IndieWire's Craft and Animation Editor, the author of "James Bond Unmasked," recalls his rare 2002 interview with Connery.
As early as 2002, I had the wild idea of bringing all five Bond actors together for a tribute article for the 40th anniversary of Variety, which was later expanded into further reporting with the arrival of Daniel Craig as the sixth 007. But the first thing I was told about was of course forgetting to get Sean Connery – he never talks about Bond. I said “never say never” and through a combination of persistence, patience and luck I got Connery in Prague on the set of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. ”
With the death of Sir Sean Connery, the actor who invented Bond on screen and redefined manhood (a more dangerous Cary Grant), it turned out that my 30-minute conversation was his last sweeping memory of 007: “You were exciting and funny and had good stories and beautiful girls and fascinating locations, ”he said of his six official and one off-franchise appearances. "And it wasn't something that could be taken for granted."
Connery was open, in a good mood, and proud of Bond and his legacy. There was none of the bitterness that was often shown in his post-Bond interviews, except when it came to his salary. "Aside from the payment, which was childish, it brought in a lot of sci-fi stuff (related to" You Only Live Twice "in" 67, his penultimate franchise appearance). "
When asked why Bond called “Dr. No ”in '62, especially in the UK, Connery replied that the franchise offered a way out of the bleak“ kitchen sink ”dramas of the late 1950s:“ It was refreshing and had a style when it wasn't. "It didn't cost anything because we only had a million to take the picture," he said. Also, the main ingredient was humor, which went well with the constant threat of death as a defense mechanism. "Well, I took it seriously on one level. You had to be threatening, you had to be strong enough to do all of these things," he added. “Or old enough to do it. And humor was an element that was missing from Fleming's books themselves. "
Courtesy of the Everett Collection
Perhaps the biggest surprise was how much recognition Connery received from director Terence Young (“Dr. No”, “From Russia with Love”, “Thunderball”) for informing him about his role as Bond. In fact, the Debonair Young was the true creator of the on-screen Bond role that shaped the raw, raw, yet charismatic Scottish actor, 31. "Terence's contributions have been enormous because he's always been a great bon vivant. He was very up to date on shirts and blazers and was very elegant himself – whether he had money or not – and all the clubs and those kinds of things Facility.
"And he also understood what looked good – the right cut of suits and all that stuff I have to say wasn't that interesting to me," said Connery. "But he got me a clothes rack and could, as they say, make me look convincingly dangerous while playing."
Connery had the most fun with the first three films – “Dr. No. “From Russia with Love,” his personal favorite, and “Goldfinger,” who introduced him to his lifelong love of golf – but then playing Bond became a burden. "Well, after you did the first two, you just moved on because the rules were set," he said. “You've done less and less, so to speak, because up to a point you've done what was expected of you and whatever. I think if someone, maybe Timothy (Dalton), made the mistake of thinking that it would be easier than it is. You have to work very hard to make something look simple. The movement, the fights and whatever are certain absurd situations. "
Long live Bond. Without Connery, it certainly wouldn't have lasted that long. But did Connery think Bond could take it? "No, I haven't," he said. "And anyone who says they did it is a liar."