Sean Connery On James Bond

Quotes From Sean Connery About James Bond

Sean Connery and the women of Goldfinger

Sean Connery and the women of Goldfinger

The most recent double oh seven Daniel Craig has talked about getting typecast as secret agent James Bond. Craig doesn’t seem to view typecasting as a problem. With the recent blockbuster opening of Spectre, the latest installment of the Bond series, Craig is probably laughing all the way to the bank if he has indeed been typecast.

With the man who played James Bond originally, it is hard to gauge what his true feelings are towards the character.

Sean Connery greeting press August 1965 photo Apis Paris

Sean Connery & the press – August 1965

Sean Connery has always been protective of his private life and after he gained worldwide fame playing James Bond, he developed a justifiable, deep suspicion of the fourth estate.

Connery has said he intensely dislikes intrusions by the press “Particularly, the critical personality profiles that run in magazines and newspapers. The actors utter these inanities, then go to some movie set and pose for pictures in some mock-up kitchen. The article will then read: ‘Here’s Sean Connery, a real homebody, frying eggs in his own kitchen.’ “

Because he had to answer the same insipid questions thousands of times, Connery, quickly built up a resentment around all the publicity surrounding James Bond and the Interchangeability of himself and the character.

Therein lies the complex love/hate relationship between Connery and the character that made him one of the world’s biggest movie stars.

The following quotes from Sean Connery about the character of James Bond were all made from 1963 -1972 when he was playing 007. The source is listed before the quote.

James Bond magazine Sean ConnerySydney Morning Herald, 1963 –

After the first Bond film Dr. No was released:

“I’ll be honest with you. There’s not much of James Bond in me.”

“The only real difficulty I found in playing Bond was that I had to start from scratch. Nobody knew anything about him, after all. Not even Fleming. Does he have parents? Where does he come from? Nobody knows. But we played it for laughs, and people seem to feel it comes off quite well.”

“I’m grateful to the film for giving my career a lift like this, but I must be careful not to get too typed. I hope to make a completely different type of film.”

Elizabeth Trotta, Newsday, 1963-

On being similar to the Bond character –

“Yes, I do identify with him. I too enjoy drinking, women, eating the physical pleasure – smells and tastes living by my senses, being alive.  And as far as Bond is concerned, he has no past.”

Anthony Carthew, New York Times, 1964 –

After Goldfinger completed filming.

“I don’t really suppose I’d like Bond if I met him. He’s not my kind of chap at all.”

Sean Connery From Russia With Love“Bond makes his own rules, and that’s fine as long as you’re not plagued by doubts.” “But if you are—and most of us are—you’re sunk. That’s why Bond is so attrac­tive to women. By their na­ture they’re indecisive, so a man who is absolutely sure comes as a godsend.”

Leonard Mosley, New York Times, 1964 –

“I would never deny that Bond made me, and I’ll be everlastingly grateful to him. But that doesn’t make me a Bond‐slave. I can cut the shackles free any time I want to. And they aren’t made of steel chains any longer, either, but smoothest silk.”

“Hitherto, whenever I’ve tangled with a beautiful spy, have you noticed what in­variably happens? Even if I know the girl is a nasty and dangerous little snake, I’ve still had to kiss her first and kill her later. That’s the persona Ian Fleming and the film producers built up for me as James Bond. Every time I see a girl, I have to give. One of my producers, Cubby Broccoli, said to me: ‘It’s like this, Sean. James Bond is a nut for girls. Even if he hates her, his amor­ous instincts die hard – and she dies soft see?

Sean Connery Honor Blackman“All the girls still want to make love to him, but he doesn’t need to make love to all of them. It’s a process of devel­opment. At first it was I who had to model myself on the James Bond that Fleming and the scriptwriters had shaped for me. But now I am making Bond more and more like me, instead of the other way around. And I’m a chap, nowadays, anyway, who still likes all the girls but doesn’t necessarily have to have all the girls.”

“I guess I’m trying to make James Bond grow up a little—in the same way that I’m growing up myself. Not too much, though. Definitely not too much. That would spoil the fun for both of us.”

Peter Bart, New York Times, 1965 –

After Thunderball was released.

On James Bond pictures:

“They’re like comic strips the producers constantly have to come up with bigger and better gimmicks. That’s all that sustains the pictures. How far can they go? I think that they’ll have to switch the routine completely to survive.”

Playboy, 1965 –

“Bond’s been good to me, so I shouldn’t knock him, but I’m fed up to here with the whole Bond bit.”

Ian Fleming & Sean Connery on set

Ian Fleming & Sean Connery on set

“He (Bond) is really a mixture of all that the defenders and the attackers say he is. When I spoke about Bond with (Bond creator, Ian) Fleming, he said that when the character was conceived, Bond was a very simple, straightforward, blunt instrument of the police force, a functionary who would carry out his job rather doggedly. But he also had a lot of idiosyncrasies that were considered snobbish–such as a taste for special wines, et cetera. But if you take Bond in the situations that he is constantly involved with, you see that it is a very hard, high, unusual league that he plays in. Therefore he is quite right in having all his senses satisfied–be it sex, wine, food or clothes–because the job, and he with it, may terminate at any minute. But the virtues that (Kingsley) Amis mentions–loyalty, honesty–are there, too. Bond doesn’t chase married women, for instance. Judged on that level, he comes out rather well.”

On being miscast as Bond:

“Before I got the part, I might have agreed with them. If you had asked any casting director who would be the sort of man to cast as Bond, an Etonbred Englishman, the last person into the box would have been me, a working-class Scotsman. And I didn’t particularly have the face for it; at 16 I looked 30, although I was never really aware of age until I was in my 20s. When I was acting with Lana Turner I realized suddenly I was 28–and I’m even more aware of time and age now than I was then. But today my face is accepted as Bond, and that’s how it should be.”

