Pierce Brosnan bids farewell to James Bond with “Die Another Day”. To celebrate 007’s twentieth film adventure, director Lee Tamahori has proposed an appearance by Sean Connery. A cameo from the first performer of the British spy deemed dangerous by the producers.
Die another day : Happy Birthday, Mr. Bond!
In 2002, James Bond celebrated his fortieth cinematic anniversary with Die another day. The twentieth opus of the license, the feature film is also the last with Pierce Brosnan. Four years later, Daniel Craig takes over with Casino Royale, much to the regret of its predecessor.
The farewell between the Irish actor and the character created by Ian Fleming begins with difficulty. On a mission in North Korea to arrest a colonel who smuggles arms and blood diamonds, 007 is betrayed by a mole and taken prisoner. Tortured and then traded for a terrorist, Bond is struck off the British secret service by M (Judi Dench).
Not intending to stop there, the disowned MI6 agent sets out to investigate on his behalf, determined to uncover the identity of the snitch. On his way, James Bond meets Jinx (Halle Berry), a spy who also seeks to stop this mysterious trafficking. Their research leads them to Gustave Graves (Toby Stephens), an enigmatic diamond dealer about to inaugurate a dangerous creation in Iceland called Icarus.
Rosamund Pike, Rick Yune, John Cleese, Michael Madsen, Samantha Bond, Colin Salmon and Madonna complete the cast of Die another day. Directed by Lee Tamahori (The Soul of the Warriors, At Knives Out), the film is the first in the franchise to use CGI. This gives rise to ever more improbable situations, starting with polar chases with an Aston Martin that can become invisible.
Too dangerous a concept?
To celebrate the 40 gentleman’s candles in the service of His Majesty, Die another day multiplies the nods to its predecessors. Halle Berry’s appearance on the scene evokes, for example, that of Ursula Andress in James Bond vs. Dr. No. Like Sean Connery in Goldfinger, laser beams brush against it and fail to cut it.
Another envisaged tribute is the surprise appearance of the first performer of 007. Asked by Total Film in 2002 and quoted by Cinema Blend, Lee Tamahori explains:
Thought that would be great: Bond gets a message to go to Scotland, where he meets Connery, who tells him: ‘I was 007 like you. Let me tell you something, young man. We’re supposed to die for this job. But I got out of it. I had enough’. I thought the audience would have loved it, but everyone thought it was too dangerous a concept.
The cameo could have confirmed the theory that “James Bond” is actually a code name, who go against continuity wanted in feature films up to Casino Royale. According to IMDb, a rumor broadcast on television claims in November 2002 that Sean Connery would have shot a scene in which he played the father of the spy for Die another day. What deny the producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, who assure that it would have been useless to spend money and to move the actor for an unused sequence.
From spy to gamekeeper
Ten years later, during the promotion of Sky Fall, Sam Mendes confirms that the presence of the first 007 was once again considered. Sean Connery could have held the role of Kincade, the game warden of the Bond estate. But the filmmaker preferred to abandon the idea, believing that his appearance would have taken viewers out of the feature film.
The director thus declares during an interview for the HuffPost :
I think this is problematic. (…) Connery is Bond and he’s not going to come back into another character’s shoes. (…) So it was a very brief flirtation with that thought, but it couldn’t happen, because I think it would have distracted attention.
The excellent Albert Finney finally lends his features to Kincade, the only family left to James Bond.