Over the weekend, we got the sad news that legendary actor Sean Connery has passed away. The guy lived a long wonderful life and he left behind a legacy of great films that audiences and fans will continue to be able to enjoy in the years to come.
One of my favorite Sean Connery films is Micheal Bay’s The Rock. I had just watched that movie while visiting my mom a day before learning that Connery had died. That was definitely a hard blow to take.
Director Michael Bay has now written a tribute to the actor that was posted by THR and in his tribute, he shares a couple of stories about working with Connery on The Rock. He starts out saying:
He was a legend. We all have a few teachers in our careers. The ones that imprint something special on your being. Teachers that you haven’t seen in 20 years, but you still remember their wisdom like yesterday. Sean Connery was one of those for me.
I was young-dumb, doing my second movie, The Rock. I had heard he was notoriously tough on directors. I was terrified when I gave him my first direction: “Uh, Sean can you please do that less charming.” He said, “Sure, boy!” “Boy” was the nickname he gave me.
Bay then went on to share what it was like working with Connery the first day that he was on the set of The Rock:
Sean was notoriously thrifty and practical. I will never forget that first day he was on set, I shot a coin that helps Mason escape. We used a fake quarter from a Hollywood magic shop, triple in size, attached to a rod that I spun in front of the lens. I was laying down on the floor below Sean’s chair, spinning the quarter. I felt so stupid. This man had done 75 movies, and I didn’t think he was going to let me get this silly film school shot. And then I looked up at him. I will never forget the amazing James Bond smile he gave me in approval. He taught me so much about acting and the craft.
The director then went on to share a funny story of how Connery helped him out with some Disney executives who weren’t happy that the film was a couple of days over schedule:
The Rock. Car chase: Sean driving and I’m alone filming him. He slams the brakes; my head hits the window. He says, “You OK?” I say, “No, the Disney folks are here to kick my butt for being two days over schedule.” Sean, with that sly look, says, “You want me to help?” Cut to: Having lunch with the Disney execs in a third-grade classroom, sitting at tiny tables and chairs. We looked like giants. I announce that Mr. Connery would like to visit and say hi. Sean comes in, sits down across from the open-mouthed executives.
In classic Sean Connery style, he belts out in his Scottish brogue: “This boy is doing a good job, and you’re living in your Disney Fucking Ivory Tower and we need more fucking money!!” Without missing a beat, they responded. “OK. How much?”
He did it because he loved movies. He loved excellence and doing the best he could. His work ethic was bar none, the best I’ve ever experienced.
Harrison Ford also paid tribute to the actor, who he shared the screen with in Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade. Ford told Variety:
“He was my father…not in life…but in ‘Indy 3’. You don’t know pleasure until someone pays you to take Sean Connery for a ride in the side car of a Russian motorcycle bouncing along a bumpy, twisty mountain trail and getting to watch him squirm. God, we had fun — if he’s in heaven, I hope they have golf courses. Rest in peace, dear friend.”
Connery is one of those actors that I’ve seriously missed seeing in the movies since he retired. I hoped that we might get to see him come out of retirement at some point for a movie, but it never happened. It’s ok, though, because we can always go back to watch his older films to remind us of his badassery.