His performances over the last decade had not
been stable, one good film and several poor ones. But the next three
years would place Connery again onto the filmatic map. In 1985 was
‘Highlander’ – a well directed and acted offering
exploring Conor MacCloud – the man who couldn’t die without
losing his head! He won the respect of his industry peers, who honored
him with the British Film Academy award for ‘The Name of the
Rose’ (1986) and an American Oscar for ‘The Untouchables’
(1987) (which also helped make a star of Kevin Costner). Costner then
repaid the favour by casting Connery as Richard the Lionheart in ‘Robin
Hood: Prince of Thieves’ (1991) where the Scot had the most
highly publicised ‘surprise’ cameo of that year).
But it was ‘The Untouchables’ that made his a box office
success again and his portrayal of an overweight Irish American cop
seeking some redemption for his demons was just what Sean needed and
he finally won his first American Academy Award for it.
It is this (poor) critics personal opinion that his best performance
was as the academic priest in ‘Name of the Rose’, seeking
to prove the (non) presence of the Devil in a Benedictine monastery.
The film raised a number of socio-economic issues about the Catholics
churches attitude to its ‘flock’ in the early 14th century.
Playing alongside a terrifying F Murray Abraham and on-form Michael
Lonsdale, the film also afforded the opportunity for Connerys beautiful
and moving interaction with Christian Slater as his novice.
Although his mercurial temperament and occasionally overbearing nature
is well known, Sean is nonetheless widely sought out by actors and directors
who crave the thrill of working with him, among them Harrison Ford,
Steven Spielberg, and George Lucas, who collaborated with Connery on
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), where the Sean played Jones'
father. He served as executive producer on the film ‘Medicine
Man’ (1992), and continued to take on greater behind-the-camera
responsibilities on his films, serving as both star and executive producer
on Rising Sun (1993), Just Cause (1995), and The Rock (1996). He graduated
to full producer on Entrapment (1999), and, like a true Scot, he brought
the project in under budget; the film was a massive commercial success
and paired Connery in a credible onscreen romance with Catherine Zeta-Jones,
a beauty 40 years his junior. He also received a unusual hipster accolade
in Trainspotting (1996), in which one of the film's Gen-X dropouts (from
Scotland, significantly enough) frequently discusses the relative merits
of Connery's body of work.
Appearing as Allan Quartermain in 2003's comic-to-screen adaptation
of ‘The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’, the seventy-three
year old screen legend proved that he still had stamina to spare and
that despite his age he could still appear entirely believable as a
comic-book superhero. A megastar through the 1990s and now the 21st
century, Sean Connery commands one of moviedom's highest salaries; not
so much for his own ego-massaging as for the good of his native Scotland,
to which he continued to donate a sizable chunk of his earnings.
He has been a vocal supporter of Scottish nationalism, which, it was
alleged, cost him a knighthood in 1998. This omission was made good
in the 2000 New Year honours. His first marriage was to actress Diane
Cilento, and their actor son, Jason Connery played Ian Fleming, James
Bond's creator, in the telemovie Spymaker: ‘The Secret Life of
lan Fleming’ (1990). He has lived in Spain for many years with
his second wife, artist Micheline Roquebrune.
I have always hated that damn James Bond. I'd like to kill him.
may not make the world go round, but I must admit that it makes the
films to see:
The Name of the Rose (1986)
A Bridge too far (1977)
Diamonds are forever (1971)