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Sean Connery was the oldest and best James Bond of all time. He flew onto screen in the very first 007 movie, Dr. No, in 1962, and kept his role as the spy for another five years. After 1967’s You Only Live Twice, Connery left the role, but returned four years later in Diamonds Are Forever. The Hollywood icon then infamous announced he would “never” play Bond again.
Flash forward to 1983, Connery was coaxed into playing the character just one last time.
Working outside of production company Eon’s clutches, Connery played the international spy for the final time in Never Say Never Again – the title which alluded to Connery’s strained history with the character.
However it has now been revealed Connery made an appearance as Bond some 15 years later on the set of The Avengers.
Mark Edlitz’s latest book The Lost Adventures of James Bond told of how Connery became the legendary character one final time in the 1990s for future No Time To Die star Ralph Fiennes.
In the book, director Jeremiah S Chechik recalled of a happy time on set of 1998 movie The Avengers, which starred Fiennes, Uma Thurman, and Connery.
Chechik said: “The shooting was a pleasure. One day on Ralph’s birthday, we were shooting with Sean in an interior storm that we had created on a soundstage. Soaked as we all were during this odd sword fight, we were in great spirits.
“Sean was having fun, no easy feat for that curmudgeon, as it was not golf-related. Ralph and I occasionally winked and nodded at each other amazed that we were both working with the icon. Throughout the shoot, Sean and I shared a lot more than a single whiskey together and had a pretty good relationship on and off stage.
“During the day, I approached him when Ralph was off set, to film a small birthday greeting from the James Bond of old (something Sean rarely does/did). So cameras on, rolling, action and out of the mythic Sean Connery’s mouth came the perfectly rendered and captured greeting which included the famous: ‘Happy Birthday greeting, from Bond… James Bond.’”
Upon whether Connery utilised his legendary Bond accent, Chechik responded: “Yes, yes, and yes. In character. That’s what made the moment.”
Unfortunately for fans of the franchise, the footage of Connery becoming Bond for the final time has not been released.
Chechik himself explained he “never knew what happened to that clip”.
Connery was quite vocal in his disdain for returning to the Bond franchise.
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Whilst promoting Never Say Never Again in 1983, Connery did some press to promote the film.
And he was quite open in revealing why he wanted to make a big comeback for the final time.
Speaking to interviewer Harold Greene at the time, Connery explained the only reason he would return to the franchise.
He said: “It’s really dense in terms of the story and subplot and texture – It’s like a detective story – and I have to take quite a bit of responsibility for that.”
Connery continued: “Because I insisted that they go back to that sort of movie if I were going to do it, which, I suppose, is a certain kind of nostalgia on my part.”
He later added: “I prefer the story – the detective story.
“Getting good actors in all the parts across the board, and getting a more substantial type of film.”
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