The world lost a legend this past weekend when actor Sean Connery passed away on Halloween morning. Here’s the thing about legends, though, they really never die because those who love them continue to share their stories.
Recently while sharing a tribute to the late actor, THE ROCK filmmaker Michael Bay revealed a hilarious story that involves Connery using his charisma to get the director out of a tight spot with a group of Disney executives. It all happened while Bay and Connery were filming THE ROCK, Bay’s second film. As you’re likely to know, The Rock stars Connery opposite Nicolas Cage, as John Patrick Mason, a federal prisoner known for being the only Alcatraz inmate ever to escape the island.
The way Bay tells it, Connery went to bat for the director in a big way during the making of the film.
Per Bay’s tribute to Sean Connery:
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.
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.
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It’s at this point in his letter that Bay shares the story of how Connery stepped up to a group of Disney executives, essentially telling them to “put up or shut up” when it comes to the making of The Rock:
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 3rd-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.
The full tribute can be found on THR.
I’m not going to lie. If Sean Connery demanded that I get my act together, you can bet that I’d shape up real quick. I can only imagine how Bay felt on that fateful afternoon, the day that would forever be remembered as the one when Sean Connery laid the smackdown on starch-shirted Disney goons. As time marches on, I’m certain that we’ll be hearing more stories about how awesome Sean Connery was during his days of Hollywood hijinks. If we find any worth sharing, you can bet that we’ll do just that.