1. - Michael Caine, How To Murder A Rich Uncle, 1957. First meeting of future British superstars - in a West London studio while waiting to test as an Irish gangster. Caine won - and lost. Director (and star) Nigel Patrick cut the 10-minute, 12-line role to nothing. And Mike loved reminding their producer how he had turned Sean down. The producer was ... Cubby Broccoli, the Big Daddy of the Bond movies.
2. - Cürt Jurgens, The Inn of the Sixth Happiness, 1957. Ingrid Bergman’s real missionary become involved (untrue) with a Chinese Army officer. So who does US director Mark Robson look at? The Scottish Connery and the German Jürgens. Accents are accents! The Connery test was seen in same Fox studio’s Hollywood Screen Tests: Take 1, 1999. “For awhile, I was too big, or too square... whatever. I just couldn’t fit the parts they wanted to fill.”
3. - Roger Moore, Maverick, TV, 1959-1961. Another hero offered first to Sean… Moore was told that he was not replacing the original star, but found James Garner’s name inside all his costumes. Garner was Bret in 60 episodes, Jack Kelly was Bart for 83, Moore became Beau(regard) for 16, and Robert Colbert was Brent for the final three shows. And the next Pub Quiz question is…
4. - Jock Mahoney, Tarzan The Magnificent, 1960.
Sean had been was paid $5,600 for his villain in Tarzan’s Greatest Adventure, 1959. When producer Sy Weintraub asked him to play in the next Tarzan movie, he said: “I can’t because two fellows took an option on me for some spy picture... But I’ll be in your next.” He wasn't. The spy picture was Dr No, 1962. His replacement in the jungle was ex-Tarzan Mahoney. Opposite the new ape-man, Gordon Scott.
5. - Dean Stockwell, Sons and Lovers, 1960. Keeping his own casting to himself, director Jack Cardiff dutifully tested several unsuitable actors suggested by Robert Goldstein, London’s Fox chief. And talked them all out of his film.
6. - Raf Vallone, El Cid, 1961. Preferred “£25 a week and no expenses” for Pirandello’s Naked on-stage at Oxford with his then-wife Diane Cilento, finally over two years of tuberculosis.
7. - Alfred Lynch, West 11, 1963. “We did not test Sean Connery,” new director Michael Winner told me in London. “I suggested him for the part and the producer said he was a B picture actor and wouldn’t have him.” Winner did test Julie Christie - same reaction from a producer who must be named. Daniel M Angel.
8. - Rod Taylor, The Birds, 1963. Having nearly made the first Bond film, Hitchcock was interested in the screen 007. But he was committed to From Russia With Love and was not free to join Hitch until Marnie, 1964.
9 - Jean Marais, Fantomas, France-Italy, 1964. Given the rather Thunderballishposter lines - “Men Hunt Him Down - Women Look Him Up!” - it was inevitable that cineaste André Hunebelle would offer the title role to 007. Just as obviously no foreign actor in his right mind would share a screen with the French stutter, splutter, mutter, nutter comic Louis de Funès, who ate scenery as if it was ratatouille. “The sole actor I never liked as a human being,” said Marais. “Working with de Funès, made me the highest paid extra in French films.” He fled from a fourth chapter, Fantomas en Russie, in 1968.
10 - Richard Johnson, The Amorous Adventures of Moll Flanders, 1965. Bondmeister Terence Young designed it for the Connerys. Diane Cilento was tied up with The Agony and The Ecstasy in Rome with no end in sight. Young's second string - Johnson and Kim Novak - married after the movie.
11 - Clint Eastwood, Le Streghe/The Witches, Italy, 1965. James Bond v El Cigarello as producer Dino De Laurentiis collected top directors (Vittorio De Sica, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Luchino Visconti) and stars (Annie Giradot, Alberto Sordi) for his vanity production of sketches starring his wife Silvana Mangano. Clint won De Sica’s sketch, Una sera come le altgre/A Night Like Any Other. For$20,000 and a new Ferrari. “There’s no 10% on a Ferrari,” noted Eastwood.
