Sean Connery was furious on 007 set right before quitting James Bond

You Only Live Twice: Trailer for 1967 James Bond film

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After starring in five James Bond movies, Sean Connery quit the role that had defined his Hollywood career. When shooting 1967’s You Only Live Twice, the 007 actor was far from happy. The Scottish legend became bored with the role, especially due to what he saw as a lack of character development across the films.

According to The Telegraph, Connery was getting fed up with the fan attention he was getting as a huge celebrity. During the filming of You Only Live Twice in Japan, the Bond star was followed into a public bathroom by a photographer and repeatedly pursued by a stalker. Understandably, both encounters left him furious.

Additionally, Connery was not exactly getting on with 007 producers Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman. With tensions at an all-time high, their fights became so bad that the Bond star would refuse to leave his trailer if Cubby was on set.

On top of all this, Connery was not pleased with his salary which ended up at $750,000, with 25 per cent of merchandising profits on top.

The star made it known that if EON Productions wanted him to return for a sixth Bond movie, he wanted $1 million with a percentage of the film’s gross added. However, the producers wouldn’t cough up the cash and recast the role with Australian model George Lazenby for 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

Yet after just one 007 movie, the new Bond actor had quit and Connery was suddenly offered even more than he’d originally asked for to return.

After a failed search for a new Bond, United Artists boss David Picker made it clear that Connery needed to be brought back, saying the money was no object. As a result, the original 007 was enticed by a then-record $1.25 million salary to star in 1971’s Diamonds Are Forever. To sweeten the deal further, United Artists also offered the 40-year-old two back-to-back movies of his choice.

Connery ended up donating his lavish salary to establish the Scottish International Education Trust. The charity could be applied to by Scottish artists in need of funding without having to leave their country to pursue careers. After filming Diamonds Are Forever, the first of Connery’s two passion projects was 1973’s The Offence, directed by his friend Sidney Lumet.

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The second project was set to be William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, starring only Scottish actors with the former 007 in the title role. However, Connery’s take on Macbeth was soon abandoned as Roman Polanski’s version was already in production.

After starring in six Bond movies, the producers tried once again to persuade Connery to return for 1973’s Live and Let Die, but the star declined and previous Bond contender Roger Moore was cast. In the end, Connery would play Bond on screen one last time in the 1983’s unofficial Never Say Never Again.


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