The real reason Sean Connery’s final role failed

There’s a reason you don’t see Sean Connery in movies anymore. The debonaire, bushy-browed Scottish film legend, who turned 90 (yes 90!) in August 2020, per CNN, retired from Hollywood years ago. In fact, he’s rarely seen in public at all. But Connery didn’t leave the acting world behind because of old age; no, a film role sent him over the edge.

The suave star, whom The Guardian called “a dangerously seductive icon of masculinity,” was the first to bring the martini-sipping, continent-hopping James Bond to life on the big screen. The star played 007 for seven films, per Live About, then went on to star in Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, The Untouchables, and countless more classics. He was even hailed “Scotland’s Greatest Living National Treasure!” 

But less “classic” was Connery’s last film. The actor portrayed Allan Quatermain in 2003’s The League of Extraordinary Gentleman. An adaptation of Alan Moore’s graphic novel, the film involved a squad of literary superheroes, like Dr. Jekyll and Captain Nemo, per Polygon, and had serious, pre-Avengers potential. Though the film does have a fast-paced storyline and steampunk vibe, and it did gross $179 million per Box Office Mojo, the film holds a not-so-super 17 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with the BBC even calling it “the Heaven’s Gate of superhero flicks” (ouch). 

So the film was panned. But the shoddy reception of the admittedly strange, X-Men-wannabe flick isn’t why Sean Connery called it quits. 

The actor's last film was apparently made by 'idiots'

Why did Sean Connery retire after The League Of Extraordinary Gentleman? Apparently, it wasn’t due to harsh reviews, but because the on-set experience was so unprofessional, and the director so clueless, that Connery actually left Hollywood for good.

“I’m fed up with the idiots,” Connery said in a 2005 interview with BBC, elaborating: “The ever-widening gap between people who know how to make movies and the people who green-light the movies… I don’t say they’re all idiots. I’m just saying there’s a lot of them that are very good at it.” 

If that’s too vague, he singled out the film’s director, Stephen Norrington, in a 2007 interview per The Hollywood Reporter, saying Norrington should be “arrested for insanity” and couldn’t handle making the flick. “We worked as well as we could, and [I] ended up being heavily involved in the editing and trying to salvage,” Connery said about the film, which was apparently shot on an $85 million budget in Prague. 

According to that interview, on another note, Connery almost came out of retirement to do another Indiana Jones sequel. “I spoke with Spielberg, but it didn’t work out,” Connery said, because “it was not that generous a part.” Fair enough!

But Connery is enjoying retirement and seemingly has no qualms about calling it quits in the biz. “Retirement is just too damned much fun,” he said in a 2007 announcement, per Entertainment Weekly. Sean Connery is a legend and at this point, he can do what he wants.

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