12 - Rod Taylor, Young Cassidy, 1965. Director John Ford talked of this film about the young Sean O’Casey while Connery was in Hollywood making Marnie. All set to go after Goldfinger, Sean told me in November 1963 while shooting Woman of Straw in Poole. Except the script not up to par. Director Jack Cardiff finished the film for an ailing Ford.
13 - Warren Beatty, Promise Her Anything, 1965. While Sandra Dee, of all people, was chasing him for some Hollywood froth, Sean had his eye on some of his own. The full, original title may be why it landed at Beatty’s door: Promise Her Anything But Give Her A 500lb Pussy Cat.
14 - Christopher Plummer, The Sound of Music, 1965. Plummer hated the film. Nonetheless, he and Julie Andrews remained close friends and made a TVersion of On Golden Pond, 2001
15 - Omar Sharif, Doctor Zhivago, 1965. “The only film I wished I’d got.” He would have brought life to where Sharif brought total ennui.
16 - David Hemmings, Blow-Up, 1966. Connery passed on the Thomas, the Swinging London fashion phoptrapher hero (once aimed at David Bailey and Terence Stamp). “I couldn't understand what Antonioni was talking about.” Vanessa Rewdgrave could, it seemed, from her autiobgraphy. “Blow-Up was about the unity and difference of essence and phenomena, the conflict between what is, objectively, and what is seen, heard, or grasped by the individual.” Oh really! I always felt it was a Churchillian riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma…translated from Italian.
17 - Efrem Zimbalist Jr, Wait Until Dark, 1966. Producer Mel Ferrer wanted Sean as the blind Audrey Hepburn's husband. Terence Young, directing, did not.
18 - Marlon Brando, A Countess From Hong Kong, 1966. “When a man of his stature writes you a script, you can hardly refuse,” said Marlon Brando about Chaplin”s offer. “He said I was the only one who could play it. Which makes me wonder why he has also been calling Sean...” Just wasn’t so respectful on their Pinewood set... Chaplin told Brando: “Listen, you son of a bitch, you’re working for Chaplin now.” “One of the worst mistakes of my life,” said Brando and he had made many
19 - Terence Cooper, Casino Royale, 1967.
20 - Steve McQueen, The Thomas Crown Affair, 1967. Turned down by Richard Burton, director Norman Jewison and producer Walter Mirisch took Sean to lunch at New York’s Regency Hotel. But he also passed on Tommy Crown, just too tired after You Only Live Twice. Some years later later, he told Mirisch: “I should’ve played that part.”
21 - Charlton Heston, Planet of the Apes, 1967.
22 - David Hemmings, The Charge of the Light Brigade, 1968. UK director Tony Richardson’s first choice for Captain Nolan. In 1970, Hemmings named his (actor) son, Nolan.
23 - Richard Burton, Boom, 1968. Playwright Tennessee Williams tried to persuade him to play Chris Flanders in this worthless version of his 1963 Broadway flop, The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore. The Brechtian director Joseph Losey tried to spark interest by shooting tests of Connery and Simone Signoret.
24 - Frederick Stafford, Topaz, 1968. Alfred Hitchcock’s unhappiest film experience - even before becoming his biggest flop - had been foisted on him by Universal (which then removed its logo from the credits!). How much better it would have been with his 1963 Marnie star back in espionage (“No thanks!”) instead of his Czech-born Euro-copy-spy (OSS 117, etc) with all the charisma of Universal suits. For the French market, both screen spies were dubbed by the same actor, Jean-Pierre Duclos.
25 - Christopher Plummer, Waterloo, 1970. On a dream-team list to play Wellington - opposite Peter Sellers as Napoleon!
26 - Peter Finch, Sunday, Bloody Sunday, 1971. “After Ian Bannen left it, I put in for the role of the Jewish doctor but there'd already been an offer to Finch. Anyway, he looks more Jewish than I do.”
27 - James Coburn, The Last Hard Man, 1976. Charlton Heston felt it’d be a good film “especially if we can get Connery.” They d29 - Nicol Williamson, Robin and Marian, 1976. Sean was contacted for Little John until director Richard Lester said there could be one Robin and one Robin only... (Ten years later, Jason Connery was the TV Robin).
