It's no secret how much of a pioneer Sean Connery was on the silver screen. His passing on October 31 at the age of 90 sent immeasurable ripples throughout the industry. Writing to The Hollywood Reporter, Michael Bay, who directed Connery in 1996's The Rock penned a tribute to the original James Bond star recalling the time when production was over budget for the blockbuster film that co-starred Nicolas Cage.
Car chase: Sean driving and I'm alone filming him. 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.
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?" He 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.
In The Rock, Connery played John Patrick Mason, an ex-con with intimate knowledge of Alcatraz Island, the former prison taken over by rogue military threatening terrorism with missiles if their demands aren't met. Mason reluctantly partners with a mild-mannered chemist played by Cage. The film ended up becoming a tremendous box office success grossing over $335 million and further solidify Bay as one of Hollywood's premiere action directors following his theatrical debut in Bad Boys (1995).