As suave and sophisticated as he was strapping on-screen, Connery established 007 as the ultimate gentleman spy. However, the star had come from a very different background and long-term co-star Maxwell revealed just how much the Scot changed over the course of the first few Bond movies.
Maxwell was there from the very start of Connery’s journey when he was cast in the role by producer Cubby Broccoli.
She said: “I had first met Sean in Cubby’s office back at the beginning. He had that wonderful atmosphere of menace and moved, as Cubby said, like a panther. But he was still a poor young actor in rumpled corduroys who looked like he lived in a bedsit.
“He had been taught everything from how to dress and where to buy his shirts to table manners. His Scottish accent was ironed out. In Dr No they had to film his dialogue one line at a time.”
In fact, Connery had originally given up drinking before he filmed Dr No, but his co-star Eunice Grayson revealed he needed liquid courage to deliver what would become the most iconic line in the entire franchise.
The novice actor struggled trying to deliver the classic, “Bond, James Bond” riposte.
Gayson recalled how Connery stumbled repeatedly, saying: “Sean Bond, Connery James…’
In the final take, he was so easy and assured but in order to achieve that I was seconded to take him into the restaurant and have a drink or two. As he’d been on the wagon for several months before filming started, I was worried how it would affect him.”
“Oh ho, it did affect him but in a nice way because he came back full of the Bond image, he said it (the famous line) in the most wonderful way. Every woman in the world wanted to meet Bond, Jame Bond after that.
“The director Terence Young said ‘That’s exactly what I want, I want you to play it just like that.’ Sean said to me, ‘The trouble is I can’t remember what I did.’”
Maxwell revealed that, as his confidence grew, Connery even began to improvise a little with the script: “In From Russia With Love, Lotte Lenya was trying to kill Bond by kicking him with a poisoned knife in her boot. Instead, he kills her, and Connery added the line, ‘At least she had her kicks’.”
JAMES BOND YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE IS ON ITV ON SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 5 AT 1.10PM