How Sean Connery convinced Christopher Reeve to stick with Superman

Contributed by
Dec 14, 2012, 4:31 PM EST

Christopher Reeve, arguably the greatest Superman of all time, once had doubts about his role as the Man of Steel, and get this—the guy who helped erase those doubts was none other than James Bond himself, actor Sean Connery.

That's what's been revealed in an interview given by the late Tom Mankiewicz, the legendary screenwriter who contributed to both Superman: The Movie and its sequel, as well as a couple of James Bond films. Mankiewicz spoke to Empire Online shortly before his death on July 31, 2010.

Mankiewicz, who helped shape both the characters of Bond and Clark Kent/Superman, revealed that he put Christopher Reeve in contact with Sean Connery at Reeve's request because the actor had fears about being typecast in the role of Superman:

It's amazing that he was thinking about it at the time because (the film had not come out and) he had only been in one (other) movie in a supporting part. His first concern was—and it's a young actor's concern—"Am I going to be Superman for the rest of my life?" He wanted me to get him in touch with Sean Connery because I had done Diamonds Are Forever with Sean and I knew him pretty well. He said, "Sean Connery will know about typecasting because he doesn't play Bond anymore. I've got to talk to him." He was so earnest.

One night there was a party. I knew Sean wouldn't want to talk to him about it in that way; Sean could be a prickly guy too. Well, we were there and there was Sean. Chris said, "Oh, please. I've got to talk to him." I went up to Sean and said, "The kid playing Superman is over there and he wants to talk to you about typecasting." Sean said, "Ahh, geez, Boy-o." Sean used to call me "Boy-o". I was only twenty-seven when I wrote Diamonds Are Forever so I was "Boy-o" to him.

But I persisted, "Do me a favour and just talk to him." He agreed finally, and then he said to Chris, "In the first place, if Boy-o wrote the script it's probably not going to be a f--king hit." He loved to take the mickey out of me. He said, "So, you don't have to worry about that. Now, if it is a hit, then find yourself something completely different to do right away." Which I guess was why Chris did Somewhere In Time, a love story. Then Sean added, "By the way, if it is a big hit, get yourself the best f--king lawyer in the world and stick it to them." Then, the favour granted, he walked away. I said to Chris, "Well, there's your advice!"

On the one hand, the advice seems to have worked, because Reeve was convinced to continue in the role (though it's intriguing to wonder how things might have worked out differently if he hadn't met up with Connery). But on the other hand, Reeve was right all along, because he never really could shake that typecasting curse, no matter how hard he tried.

Still, it's pretty awesome to learn the role one icon had in the making of another, don't you think?