No, I didn't snag an interview with the legendary Sir Sean Connery (I wish), but I did find this old interview from issue #9 of the Lucasfilm Fan Club Magazine from 1989.
Discovering the Bonds Between Father and Son
by Dan Madsen & John S. Davis
The entertainment industry is filled with various types of
individuals. First, there are the would-be actors, writers, directors,
producers and so on who flood into Hollywood
on a daily basis, most of whom will remain in hopeful obscurity forever. Then
there are the people who make a living in the business, but many of their
names are unknown to the public. Now come the handful of household names - the
stars - the people we adulate whether their new project has any redeeming value
or not. And, of course, the personality gamut of all three groups range from
one extreme to another, from the egomaniac who feels he's the best thing to
ever happen to the entertainment industry to the laid-back individual who is so genuinely nice you sometimes wonder how
they survive in such a cut-throat world. And actor Sean Connery certainly falls
into that latter category. But who is this man?
Born in a poor and rugged part of Edinburgh,
Scotland, Thomas Sean
Connery learned the value of work early in life. By the age of nine he was
already rising at six in the morning to deliver milk before going to school. Work
such as this helped keep Connery's family afloat while his father worked in a
munitions factory during World War II. Only a few years afterwards at age thirteen,
he abandoned school and eventually found himself, three years later, entering
into the Navy, only to be discharged due to stomach ulcers at nineteen.
With the Navy behind him, a string of odd jobs followed
during the next several years (lorry driver, cement mixer, bricklayer, steel
bender, printer's devil, lifeguard, coffin polisher). At the Edinburgh School
of Art, he both studied and worked as a model. Then fate stepped in when he
entered a Mr. Universe competition in London,
from which he was invited to audition for the touring company of South Pacific.
Connery's love and fascination for acting grew in the coming
years as he worked in the repertory theatre and gained small roles in film and
television, including Rod Serling's Requiem for a Heavyweight, Age of Kings, Anna
Christie, and Anna Karenina. About a decade after his entry into the world of
acting, the British Secret Service beckoned him. James Bond, Agent 007, soon proved
to be the greatest boost for Connery's career. Yet, in time, his newest persona became much like a cage from
which Connery continually tried to free himself. After years of struggle,
Connery finally managed to gain his long sought-after parole from the Bond
image, which first manifested itself because the stars of the time, such as Cary
Grant, David Niven, Richard Burton, James Mason, and Roger Moore, were too
high-priced for that first Bondian adventure, the one million dollar Dr. No.
"I'm not quite as branded or destroyed by the
association with Bond as I once was," says Connery. "There's no question
it was getting in the way of my decisions to do anything else. The strange
thing was how long it hung around, but it doesn't bug me as much as it used to."
After Dr. No, Connery returned to the role of James Bond for
the film Diamonds Are Forever (to the joy of all concerned because they had
singularly failed to find a replacement in George Lazenby in On Her Majesty 's Secret
Service) and gave his entire fee to the Scottish International Education Trust
which he helped form. Its aims are, "the advancement of education for the
public benefit and the provision of facilities for recreation and other leisure
time activities." Sean Connery is a firm believer in putting something
Apart from his return for the film Never Say Never Again in
1983 (not one of his happier experiences), Diamonds Are Forever was Connery's last
mission for the secret service.
In the years that followed, Connery firmly left his image as
James Bond behind with such films as Murder on the Orient Express, The Wind and the
Lion, John Huston's The Man Who Would Be King with Michael Caine, Robin and
Marian (with Audrey Hepburn), A Bridge Too Far - Richard Attenborough's star studded
film about Arnhem, Outland, The Name of the Rose, The Presidio and the veteran
Chicago cop Jimmy Malone who taught Kevin Costner how to deal with Al Capone in
the acclaimed The Untouchables - a role for which he won an Oscar.
"It was very encouraging and flattering to receive an
Oscar," says Connery. "Of course you do hear conflicting cases about
people never working again but fortunately that doesn't seem to be the problem.
I think the goals remain the same - finding material that is stimulating and challenging.
"I'm highly competitive in sport," he adds,
"and I've never made any secret of that, whether its golf, tennis or poker,
but ('m not competitive as an actor. I don't mind giving a scene to anyone who
can take it from me."
But the question remains: who is Sean Connery? That's hard
to say. He is a man who is both straightforward and somewhat mysterious.
Perhaps it is these qualities coupled with his fine acting abilities that makes
him such a sought-after star by both the public and film directors alike, including
"Sean was immediately my first choice. I never had to
think about it," Spielberg recalls, "because the second I thought,
'Who is worthy enough and strong enough in the area of screen charisma to be
Harrison Ford's dad?,' I ruled out every character actor that the casting people gave me. And I immediately went right to Sean
Connery, never thinking we could get him."
"But George Lucas wasn't so enthusiastic," Connery
recalls about his casting as Professor Henry Jones. "He had a different
idea. He wanted someone more bookish and Yoda-like."
As everyone now knows, Lucas was eventually convinced and
Connery took on the role as Indy's father. However, in the beginning, even
Connery had to be convinced that the role was right for him when he first read
"I was rather disappointed," he recalls. "When
I voiced my reservations about it, Steven was, I think, a bit surprised. My
reservations at the beginning were mainly to get a clearer picture of where we
were going with this character - this father figure.
