Connery lost interest in Thunderball

Many people say Connery was bored in You Only Live Twice which is true but I believe he got bored of the role in Thunderball because he looked bored in some scenes for example his meeting with M and his scene with Fiona Volpe in the hotel. He didn’t look like he wanted to be there.

Oh, it´s just his “I´m feigning disinterest”-face. On the inside he is focused like hell.

4 Likes

Not sure if SC was “bored” by the time he got to TB. I do think Bondmania was at its peak and that he was tiring of the constant press/paparazzi attention and I wouldn’t be at all surprised that somewhere is an interview where he expresses he’s “done with it”

But to his credit, I don’t think it shows on screen (as it seems to in YOLT). If anything, I think TB is perhaps SC’s best performance in an all-round “appeals to all” type of way, in that he’s charmingly throwing away lines (Shrublands), as well as being compulsive viewing in the more “dramatic” moments. Pretty much all his scenes with the leading ladies reflect this, and I completely buy the brief glimpse of humanity at his discovery of dead Paula.

5 Likes

Perhaps not so bored as annoyed to learn that Dean Martin was making more money playing Matt Helm. Terence Young had advised Broccoli & Saltzman to make Sean a partner, but ultimately they declined (how to keep Daniel Craig engaged: Executive Producer).

3 Likes

This was probably a key point in the series: the star the world was literally going crazy over feeling shortchanged. Plenty of that bad blood would stain the coming decades.

2 Likes

In fairness, Dean Martin was a more established star, having done all those films with Jerry Lewis, along with a successful recording career and a television show.

But, certainly, Cubby and Harry should’ve let him have a bigger piece of the pie. The series wasn’t expected to become quite as successful as it did.

Connery wasn’t the only one who lost interest. I’ve read where Terence Young left before the wrap to direct The Poppy is Also a Flower.

The Dean Martin/Matt Helm money reveal was Thunderball? I thought it didn’t occur until YOLT. That combined w/ photographers following Sir Sean into bathroom in Tokyo led him to leave series.
His Playboy interview took place while on location,it showed no sign of boredom.

Connery’s detachment in Thunderball is performance, Doctor No was raw, he refined his performance in FRWL and added the louchness, but hadn’t the confidence yet to send up his own performance. Goldfinger is a different performance again Bond as hybrid of superhero and pastiche of the performance in FRWL. His performance in Thunderball is not pastiche but a very clever balance between the superhero aspect of Goldfinger and the combination of the first movies with an almost Brechtian air of detachment, commentating on the ridiculousness of story. I would argue that Thunderball is the reason that we are awaiting the next installment of the franchise.

5 Likes

This. Thunderball is Connery’s definitive performance.

4 Likes

Great points by StB and MrH. SC’s performance is no different from post-77 Sir Rog - in that it’s effortless and completely natural in the way that character and actor blend into each other. It can be mistaken for “not putting in a shift” but on the contrary, it’s the lack of noticeable effort that is the all the work.

Contrast with Brozza and DC - there are moments (more with the former) where it’s clear that both actors are “playing” someone. Sir Rog just let it be, and I’d argue TB is the film where SC found that for the entire run-time.

7 Likes

I’m a fan of Pierce, of course, but he was certainly the most self-conscious Bond. You can tell this in his voice even today - it’s almost husky in the way he seems to tighten his larynx. Roger, though, was so natural and at ease.

But maybe that’s just a personality thing. Pierce, as a person, can be quite serious and pompous in interviews (even the recent GE commentary) and is at pains to appear wise (the way he’s constantly invoking fate, age, life etc), whereas Roger was happy to recite anecdotes.

1 Like

I don´t think one can detect any “playing” with Brosnan or Craig - that is highly subjective.

And being a huge Sir Roger fan I can nevertheless attest to a general attitude towards him during the 70´s and 80´s (and even 90´s): bad actor, mugging throughout, acting mostly with his eyebrows. Even the wonderful Richard Curtis comedy “The Tall Guy” about an out of work actor (Jeff Goldblum) openly made fun of Sir Roger (“why does he even have a career?”).

So, let’s wait a few more years, and the obvious nostalgia for Brosnan will have his tenure rediscovered.

1 Like

He’s just irish

Haha, maybe :slight_smile: I love Pierce, though, regardless (in a straight way!).

Yes, that was/is an unfortunate attitude which people frequently have about him. In The Saint, of course, he was able to show a little more range as the material demanded it - ruthlessness, for example, righteous anger occasionally. There’s more time to do that sort of thing in a TV show with a limited budget.

1 Like

Agreed - almost criminally overlooked!

Hmm.

I’m not sure I’d go with disinterested to describe Connery in Thunderball. To me, it always came across as the peak of his cool confidence in the roll.

By Thunderball, he wasn’t just playing some guy named Bond, he was him.

Only him.

3 Likes

Good analysis. He’s not bored, he’s just a cool dude who knows what he’s capable of. The definition that works best, in my opinion, is a lazy predator. Someone who knows a killer is nearby (Vargas), doesn’t elicit suspicion and suddenly strikes with a speargun.

Connery speaks about this approach to the role in an interview - seeking to make things look effortless. He achieved that, I think largely because of his own natural charisma.

Definitely.

4 Likes