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1. May 2013 07:05
by m
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Scene by Scene with Sean Connery

1. May 2013 07:05 by m | 0 Comments

In 1997, Mark Cousins interviewed Sean Connery for the BBC TV Show Scene by Scene. Some of this interview also made it into his book, Scene by Scene: Film Actors and Directors Discuss Their Work.

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(Video provided by Benjamin Lind as part of his Golden Jubilee project.)

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The beach and casino scenes in Dr. NoDr. No (1962)

Sean Connery (Actor)

15TH MARCH 1997, COUSINS' APARTMENT. EDINBURGH

MARK COUSINS: In 1962. you became a superstar.

SEAN CONNERY: This sounds Like This ls Your Life!

MC: You became James Bond (Fig.6) or as the Italians called him. "Mr Kiss Kiss. Bang Bang." How early did you realise what size of phenomenon Bond would become?

SC: Well. I had no idea, as I'd never been there before. It was the same for the ensuing twenty years. I had no awareness of that scale of reverence and pressure and what have you. It was around tho same time as the Beatles, the difference being that they had four of them to kick it around and blame each other.

I made as many mistakes as anybody in dealing with the situation, because I never had a press representative or anything. I found It all a bit of a nightmare to deal with, but eventually I evolved to deal with it. In my own way.

MC: Let's look at a clip from the first Bond movie. Dr. NoDr. No.

[James Bond (Connery) has successfully made his way to Crab Key. the private island or Dr No.

On the Idyllic beach a woman's voice is humming “Underneath the Mango Tree.']

SC: Oh. with Ursula! (smiles)
[Bond hears it and looks for the singer. Honey Ryder (Ursula Andress), in a beige bikini, comes out of the sea] (Fig.l)

MC: It’s a dream sequence, isn't it?

[As Honey sings to herself, she drops one of the shells she's been gathering.]

SC: (watching) She's still as beautiful, actually, Ursula. I still see her when I go to Rome.

[She inspects her shells. Bond, amused, watches her, in close-up.]

BOND: (singing) Underneath tho mango tree, my honey and me...

[His song startles her.]

HONEY: Who’s that?!

SCi I didn't retire on the royalties of the rocord!

MC: In your close-up. were you actually looking at her?

SC: Yes. In fact, I remember that Dr. NoDr. No was a very, very poverty stricken production in terms of finance.

MC: $1 million.

SC: Less than that, because the dollar was devalued at the time, so it came under. And in that very sequence, I remember Harry Saltzman and Cubby Broccoli (producers) were even out with spades, when we were trying to take the sand up the beach. We didn't
have the kind of expensive equipment that you would fly in and out, so we were hand-moving the sand. That's how much money we had.

MC: What did tho film-makers do to you and what did you do to yourself to turn into Bond? First of all let’s talk about visual things.

SC: The most important element in the whole Bond series, apart from Fleming who had written the stuff, was Terence Young (Flg.3). the director of this picture. Terence really had identified very much with the grand seigneur, the elegant backgammon. Turnbull & Asser. He took me on a trip to get our clothes and it was an eye-opener. The clothes budget was astronomical in proportion to the film, but he was right, to insist that the shoes were made by Lobbs; no cufflinks (Fig.2), special fold-back buttons, and I used a small Windsor knot (Fig.4).

And equally we shared a similar sense of humour.

ThunderballThunderball (1965)

[James Bond opens a bathroom door. A girl is bathing in the tub.]

GIRL: Oh!
BOND: Hello.
GIRL: Aren’t you In the wrong room. Mr Bond?
BOND; Not from where I'm standing.
GIRL: Since you are here, would you mind giving me something to put on?
[Bond lifts a pair of mules and hands them to her.]

SC: Strangely enough, there’s a lack of humour in Fleming’s writing. He was quite dour about that, but very bright, very erudite, a real snob.

MC: And he introduced you to Noël Coward?

SC: Yes, well, Noël at that time was living on Jamaica too. It's the only time I've ever been. I never got back again. Noël was asked to play Dr. NoDr. No and he was very funny about it. I became very friendly with Noël too.

MC: And what did you learn from him? Eloquence? Mannerisms?

8C1 No, Terence was more the Influence on that, knowing what we were going for, without going over the top. He wanted to keep It real, the threat of it all, the sexuality, the jokes and the physicallty. It was coming in the wake of kitchen sink drama and so we wanted to have something that was still backgammon, Chemin de Fer, good food, beautiful girls, marvellous cars and luxurious locations.

Dr. NoDr. No

(Bond escorts a red-dressed woman through a casino.]

BOND: Tell me Miss Trench, do you play any other games besides Chemin da Fer?

MC: Why was Bond so popular?
8C: Well, he was popular with men and women, which is unusual. But anyone who says that he knew that it was going to be one of those immeasurable successes is lying.

MG: Looking back. It seems that Bond was successful because he was such a free character. The only authority figure in his life was M. He was totally at liberty to indulge his senses.

SC: Well that’s true, but then he had the other side, his diligence, running and getting fit. yoghurt and not smoking so many cigarettes. And I feel my criticism, if there is one, about where it’s gone, is that it’s too politically oorrect, not quite dirty enough, not quite rough enough.

MC: Do you mean the Judl Dench bit in GoldeneyeGoldeneye (1995) where she says. "Bond, you’re a sexist, misogynist dinosaur?"

SC: (laughs) Well, a bit of that. Something's missing that gave a little bit of spice at no cost. They started to get a little antiseptic.

MC: And then Bond escalated and you changed your contract with Broccoli and Saltzman so that you could do non-Bond fllms, but they had to be with them. Why?

SC: Well, a few reasons, apart from their greed. There was the problem of trying to accommodate another movie. If you are doing a Bond film and you have another movie coming up, the Bond producers have first call. If the Bond picture overran, the next Job fell through. That’s why I changed it.

[Source: Scene by Scene: Film Actors and Directors Discuss Their Work, by Mark Cousins, P. 68-71]

 
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