28 - Nicol Williamson, Robin and Marian, 1976. Sean was contacted for Little John until director Richard Lester said there could be one Robin and one Robin only... (Ten years later, Jason Connery was the TV Robin).
29 - Kirk Douglas, Saturn 3, 1980. Chauvinistic Lord Lew Grade wanted Sean as the spaceman fighting Michael Caine as an android. Their reply was somewhaat anal.
30 - Michael Caine, Dressed To Kill, 1980. Even when due oppposite Liv Ullmann, Connery didn’t fancy Brian De Palma’s idea of dressing up as a lady - especially a lady killer. Nor did Caine. As he pulled on bra and tights, he said: “What if I get to like this?” Sean got his 1988 Oscar for De Palma's Untouchables.
31 - Richard Chamberlain, Shogun, TV, 1980. Long before the film of the James Cavell book became a 560 page, 1,062 scene, 2,749 set-up and 12 hour mini-series with, as Chamberlain billed himself, “one of the few Americans they let play British roles.” Sean’s fellow Bond, Roger Moore was also chased for the Jams Clavell hero. Plus Albert Finney, who finally made a Bond film, Skyfall, the 23rd marking the 50th screen anniversary in 2012.
32 - Nigel Terry, Excalibur, 1981. Agreed to the first script in 1975. And eventually became King Arthur in First Knight, 1995.
33 - Harrison Ford, Blade Runner, 1981. UK wiz Ridley Scott spent a long time sniffing out the perfect Deckard. From top notchers Connery, Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman (keen… but on making it a totally different character, of course), Robert Mitchum, Paul Newman, Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino… to such excellent journeymen as William Devane, Robert Duvall, Peter Falk, Frederic Forrest, Scott Glenn, Tommy Lee Jones, Raul Julia, Nick Nolte, Christopher Walken. Then, in sheer desperation, choices lowered to Cliff Gorman, Judd Hirsch. Even the Virginian Morgan Paull stood a chance, having played Deckard in Scott’s tests of potential Rachaels. (He was given Holden for his pains). Plus Arnold Schwarzenegger, not yet seen as Conan, much less Terminator. And for probably the last time in such an illustrious list, the fading star of Burt Reynolds..
34 - Albert Finney, Annie, 1982.
He had to sing as Daddy Warbucks and promptly began lessons in LA. “Ray Stark, the producer, was pressurising me to make a decision and I wouldn’t until I was sure I could do it well enough,” Sean told me during the 1981 Deauville festival. “I didn’t want to do it and then find I was going to be dubbed. He bugged me about it and I said, ‘I’d rather walk away from it.’ So I did.”
35 - James Earl Jones, Conan The Barbarian, 1982. The rather Teutonic Thulsa Doom was the warrior chief who killed Conan’s folks.
36 - Richard Burton, Nineteen Eighty-Four, 1984. Director Michael Radford fought hard to film the Orwell clasic in the titular year - but was six weeks into shooting before he found his interrogator, O’Brien. “Burton was always on the list,” Radford told the Den of Geekl website, “but I didn’t really want a drunk around the place. Sean Connery ummed and aahed and ummed and aahed... Rod Steiger’s facelift had gone wrong... Paul Scofield broke his leg... And I said we’d better just go for Burton.
So we helicoptered the script to Haiti, and he got on board another helicopter and came straight out. He became completely teetotal, had Diet Cokes around the place. He’d offer one to me, and I’d sip it, to check there was no vodka in it. He was great.” In his final role.
37 - Rutger Hauer, Ladyhawke, 1985. First planned opposite Dustin Hoffman - Connery’s (unlikely) son in Family Business, 1989.
38 - Bryan Brown, Tai-Pan, 1986. Another James Clavell hero. And the author James Clavell never saw the film. “People tell me it’s lousy.”
