The Shadow of 007

Yejin Lee ’23

Sean Connery, a Scottish actor best known for his role as James Bond during his 70-year acting career, recently passed away. Publicist Nancy Seltzer reported that “His wife Micheline and his two sons, Jason and Stephane have confirmed that he died peacefully in his sleep surrounded by family” (Smith-Spark). 

As one of the world’s most popular actors, he is remembered as a man who has changed and sculpted a new filming style and era. Daniel Craig, who plays the current James Bond, commented saying Connery was “one of the true greats of cinema” (BBC). He molded his characters into his own unique view, embellishing them with sardonic and ruthless wit. Sean Connery, a husband, father, and actor became famous for his action scenes and romantic moments in films. So much so, that the public loved him as he first played Bond in Dr No in 1962 and continues to do so as he is often named as the best 007 in polls. He is famous for his seminal impact in culture through several decades.

Surprisingly,Connery didn’t always have the best feelings towards the James Bond franchise. An interview with journalist Peter Bart in a Deadline article showed Sean Connery had a less optimistic view of the spy series that he had starred in. Bart recalled from his conversation with the actor that “The Bond pictures have become like comic strips dependent on bigger and better gimmicks. That’s all that sustains them” (Chand). Despite his rising fame and fortune that stemmed from the franchise, Connery found it grueling that he was constantly surrounded by merchandise and 007 memorabilia. He had told Bart in 1966, “There are even dolls with spikes that protrude from their shoes. It’s a lot of rubbish” (Chand). He seemed to detest the lurking shadow of the character “James Bond” that always followed him. The actor tried combatting his struggle as soon as he finished Thunderball, his 4th James Bond movie. Connery took the opportunity to play a new role in A Fine Madness by Irvin Kershner. Despite the movie not getting the best attention or the reviews, Connery loved to portray “the sort of unorthodox individual society loves to suffocate” (Chand). In fact, when Bart asked him if he ever planned on going back the James Bond franchise, Connery responded that “The negotiations will be difficult. I am fighting for time as well as for money. A Bond picture takes six months. I want time to fit in other things that mean more to me” (Chand). He seemed unwilling to join and had a demeanor of resignation. Later on, Connery only returned to the franchise a few more times after Thunderball but he was able to escape that shadow with his works in Marnie by Alfred Hitchcock and The Hill by Sidney Lumet. In 1986 Connery played roles in Highlander and The Name of the Rose, these filmslet Connery take on the role of an older authority figure such as Henry Jones (Indiana Jones’s father). 

After years of being labeled as James Bond, Connery was able to break free from Bond’s constraints. To the general public, Sean Connery might be remembered as James Bond; but to those who followed his acting career  will understand that he was much more than James Bond. As he once told us, “Perhaps I’m not a good actor, but I would be even worse at doing anything else”, so let’s sit back and enjoy his life’s craft, 007 or not. 


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