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Sean Connery snub: How future James Bond was told to tone down accent

Sean Connery’s first acting job was in the stage musical ‘South Pacific’ when he was 23 years old. Despite not initially considering any kind of future as a thespian – nor taking it seriously – he would soon realise it was his calling. Then the future James Bond star simply thought of the role as just another job – having had countless from the age of nine. Early into his stint with the theatre production, Sean was dealt a shocking comment. He was advised to tone down his Edinburgh accent so that people could understand and also for his own future success.

Sean Connery is considered one of the defining James Bond actors of the film franchise’s 58-year history. 

He played British secret agent 007 in seven movies including hits ‘From Russia With Love’ and ‘Goldfinger’. 

The newest Bond film, ‘No Time To Die’ will be released on November 12 – after a decision was made to push back screenings amid fears that mass gatherings would help spread coronavirus. 

The spy flick will see Daniel Craig play James Bond for the very last time after five films over a 14-year period.

Beloved Bond actor Sean launched the film adaptations of Ian Fleming’s book series, with ‘Dr No’ in 1962.

But before the star’s fame on the big screens, he had taken a variety of jobs ranging from milkman to coffin builder and enlisting in the Royal Navy. 

He won his first acting role in the 1953 musical tour of ‘South Pacific’ where he was paid £12 a week – the equivalent of £347.50 in today’s money.

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Sean started off in the Seabees chorus before getting to understudy some of the leading characters.

The production’s plotline debated attitudes towards racism during World War 2 through various love stories between US military personnel and women from other countries.

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It was revealed that Sean had previously struggled to bond with fellow cast members as his accent was thought to be “very awkward”.

The actor recalled: “In the beginning very few of the cast would speak to me. For some reason they thought I was Polish!” 

But Sean found a friend in Mr Henderson and quizzed him about how to become a better actor – who candidly told him to tone down his accent. 

He said: “I urged him to get rid of it, and he did soften it down.”

Despite this, an unnamed neighbour who spoke to biographer Mr Callan explained that they could hear Sean’s unique “rolling dialectal accent” in James Bond. 

In the 1967 Bond film ‘You Only Live Twice’ it allegedly emerged when Sean and then-Bond girl ‘Kissy’ – played by Mie Hama – were climbing to the top of a volcano. 

The neighbour believed Sean revealed the accent of his hometown in the sentence “We must get up there”.

They said: “That small sentence, the stress on the demonstrative ‘Up’ – that’s pure Fountainbridge. 

“Get a Glaswegian, anyone, to say that and it’ll be totally different. No doubt, Sean kept on being a Fountainbridger in that regard.”


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