39 - Bob Hoskins, Mona Lisa, l986. Irish director Neil Jordan wrote it for Connery. Hoskins thought the role was “a sort of Rambo-esque mega-thug,” until rewrites turned him into “a muscular fellow who wears his heart on his sleeve. A bit like me, really! A one in a lifetime role.” So, Hoskins took most awards, including the Cannes Festival’s Best Actor and an Oscar nod.
40 - Peter O’Toole, The Last Emperor, 1987. The April 11, 1988 Oscar scoreline was: Emperor 9, Connery 1.
41 - George Carlin, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, 1987. “George was a very happy accident,” said Alex Winter (Bill) in 2013. “They were going after serious people first. Like Sean Connery. And someone had the idea, way after we started shooting, of George. That whole movie was a happy accident.” Carlin kept the wannabe Wyld Stallyns rock stars together (alas!) with his time-travelling phone box. Winters and Keanu Reves tested for each other’s rôles. Washington Post critic Hal Hinson called it frisky and companionable. “Like unkempt ponies.” All three (alas) galloped into the sequel, Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, 1990.
42 - Peter O’Toole, High Spirits, 1988. Director Neil Jordan must try harder.
43`- Richard E Grant, Warlock, 1988. Undoubtedly agreed with Variety: “a failed attempt to concoct a pic from a pinch of occult chiller, a dash of fantasy thriller and a splash of stalk ‘n’ slash.”
44 - John Neville, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, 1988. They worked together on Time Bandits, one of Connery’s resurrection movies, and now Pythonite Terry illiam offered him the titular rôle of his lavish re-make. No, OK. Well, how about… ?
45 - Robin Williams, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, 1988. … Yes, how about… The King of the Moon cameo in a spectacular sequence - “very Cecil B De Mille, 2,000 extras.” Connery was not convinced. “It’s not really a role.” And not very kingly. Williams is credited as Ray D Tutto, English version of re di Tutto or King of Everything. Sean and Robin were later due for Bruce Beresford’s stymied Don Quixote, circa ’96.
46 - Laurence Luckinbill, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, 1988. Not so final, there were two more movies left in the franchise... Sean preferred being Indiana Jones’ Dad than the renegade Vulcan Sybok for first-time helmer William Shatner - who then threw away his list of replacements (includng Max von Sydow) on seeing Luckinbill in a one-man play about LBJ. The Vulcan was named Sha Ka Ree - a Shatner riff on Connery. (Oh really!).
47 - Audrey Hepburn, Always, 1989. “There are seven genuine movie stars in the world today,” noted Steven Spielberg. “Sean is one...” Audrey was another. “I wo’'t name the others because some of my best friends wouldn’t be among them." In 1988, he got Sean - as the father of Indiana Jones.
48 - Richard Dreyfuss, Rosencrantz & Guilderstern Are Dead, l990.
Announced as The Player King by playwright-turned-debuting-director Tom Stoppard two months before Sean’s 1988 Oscar. After Family Business, Connery had throat surgery, removing benign polyps from his vocal chords. “It was a $4m picture and I was going to work for $70,000. But with my throat uncertain, I suspended everything. Tom became rather unpleasant, maybe thinking it was over the money. Which it wasn’t.” (Connery is said to have paid Stoppard $566,000 compensation). Once fully fit, Connery replaced Klaus Maria Brandauer in The Hunt For Red October. And began The Russia House - a John Le Carré book adapted by Stoppard! - with Rosencrantz still dead in the water, awaiting the arrival of Dreyfuss. “I’d rather see Jaws without the shark,” said Stoppard, “than without Richard.”
* The plan in 1988. Tom Stoppard was set to direct his first movie of his first play, toplined by Sean as The Player King - until his throat surgery. Stoppard was not pleased and his backing was delayed until Richard Dreyfuss came aboard in 1990.
49 - Richard Gere, Pretty Woman, 1989.
50 - Mel Gibson, Air America, 1990. Connery liked director Richard Rush’s script. Gibson was persuaded by rewrites. “New-and-different means in Hollywood - you’ve changed three scenes.” But according to Peter Bart (Lorimar’s president when the project began), the project had a complete ideological metamorphosis: airborne to stillborn.