"I liked the idea of him being more like Sir Richard
Burton - the explorer; much more active
and academic to begin with and then you realize what the genes were that produced this Indiana Jones. So you get this
picture of the action man with the academic but still very much a Victorian
father. And therefore, you could get a lot of mileage out of the stunts and
still play the father and be a part of the relationship.
"He's got skin and that's what I think captures an
audience for this type of story and that's what the James Bond films had, too.
Indiana Jones, in some ways, is a Bondian character because he always ends up in terrible situations which
always have to be resolved with some invention or humorous action. That's the
only solution he ever has whether it's jumping
into a plane and he says he can fly it but that he doesn't know how to land it.
Yes, he's very Bondian."
Whether Indy and Henry are escaping from an Austrian castle,
fighting for their lives on a German tank or facing the mystical forces in the
Grail temple, one thing is very apparent
- these two characters work well together and create what could only be described
as movie magic.
"There is the most wonderful chemistry between the two
of them," says director Steven Spielberg. "It's a little like the
Newman/Redford chemistry in Butch Cassidy and The Sting. It's a real sparkle of
For both Ford and Connery, the experience of working
together was a pleasure and one of the highlights of the film. "Sean is,
of course, such a terribly experienced actor," states Harrison Ford,
"and that made it interesting to work with him. He's an awfully nice guy,
too. I've enjoyed knowing him as well as working with him."
One aspect that not only Ford but the Indy III crew enjoyed
was the lightness and good humor Connery brought to the set. He is one actor
that believes in having fun while you work and spreading that enjoyment to
"I think the essence of the fun for me is the
pleasure," Connery says. "The greatest pleasure is when the whole
team is working and then what you're all trying to do works. When a film set is
harmonious and everybody has the same similar intention and goal, it's
terrific. It's like a microcosm of a really good society.
"The nice thing about Indiana Jones is the humor and
the fact that it's back to an older age, not an age of hardware and spacecraft,
but cars and airplanes and trains and horses. I'm always looking for the humor
in a situation and Harrison Ford has a nice sly sense of humor. I'm very impressed by Steven Spielberg; he's very
inventive, very quick. We've built up the humor as much as possible in the
relationship between Indiana and his father."
Not only does the Indiana Jones series of films owe a debt
of gratitude to the old cliffhanger serials of the 40's and 50's for its style,
it also owes some thanks to Sean Connery who influenced Hollywood's
portrayal of the modem screen hero with the characteristics he injected into
James Bond: humor, irony, detachment, and self deprecation. So the interesting thing about
The Last Crusade is not just the fact that Sean Connery relinquishes the heroic
reins to his on-screen son, Indiana Jones, but that Indiana Jones has followed
in his father's footsteps and graduated with honors from the Connery School of
Unfortunately, not all stars are as well-grounded as
Connery. In addition to fame and fortune, stardom brings responsibilities and
certain problems to the lives of many celebrities. Some are well able to handle
their success without flaunting it or being consumed by it such as the case
with Connery. Then there are the others who seem to have little regard for their fans, who enabled them to reach
star status in the first place, and often make a concerted effort to avoid
fans. To Connery, such behavior is way out of line, and in his mind his rule of thumb is this: if he is in
a public place he has to deal with the public, and if he's in a private place
he expects his privacy to be respected. Quite simply, Sean Connery knows and
accepts the trappings of stardom.
"You can't really explain it to people who haven't
experienced it," he says. "If I went into a public place, I did so
completely at my own risk and you can't complain about your privacy being
infringed upon. On the other hand, I made myself go into some places and move
around because you can very easily have a Burton-Taylor situation, which was
greatly self provoked, where you have a phalanx of guards in the restaurant in front
of you, setting up the scene like a tableau before you enter."
Connery, as an individual, is unconcerned about what others
may think of him. His goal is simply to be a serious actor. The size and nature
of a role is unimportant to him, only the quality of the characters he is asked
to play matter. In his thirty-plus year
career, he has been seen on screen as a middle-aged Robin Hood, an honest Chicago
beat cop, a convict in a brutal British military prison in North Africa,
a grandfather in the current generational crime caper, Family Business, and as the
Russian sub commander in The Hunt For Red October due out next spring. Yet,
when looking over his list of credits, one fact becomes immediately apparent - the
almost complete lack of comedies, a point others have expressed to Connery
"Everybody says, 'You don't do much comedy,'"
states Connery. "But I always try to find the comedy in everything,
because it's much more revealing, much more enjoyable and harder. There is something quite comedic and absurd about
somebody sitting in that sidecar! What we really got down to in The Last
Crusade was trying to find as many places as possible where they would have
problems relating to each other, which always lends itself to the comedic elements. Right from the very
beginning Henry calls Indy 'junior!'
"As I go on," adds Connery, "I still retain
an appetite (for acting) which at some times gets even greater than it was
before. But as long as I still have that there I'm perfectly happy working. The
day I wouldn't have that enthusiasm or that sort of appetite, then I will look in another direction."