|By Alan Jones|
Connerys performance in The Avengers is quite unique
Scotlands best-loved and most re- spected actor plays an
out-and-out villain for the first time. Its the latest role in a
long career peppered with public adoration, critical acclaim, an Oscar
and a Golden Globe for The Untouchables, a BAFTA for The
Name of the Rose, and numerous cultural honours.
His nasty side is exposed as Sir August de Wynter in producer Jerry Weintraubs screen version of the cult 60s TV show, a megalomaniac businessman whose ability to manipulate the worlds weather and bring London to a standstill with mammoth snow drifts makes him the most powerful man on Earth. Thats De Wynter not Weintraub.
On location at Shepperton Studios last Summer, 67-year-old Connery explained, August controls the worlds weather because hes absolutely captivated by it. Hes got a sister called June, another called April, and it all takes place in that wonderful world of The Avengers.
Connerys main reason for agreeing to take on the de Wynter role is because of his long friendship with producer Weintraub. I knew him in Hollywood about 15 years ago and weve crossed paths a few times. Weve also played quite a lot of golf together. Hes more of an old school producer, a real first class professional, not like some of the Mickey Mouse crowd we have. You know, who are executive producers because the lead actor knew their brother or something, but are really incompetent.
I read the script and I knew that Ralph Fiennes was playing John Steed and Uma Thurman was playing Emma Peel. That made a major difference about whether I would do it or not. No matter how good or bad your villain is, the piece wont work unless those two do. Theyre perfect and even better than I imagined theyd be when I read it. But once I got into what I wanted to do with Sir August, make him much more operatic and more eccentric in a richer vein, then I agreed to do the picture.
Our scriptwriter Don Macpherson came down to my home in Spain and we went through the whole thing. One of the conditions I made was that my scenes had a comparable visual impact to what was already in the piece. It meant going to locations like Blenheim Palace for the big organ, Syon House in Greenwich and Stowe Castle for this magnificent ballroom sequence because I wanted my scenes to have that sort of grandeur. I mean, we have even built Trafalgar Square at Shepperton Studios. The Avengers is that big a production.
Picture copyright: Warner Brothers
|Read the full interview in the September issue of Film Review|
|"We have even built Trafalgar Square at Shepperton Studios. The Avengers is that big a production.|