Sean Connery Quit Acting 20 Years Ago: Did This Movie Made Him Retire?!

MOVIE NEWS – In 2006, Sean Connery retired from acting after 52 years, reportedly because of the massive failure of his 2003 film The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen…



The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (TLoEG) was released in 2003. It may have been working in the infamous film that finally convinced acting giant Sean Connery to retire. The film was panned by critics, audiences and, predictably, creator Alan Moore, whose dislike of film adaptations of his work is legendary. Actor Sean Connery also commented on the film’s failure. He later hinted that it was a factor in his decision to end his career after more than 50 years.

Connery only officially announced his retirement in 2006 when he received a lifetime achievement award from the American Film Institute.

In 2007, Sean Connery revealed (via BBC News) that he was almost lured out of retirement by Steven Spielberg in favour of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. However, he decided that “retirement was too much fun”. Connery made one last film before he died in 2020. This was a voice role for Sir Billi in the 2012 animated film of the same name. Presumably, it was less demanding for him to record dialogue for an animated movie than his experience in TLoEG.


Why did Sean Connery retire after TLoEG?


Sean Connery’s health played no small part in his official retirement in 2006. At the time, the actor referred to a successful operation to remove a tumour on his kidney at an AFI ceremony. However, it is widely accepted, though never officially confirmed, that the main reason for Connery’s retirement was his experience on the set of TLoEG. Connery did not get on well with his director Stephen Norrington. At least, it’s hard to conclude otherwise because he repeatedly called him ‘insane’ and ‘lunatic’. The actor and director regularly clashed on set.

Subsequent interviews with Connery reveal that these clashes ultimately led him to retire from Hollywood.



Sean Connery



Norrington apparently preferred to work on the VFX for the film rather than with the actors. In an L.A. Times article about the 2003 premiere, a source claimed that although Norrington was a talented visual filmmaker, he was not a “people person”. This clearly angered Connery, who told the New Zealand Herald in 2005 that he was “fed up with the idiots … the ever-widening gap between people who know how to make movies and the people who greenlight the movies.” Having not worked on a film since The Alliance at the time, it is likely that Connery was referring to his complicated relationship with Norrington and the studio.


Would TLoEG really be such a terrible film?


According to an article in the L.A. Times, the cost of hiring Sean Connery was one of the main reasons why the film failed at the box office. Fox reportedly spent significant money to secure Connery for the film. This left less money to hire younger stars who might have attracted a wider audience. In addition, the filming of the movie was plagued by disasters.

During production, a flood caused the loss of $7 million worth of sets, delaying production for three weeks and leaving them without an effects producer until the last minute.

To add insult to injury, TLoEG was launched against the first Pirates of the Caribbean. The film was based on a hugely popular amusement park ride and, starring Orlando Bloom and Jonny Depp, was an obvious choice for younger audiences. Worse still, Alan Moore fans were put off by the reviews. These revealed that Fox and Stephen Norrington had turned the source material into a commonplace adventure film. The film could have brought an undignified end to Sean Connery’s career. But his acerbic humour and outspoken opinion of the film ensured that its failure is still in the film’s legacy.

Source: BBC, L.A. Times, New Zealand Herald

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