Sean Connery may be the most iconic James Bond in the history of the 50 year-old franchise, but the Scottish actor was crushed by the pressure that came with the Bond fame, causing a massive rift between him and the film’s producers, Albert “Cubby” Broccoli and Harry Saltzman.
“I think this was a business situation that was not going well,” Saltzman’s daughter, Hilary, told Fox411. “I think it’s a shame that it crossed into their personal relationship.”
“Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007,” which airs Friday night on EPIX, unveils the tumultuous drama that plagued the Bond franchise throughout its impressive history, from Broccoli and Saltzman’s breakup, to the duplicitous manner in which George Lazenby became Bond, to Kevin McClory’s determination to undermine United Artists’ Bond franchise.
But most importantly, the documentary magnifies the divisive drama between Connery, Broccoli and Saltzman. According to the film, Connery felt he was unjustly paid compared to the amount of work and oppressive media attention he was receiving at the time. A breaking point for Connery came during the making of “You Only Live Twice” in 1967, when the superstar was photographed in a bathroom. Connery asked for additional compensation, and when Broccoli and Saltzman declined, tempers flared. Connery walked, and the producers lost their iconic leading man. (Connery did return once more in “Diamonds Are Forever” after Lazenby’s poor reception as Bond.)
“It’s not necessarily a producer’s job to say they’d like to give you oodles more money,” Saltzman said. “It’s for the agent to sort that out. Maybe his agent didn’t do what he should have done for his client. But they were so close. It was a very close family of people.”
The documentary shows the familial atmosphere Broccoli and Saltzman developed with the Bond cast and crew, especially with archival footage of Connery vacationing and partying with the Broccoli and Saltzman families before the split. Hilary says that to this day, Connery has been kind and gentlemanly to her, despite his dispute with her father.
Broccoli's daughter Barbara, the producer of all Bond films since 1995's “Goldeneye,” told FOX411 the rift really hurt her father.
“The original filmmakers were Cubby and Harry, Ian Fleming, Terence Young and Sean Connery. They all created something extraordinary,” said Broccoli. “They changed cinema history. They pushed the envelope. Look at the way those films were made. I mean [Production Designer] Ken Adams, he changed the look of cinema. Peter Hunt, the editor, changed editing. They did something revolutionary and I think whenever you create something together, it’s a tragedy when you split up. Like a marriage, it’s the child that matters, and the child in this case is the extraordinary legacy.”
Broccoli and Saltzman hit a snafu with the fourth film “Thunderball,” which would haunt the franchise all the way up to “Casino Royale” in 2006. Producer Kevin McClory, a close friend to Ian Fleming, claimed ownership of the story to “Thunderball” and cried plagiarism. After settling a lawsuit, Fleming gave McClory future filming rights to “Thunderball.” Broccoli and Saltzman, in an attempt to keep Bond in their family, made a deal with McClory to make “Thunderball,” under their brand and gave him the sole producer credit.
Saltzman and Broccoli thought the worst was behind them after “Thunderball,” but in 1983, McClory remade the Bond film with Warner Bros. as “Never Say Never Again.” McClory had managed to break Fleming’s character away from United Artists’ hold.
To add salt into an already open wound, McClory hired Sean Connery to return as Bond!
Broccoli, after his own feud and separation from Saltzman, was releasing “Octopussy” with Roger Moore at the same time McClory was debuting “Never Say Never Again” with Connery. Broccoli and Saltzman were crushed to see a battle of the Bonds between Moore and Connery.
“I felt a little sad. You created something and now suddenly you have these splinters and split-offs,” said Hilary Saltzman. “I think it was Sean’s way to say, look I’m still desired and I’m going to get paid what I should be paid. I’m happy for him that he did it. It wasn’t the greatest film, but they got it out of their system. Yes, he was a great Bond, but he’s had some extraordinary films and some extraordinary roles since. It’s sad to me that he can’t focus on the accomplishments that he was able to have as a result of being Bond, as opposed thinking he got stumped for some short change.”
Years after the dust settled on the battle of the Bonds, Barbara Broccoli was relieved to see Sean and her father briefly reconnect before his passing in 1996.
“I’m happy that they made peace. We have a lot to thank Sean Connery for," she said. "If were not for him, we would not be sitting here 50 years later.”
“Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007” premieres on EPIX during World Bond Day, Friday October 5th.