Michael Bay reflects on directing Sean Connery in The Rock: 'He was a legend'
Connery had a fruitful career by the time he took on the lead role in the 1996 action thriller The Rock, in which he portrayed SAS Captain John Patrick Mason opposite Nicolas Cage, Ed Harris, and John C. McGinley. Bay, who directed the hit , reflected on his experience working with Connery, who calls a "teacher."
"He was a legend. We all have a few teachers in our careers. The ones that imprint something special on your being. Teachers that you haven’t seen in 20 years, but you still remember their wisdom like yesterday. Sean Connery was one of those for me," Bay wrote in an essay on THR.
"I was young-dumb, doing my second movie, The Rock. I had heard he was notoriously tough on directors," he added. "I was terrified when I gave him my first direction: 'Uh, Sean can you please do that less charming?' He said, 'Sure, boy!' 'Boy' was the nickname he gave me."
Bay remembers work on the film after it had gone over time and over budget. Connery volunteered to help him get the funding he needed to finish The Rock properly. The director explains he went out of his way to help him due to his love of movies and because his work ethic "was bar none."
"One funny story: The Rock. Car chase: Sean driving and I’m alone filming him. He slams the brakes; my head hits the window. He says, 'You OK?'" Bay recalls. "I say, 'No, the Disney folks are here to kick my butt for being two days over schedule.' Sean, with that sly look, says, 'You want me to help?'"
"Cut to: Having lunch with the Disney execs in a third-grade classroom, sitting at tiny tables and chairs," he continues. "We looked like giants. I announce that Mr. Connery would like to visit and say hi. Sean comes in, sits down across from the open-mouthed executives. In classic Sean Connery style, he belts out in his Scottish brogue: 'This boy is doing a good job, and you’re living in your Disney Fucking Ivory Tower and we need more fucking money!!' Without missing a beat, they responded. 'OK. How much?'"
Though the most famous role of Connery's career was as secret agent James Bond in five 007 films, plus two more where he'd reprise the role, he leaves behind more than 60 other films as part of his legacy.