Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Major Role That Sean Connery Surprisingly Hated

Since first appearing on the silver screen in 1962's "Dr. No," James Bond has captivated audiences with his charm, derring-do, and ability to take down even the most sinister criminals. Over the course of 27 films, including two non-Eon Productions movies, MI-6's top operative has tangled with the likes of Goldfinger, Le Chiffre, and perennial antagonist Blofeld, head of SPECTRE.

Through the decades, seven actors have taken on the 007 code name, with Daniel Craig closing out his five-film run in this year's much-delayed "No Time to Die." For many, the definitive iteration of Bond is the late Sean Connery's take on the superspy. Connery was the first Bond on film, portraying him seven times — the most of any Bond actor — before ending his run in 1983's non-Eon "Never Say Never Again." Yet despite his repeated return to the character, Connery actually came to hate the role.

"Look, there's James Bond"

It may surprise many to learn that Connery's first leading cinematic role came in 1957, just five short years before landing the role that would change the trajectory of his career. In a 1965 interview with Playboy, Connery revealed that he was hesitant about accepting the role given the commitments to a film series should the first outing prove successful. His concerns over a series would come to fruition, though not in the way he expected.

With the success of Dr. No, Eon Productions released a Bond film in 1963, 1964, and 1965 — all with Connery in the lead role. As modern audiences know, successful franchises, like Star Wars and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, become pop culture behemoths that take on a life of their own. But in 1962, such cinematic juggernauts were mostly unheard of. Much to Connery's chagrin, the actor and the character became one in the public's eye.

As long-time friend and fellow actor Michael Caine told the Wall Street Journal in 2020, Connery grew to dislike the attention the role brought him. "He'd be walking down the street and people would say, 'Look, there's James Bond.' That was particularly upsetting to him," Caine said. When asked about a fear of typecasting, Connery was quick to point out to Playboy that he is not Bond, he was fine before Bond, and he would be fine after Bond.

"I have always hated that damned James Bond."

Connery was also bothered by the branded merchandise the Bond franchise spawned, per Deadline. Speaking with the New York Times in 1966, Connery said, "There are even dolls with spikes that protrude from their shoes. It's a lot of rubbish." In the same interview, Connery complained that the Bond films were becoming increasingly reliant on "bigger and better gimmicks," likening the films to "comic strips."

After the first three films, the Scottish actor grew so disinterested and bored with the role that he told Playboy that after he finished filming "Thunderball" (his fourth Bond film) his future as Bond would depend entirely on the paycheck — requiring one million dollars and a cut of the gross profits. Given the success of the early films, the studio did acquiesce to Connery's demands, increasing his salary and adding a back-end deal to the contract for the fifth and sixth Eon films.

While he acknowledged the success and opportunities the Bond films brought him, Connery — sounding very much like a Bond villain — once famously said, "I have always hated that damned James Bond. I'd like to kill him."