Oriana Fallaci, interview in Paris, 1965 –

Fallaci asks why she was told not bring up “Bond” with Connery

“Okay. Okay! Bond. 007. Bond. They must have told you wrong. I get angry when they ask me if I’d like to be James Bond, if I’m like James Bond, if they should call me Connery or Bond, when they plague me with idiocies of that kind, not when they make me talk about Bond. Why should I? I’m not in the least ashamed of the Bond movies. They’re amusing, intelligent, each one is more exacting than the last, each one is of better quality than the last.”

On the public confusing Connery with Bond:

“Would they identify me with Bond? Would that make me angry? Too bad. For an actor, for a writer, there’s always the danger of being identified with his character. Look how many people still write to Sherlock Holmes although they know quite well he doesn’t exist and never has existed. Look, I didn’t hesitate for an instant, particularly as the contract was so very amenable: it arranged that I would make a Bond every fourteen months, which left me time to devote to the theater, to other movies.”

Sean Connery Lois Maxwell Thunderball“And then the character of Bond was amusing, certain to appeal. And lastly it suited me physically. You see, I’ve never had a handsome face, an acceptable face. I’ve always had this difficult face, adult, lined; it was like this even when I was sixteen. When I was sixteen I already looked thirty, and without a handsome face it’s far from easy to break in. So, honestly, I was careful not to make too much fuss. The only thing I said to the producers was that the character had one defect, there was no humor about him; to get him accepted, they’d have to let me play him tongue-in-cheek, so people could laugh. They agreed, and there you are: today Bond is accepted to such an extent that even philosophers take the trouble to analyze him, even intellectuals enjoy defending him or attacking him. And even while they’re laughing at him, people take him terribly seriously.”

Does Connery take Bond seriously or laugh at him?

“Laugh at him? If I laughed at him, I’d be laughing at myself, at my work, and where would be the sense in that? And then being egotistical, as I said before, and ambitious, as I said before, I have to believe that what I am doing is important. Therefore, Bond is important: this invincible superman that every man would like to copy, that every woman would like to conquer, this dream we all have of survival. And then one can’t help liking him.”

When confronted that Bond is not a moral character:

“Immoral? I’ve never seen him steal anyone’s wife, anyone else’s woman, or betray his own; he doesn’t have one. He likes women all right, but he never rapes them; it’s they who worm their way into his bed. He kills people, he has to; if he doesn’t, they’ll kill him. He abides by no laws, but nor is he protected by the laws that protect others; society does nothing to defend him, he isn’t known to society. He’s rather ignorant, O.K., but he doesn’t exactly have the time for reading Joyce. His struggle for survival obliges him to be practical, functional, to reduce everything to the verbs sniff, look, listen, taste, think. His safety depends on this and not on Joyce. He doesn’t fight for old people and children, but who said he couldn’t? Have you any proof? Your accusations wouldn’t be valid in any court of law. Yes, sure, it would be interesting if I spoke badly of Bond. But I’ve got nothing at all against Mr. Bond, and I’m only too sorry he has to die.”

Pearl Sheffey, interview 1967 –

“I honestly am so bored with hearing myself talk about James Bond or trying to make any sense of him, that they must be as bored as I am, frankly.”

“It’s a bit of a drag being called James Bond, though the people who call me that aren’t the ones I’m involved with anyway. But what bugs me is the success of the Bond films seems to blind people of the fact that I’ve been a successful theatre and television and other-film actor for 10 years or more.”

Leslie Lieber, interview 1968 –

Sean Connery Shirley Eaton with director Guy Hamilton on set Goldfinger“After all I am obviously not James Bond and Bond is obviously not a human being. Jumping in and out of bed all the time – you could see how that would catch on in drab old England.”

“Do you want to know once and for all what I think of that pest? He’s made life impossible for me. I wish they’d kill him”

On the set of You Only Live Twice:

“I’ve always hated him (Bond).”

Montreal Gazette, 1971 –

“Oh, I think there’s still some juice left in the old role. Besides, it’s a very good job. One is very well paid.”

New Idea,1972 –

“There’s an impression around, that I have been constantly rebellious about playing Bond. This is not so. Certainly I wanted to opt out after I had played him five times, and I did Diamonds (Are Forever) only because I could earn $1 million for the Scottish Educational Trust, which is very important to me. 

“But the Bond character has brought me money and fame -and I am not such an idiot that I regret either.”

The reason the public knows so little about how Connery now feels about his relationship with Bond, the character, is because he has kept a relatively low media profile for the last 40 years. He officially retired 10 years ago and has now achieved the privacy he longed for.

For that I say more power to him.

Connery made this most astute and timeless observation 50 years ago in Playboy about fame and privacy:

“I find that fame tends to turn one from an actor and a human being into a piece of merchandise, a public institution. Well, I don’t intend to undergo that metamorphosis. This is why I fight so tenaciously to protect my privacy, to keep interviews like this one to an absolute minimum, to fend off prying photographers who want to follow me around and publicize my every step and breath. The absolute sanctum sanctorum is my home, which is and will continue to be only for me, my wife, my family and my friends. I do not and shall not have business meetings there or acquaintances or journalists. When I work, I work my full stint, but I must insist that my private life remain my own. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.”

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2 thoughts on “Sean Connery On James Bond

  1. Andy Johnstone

    Hello,

    Very interested to know how you came about the print of Guy Hamilton on the set of Goldfinger.

    Is it possible to find out more? We are producing a film about Hamilton at the moment.

    Thanks

    Reply
    1. B.P. Post author

      Hi Andy
      There were a group of photos of Hamilton on the set available on eBay a while back. Have one other not used in the story.

      Reply

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