51 - Richard Harris, The Field, 1990. Panic! The shock death of their star, Ray McAnally, made the Irish producers turn to everyone from Marlon Brando to Connery, until realising they has the prefect Bull McCabe already booked for a cameo... And later for an Oscar nomination.
52 - Patrick Bergin, Sleeping With The Enemy, 1991. A wife beater? This is what’s offered after you tell Barbara Walters and TV zillions (in 1987) that hitting a woman was fine if they needed to be kept in line. Sean and Kim Basinger proved too expensive.
53 - Richard Attenborough, Jurassic Park, 1992.
54 - Anthony Hopkins, Shadowlands, 1992. Director Sydney Pollack saw Sean and Streisand. Lord Attenboroughi saw Hopkins (of course) and Debra Winger.
55 - Clint Eastwood, In the Line of Fire, 1992. Jeff Maguire’s impeccable script hung around Hollywood for a decade as they all – Beatty, Connery, Hoffman, Redford - backed away from the ageing Secret Service man. Some suits even tried to go younger (ditching the pivotal JFK assassination back-story!) with Tom Cruise or Val Kilmer. At 62, Eastwood even felt he was too old for the fiftysomething hero, He relented and made it one of his finest movies.
56 - Richard Attenborough, Jurassic Park, 1993. So who’s the other Brit with a white beard, mused Steven Spielberg. Ah yes, the guy who stole my ET Oscar with his Gandhi in 1983!
57 - Steve Lively, The Princess and the Cobbler, 1993. Connery apparently never showed up to record Tack the cobbler’s one line. What else for the greatest toon that never was… Across 52 years, 1961-2013, Canadian animation genius Richard Williams (Roger Rabbit, etc), toiled on his life’s work, a toon version of Mulla Nasrudin tales. As Nasrudin, The Amazing Nasrudin, The Majestic Fool, Tin Tack, The Thief and the Princess, The Thief Who Never Gave Up, Once… and, after Harvey Scissorhands Weinstein finished with it, Arabian Knight - ho, ho ! - with Matthew Broderick as Tack. Promised and denied aid by Disney, Steven Spielberg, Warners, etc, ripped off by collaborators uisng his ideas when returning to Disney (see Aladdin!), inspiring other toons and eventually having the movie snatched from him, re-cut, re-voiced and released by almost as many outlets as he’d had titles. He never saw any of them. “My son, who is also an animator, did tell me that if I ever want to jump off a bridge then I should take a look.” In 2013, Williams said his May 1991 workprint was saved - digitally archived by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He subtitled it with typical irony… A Moment In Time!!!
58 - Liam Neeson, Schindler’s List, 1993. “Schindler gave me my life, and I tried to give him immortality.” Thirty years earlier, a certain Leo Page sold MGM a Howard Koch script about Oskar Schindler, the Nazi businessman who saved the lives of more than 1,100 Jews during WWII. The Holocaust project was shelved when Connery backed off. As Poldek Pfefferberg, the Polish-American Page was one of the Schindlerjuden. He next told his story to Australian novelist Thomas Keneally. Steven Spielberg spent ten years growing up before making the film. After four previous nominations, it finally won Spielberg his first Oscar on March 21, 1994. Chicago critic Roger Ebert praised Spielberg’s unique ability of adding artistry to popularity in his serious films - “to say what he wants to say in a way that millions of people want to hear.”
59 - James Earl Jones, The Lion King, 1993. Two ex-Bonds - Connery, Timothy Dalton - plus Liam Neeson were considered royal enough to voice King Musafa in the 32nd Disney toon - known as Bambi meets Hamlet in Africa.
60 - Jeremy Irons, Die Hard With A Vengeance, 1994. Hollywood preferred Brits as villains. Not this one. “Scho schorry,” said Sean, “but I have no wish to be schuch a diabolical villain.” Next? David Thewlis - finally replaced by a steely Irons.
61 - Gene Hackman, Wyatt Earp, 1994. Who can be Wyatt Costner's father? Obviously, Connery. Or Hackman. Whoeverthehell’s available!
