bond franchise, the actor’s response was less-than-enthusiastic.
“A look of resignation crossed [Connery’s] face. “The negotiations will be difficult. I am fighting for time as well as for money,” he said. “A Bond picture takes six months. I want time to fit in other things that mean more to me.”
After Thunderball, Connery returned to the Bond franchise a few more times with You Only Live Twice, Diamonds are Forever, and finally Never Say Never Again. Despite the actor’s personal reservations about partaking in the franchise, his portrayal of Bond has long remained the gold standard that other actors who take on the role have been measured against, something that future Bond actor Pierce Brosnan acknowledged in his tribute to the late actor.
“Sir Sean Connery, you were my greatest James Bond as a boy, and as a man who became James Bond himself. You cast a long shadow of cinematic splendor that will live on forever. You led the way for us all who followed in your iconic footsteps. Each man in his turn looked to you with reverence and admiration as we forged ahead with our own interpretations of the role.”
While the shadow cast by his Bond character was long, Connery did manage to avoid getting typecast thanks to his work with critically acclaimed filmmakers of his day. Connery’s performances in Alfred Hitchcock’s Marnie and Sidney Lumet’s The Hill are widely considered among his best roles.
The success of 1986’s The Name of the Rose and Highlander was a career resurgence of sorts for Connery as an elder statesman of Hollywood who became an ideal casting choice to play older authority figures. Of those kinds of roles, perhaps the best remembered is when Connery played the character of Indiana Jones’ father, Henry Jones, Sr. This news comes from Deadline.