How Sean Connery saved time bandits, based on director Terry Gilliam
History will remember the late actor Sean Connery as one of the manliest actors to ever see screen. But while there wasn’t anyone better at playing the role of alpha male in an action movie, Connery didn’t mind dipping his toes into other genres as well. In an interview, filmmaker Terry Gilliam revealed how his cult classic fantasy adventure film Time bandits was saved thanks to Connery’s involvement.
When Terry Gilliam and his writing partner Michael Palin set out to write Time Bandits. This included a scene in which the character of King Agamemnon is Sean Connery. The scene was meant to be just a joke as they never believed the James Bond actor would accept the role. Fortunately, influential manager Denis O’Brien brought up the scene while playing golf with Connery, and the actor responded with gusto.
“”[Denis] mentioned the possibility of being in the movie and Sean liked the idea. I think he was a [Monty] Python fan. I am convinced that the reason he said yes was because he felt guilty about being an absent father. And here was the chance to become a surrogate father. ”
Time Bandits tells the story of eleven year old Kevin, a resourceful kid who loves learning about history. A chance encounter with a group of dwarves carrying an enchanted card takes Kevin on a whirlwind journey through time. In addition to meeting a number of famous people from history, Kevin is temporarily adopted by King Agamemnon, played by Sean Connery.
According to Gilliam, the demands on the story that he had undertaken to turn it into a film had been overwhelming for him on the set in Morocco by then Sean Connery came in to lend a hand.
“He literally saved my ass. Sean looked at my storyboards and said, ‘Forget this, you won’t be able to do this boy. So I started tossing pages out. All he said was,’ Yes, sir. ‘ I suddenly felt like I was in the hands of an incredible actor with great experience. And we got through that first day thanks to his pragmatism, not my ambition. ”
On Connery’s advice, Gilliam cut his overly ambitious script to something that could be shot on time and on budget. This also included completely removing a scene where Connery was supposed to mount his horse that the actor was convinced would not look good.
At the end of Time Bandits, Connery made a brief appearance as a firefighter to ask the audience if the whole adventure had been a dream. Gilliam says the scene was added at Connery’s suggestion and hastily filmed in a single day in England, with the crew working to the actor’s busy schedule.
“”[Connery] I think I was back in England to meet his accountant for a day. And I got him to come out of nowhere to just put on a fire helmet, wink, and get in the truck and leave, and that was it. And it ended this brilliant ending that would not have been there without Sean and his tax problems. ”
Sean Connery passed away last weekend. This news first appeared on The Hollywood Reporter.
Topics: time bandits
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