62 - John Cleese, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, 1994. Cleese was in and out in two weeks as Professor Waldman in Ken Branagh’s Gothic resuscitation. (Cleese was also picked by to take over Connery’s Don Quixote in 1997 - if Bruce Beresford could get it rolling anew).
63 - Anthony Hopkins, Legends of the Fall, 1994. Now it was for Brad Pitt’s Pa. Actually, it was to father Tom Cruise at first.
64 - Christophe(r) Lambert, Mortal Kombat, 1995. One Highlander for another as Lord Rayden in director Paul WS Anderson’s weak movie of the top video game.
65 - Sylvester Stallone, Assassins, 1995. Aboard, for a wee while, after Michael Douglas and Arnold Schwarzenegger bailed from the veteran hit-man hunted by a younger shooter out to make his name. 64 - Andrew Keir, Rob Roy, 1995. Inevitably, Connery was the first Scot asked to be (the thoroughly trustworthy) Duke of Argyll. Keir died two years later.
66 - Patrick McGoohan, Braveheart, 1995. He had to refuse another king - KIng Edward I - in Scotland because of shooting Just Cause in Florida.
67 - Jeremy Irons, Die Hard With A Vengeance, 1995. He turned down the role, telling director John McTiernan that he had no wish to be such a diabolical villain. Second choice, David Thewlis, was replaced by Irons.
68 - Robin Williams, Jumanji, 1995. Two kids find a jungle board game with magic powers unleashing grotesque animalia and some poor guy trapped inside the game since playing it as a tot. Williams lapped it up after Connery, Dan Aykroyd, Richard Dreyfuss, Rupert Everett, Harrison Ford, Tom Hanks, Michael Keaton, Kevin Kline, Bill Paxton, Kurt Russell, Arnold Schwarzenegger fled the incoherent script. Jumanji, incidentally, is Zulu for “many effects.” And how.
69 - Willem Dafoe, The English Patient, 1996. Took a long time considering - and then leaving - the production that won nine Oscars including Best Film and Best Director (Anthony Minghella) from a dozen nominations.
70 - Willem Dafoe, Victory, 1996. Among auteur Louis Malle’s 1978 choices for Axel in his 20-year-old dream project - the Joseph Conrad classic. (The others were Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Jon Voight). But Paramount was not as keen as it had been for its 1940 version. Gradually, shooting was planned, a France-Australia-Germany-Canada co-production in Indonesia and the Philippines, for July-September 1979. Malle and his new lover (and co-scripter) Susan Sarandon went to Atlantic City, instead.
71 - John Rhys-Davies, Aladdin and the King of Thieves, 1996. Scheduling meant that a Welshman succeeded a Scot as he oriental Cassim, the titular King.
72 - Jeremy Irons, Chinese Box, 1997. Hong Kong director Wayne Wang’s look at Hong Kong being returned to China was created for Gong Li’s English-speaking debut.
73 - Bruce Willis, Armageddon, 1997. The start of a seven-film collaboration between Willis and producer Joe Roth started when Roth rescued him from a mighty Disney lawsuit. He offered a three movie deal. The first, Armageddon, paid off Disney the $17.5m for leaving Broadway Brawler after rows with director Lee Grant. Result: $1.3bn worldwide with the other two (The Sixth Sense and The Kid). Bruce’s career was saved.
74 - Bruce Willis, The Jackal, 1997. No longer The Day of the... Neither was the tawdry movie.
75 - Anthony Hopkins, Amistad, 1997. Spielberg could not land him this time as the former (sixth) US President John Quincy Adams.
76 - Anthony Hopkins, The Mask of Zorro, 1997. OK then, said Steven Spielberg, what about the older Zorro handing over to a new one - Cruise or Garcia, at the time. But he’d played that already in Highlander, 1986.
77 - Geoffrey Rush, Les Miserables, 1997. Anthony Hopkins also dropped out; “Inspector Javert was too unrelenting,” he told me in Paris. Connery decided his first baddy would be more local - and kilted - in The Avengers.
