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New 007 Set Story Reveals How Sean Connery Needed A Real Life Pick-Me-Up Ahead Of Filming His James Bond Introduction

Hindsight shows that the history of James Bond movies Sean Connery’s inaugural tenure as 007 was the shadow that would hang over all others that would follow. To this day, the first Bond is the best Bond to some fans, and those who’d argue against that can at least understand why it would be said. However, it wasn’t like the actor just showed up in a tuxedo and said, “Bond, James Bond” with no notes. 

Sean Connery as James Bond in Dr. No

(Image credit: EON Productions)

How A Couple Of Drinks Helped Sean Connery Get Into 007 Character

The Express has newly resurfaced some remarks from past interviews with two of Connery’s Dr. No co-stars, which paints the picture of a very nervous actor. It was apparently up to actor Eunice Gayson, best known as Sylvia Trench in the first two 007 adventures, to remedy this stage fright. She revealed as much in the following story, from one of her final interviews in 2018: 

In the final take, he was so easy and assured, but in order to achieve that I was seconded to take him into the restaurant and have a drink or two. As he’d been on the wagon for several months before filming started, I was worried how it would affect him. … it did affect him, but in a nice way because he came back full of the Bond image. He said (the line) in the most wonderful way. … The director Terence Young said ‘That’s exactly what I want, I want you to play it just like that.’ Sean said to me, ‘The trouble is I can’t remember what I did!’

The cinematic incarnation of Ian Fleming’s James Bond was still a new prospect 60 years ago, even though Fleming had tried to adapt Moonraker before it would truly take off. The words “Bond, James Bond” set the tone for decades of movie magic, and by time Sean Connery got into the swing, the 007 fandom heated up accordingly. Which, according to another famous Bond co-star, was the furthest thing from the first impression Connery had made before filming.

Lois Maxwell and Sean Connery share a hug at the office in Dr. No.

(Image credit: Danjaq, LLC and MGM)

Why Sean Connery Was Probably So Nervous While Filming Dr. No

There’s a pretty good reason why even Sean Connery had the living daylights scared out of him while making Dr. No. Lois Maxwell, the original Moneypenny herself, said as much in a 1986 interview with the Sydney Morning Herald. Recounting her first meeting with the legendary actor, and how he’d changed over the years, here’s how Maxwell measured Connery’s progression: 

I had first met Sean in Cubby's office back at the beginning. He had that wonderful atmosphere of menace and moved, as Cubby said, like a panther. But he was still a poor young actor in rumpled corduroys who looked like he lived in a bedsit. He had been taught everything from how to dress and where to buy his shirts to table manners. His Scottish accent was ironed out. In Dr. No they had to film his dialogue one line at a time. … By 1964, however, when we had the party at the Dorchester for the third film, Goldfinger, he was very much his own man.

Indeed, by the time the third Bond movie had arrived, the formula found its first major stride. Gadgets, girls, and gulps of martinis would permeate the films that followed the Sean Connery era of 007; along with those three iconic words.  More importantly, Sir Connery would find his voice as an actor, and go on to use it in the many iconic non-Bond roles he'd go on to play throughout his career.

Reading stories like this only puts a finer point on just how the James Bond series has changed over the decades. By the time Daniel Craig accepted the offer to play Bond, standard operating procedure had changed to the point where Craig got his drinks in before filming his introduction. While people criticize Commander Bond’s drinking, we should all toast the liquid refreshment of our choice to the fact that without Eunice Gayson taking Sean Connery out for drinks, we may never have had a reason to celebrate in the first place.

As the current word on the hunt for a new James Bond is non-existent, we’ll be waiting for some time to find out who gets to have the 007 experience next. In the meantime, there’s still plenty of upcoming spy movies and shows to keep things entertaining.  

Mike Reyes
Mike Reyes

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.