The passing of Sean Connery has resulted in dozens of heartfelt tributes from around Hollywood, none more memorable than a remembrance penned for THR by the late actor’s “The Rock” director Michael Bay. The 1996 action thriller from Bay and producer Jerry Bruckheimer starred Connery alongside Nicolas Cage and Ed Harris in the story of a government counterstrike team tasked with breaking into Alcatraz to prevent a nerve gas attack on San Francisco. When Connery found out Disney was upset with Bay for shooting over schedule, he took matters into his own hands.
“‘The Rock.’ Car chase: Sean driving and I’m alone filming him,” Bay writes. “He slams the brakes; my head hits the window. He says, ‘You OK?’ 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. 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.”
Bay continues, “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?'”
Connery’s insistence that Disney throw down more money to finish “The Rock” was all the studio executives needed to hear in order to give in to Bay’s request. As the director concludes, “[Connery] did it because he loved movies. He loved excellence and doing the best he could. His work ethic was bar none, the best I’ve ever experienced.”
“The Rock” carried a production budget of $75 million and went on to earn $335 million at the worldwide box office, becoming the seventh highest grossing film at the U.S. box office in 1996. Connery would only go on to star in five more films in his career, including the 2000 drama “Finding Forester” and his last movie performance in 2003’s “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.”