78 - Vin Diesel, The Iron Giant, 1998. First planned as a filmusical, based on Pete Townshend’s concept album, inspired in turn by UK poet Ted Hughes’ book, Brad Bird’s toon take won the best reviews and worst audience of 1999. Connery, Peter Cullen (Transformers), James Earl Jones, Frank Welker (Aladdin) were up for the giant robot’s voice. Montana’s Bird went on to Disney, directing The Incredibles, Ratatoullie - with time off for helming Tom Cruise’s Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.
79 - Anthony Hopkins, Instinct, 1999. Sean had the better instinct about scripts., “And he knows exactly what he can and can’t do,” said director Terry Gilliam.
80 - Paul Newman, Where The Money Is, 2000. Originally, a Scott Free Production (director brothers Ridley and Tony Scott) about a veteran bank-robber faking a stroke to be moved to a jail more easy to escape from.
81 - Tony Goldwyn, The 6th Day, 2000. Another villain and a cool idea - but Sean was just rather expensive to support Arnold Schwarzenegger..
82 - Donald Sutherland, Space Cowboys, 2000. Clint Eastwood planned himself, Connery and Nicholson as the retired USAF pilots called back to NASA duty to save the world. Great fun! (Much earlier, they had all been set for a Clint movie about golf).
83 - Johnny Depp, From Hell, 2001. The Hughes brothers, Allen and Albert, asked them all (from Sean to Jude Law) before obtaining Hollywood’s best Englishman to hunt Jack The Ripper.
84 - Michael Caine, Austin Powers in Goldmember, 2001. As if Mike Myers wasn’t in enough (title) trouble with the James Bond folk, he wanted Sean and Ursula Andress to be Austin’s parents!
85 - Ian McKellen, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, 2001-2003.
86 - Helmut Bakaitis The Matrix Reloaded, 2002. As he said about many films he rejected: “I didn’t understand it!" (Who did?)
87 - Michael Caine, The Quiet American, 2002. Paramount plan in 1997. But Sean doesn’t play losers. And 45 years on, Caine is still subbing Connery. Except now, they were Sir Sean and Sir Michael - or, Sir Maurice Micklewhite, to be precise.
88 - Gene Hackman, Runaway Jury, 2003. Six years earlier, director Joel Schumacher asked Connery to play John Grisham’s brilliantly evil jury consultant - opposite Edward Norton and Gwyneth Paltrow. Gary Fleder made the John Grisham courtroom thriller with Hackman, John Cusack and Rachel Weisz.
89 - Helmut Bakaitis, The MatrIx Reloaded & The Matrix Revolutions, 2003. The Wachowski siblings tried again, but he was not into Architecture. Big break for the German-born Aussie.
90 - Val Kilmer, Alexander, 2004. Another king! Another dad - originally Tom Cruise’s (again), finally Colin Farrell’s. But just how old was Alexander’s father, King Philip of Macedonia. Oliver Stone did not seem to know. Connery was 74; Kilmer, 45.
91 - Bill Nighy, The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, 2005.
92 - Ken Stott, Rebus, TV, 2006.
In 2005. Ian Rankin’s cult Edinburgh Detective Inspector John Rebus was to transfer from TV to cinema. With Edinburgh’s favourite son but he knew better. It was 20 years too late. “At 74, I’m too old to play the tough copper,” said Sean. The project became a second TV series with Edinburgh’s Stott succeeding TV’s original TV Rebus, John Hannah.
93 - Leonard Nimoy, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, 2010. Michael Bay, who never wanted to direct “a stupid toy movie” until producer Steven Spielberg reeled him in, wanted his Rock star to voice the antagonist, Sentinel Prime. Nimoy spoke but Prime remained modelled after Sean and used his 1985 Highlander line, “there can be only one.”
94 - Albert Finney, Skyfall. 2011.
95 - Billy Connolly, Brave, 2012. For once, Connery had an offered rôle requiring his omnipresent Edinburgh accent. And he passed! Glasgow comic Connolly took over the father of Disney’s first Scots prinesss - another Glaswegian, Kelly Macdonald.