James Bond ‘Never Say Never Again’ 1983 trailer
Long before he was famous, Sean Connery was well known and feared by the local gangs in Edinburgh after he single-handedly beat six members sent to intimidate him.
At 6’2, he had bodybuilding and amateur football success and was even offered a contract with Manchester City in 1953.
He’d also worked as a welder and bouncer following a short stint in the navy and was a strapping, physically imposing man.
Unlike some Hollywood action heroes, he really was as tough off-screen as on.
However, his “cockiness” in his strength led to broken bones when he goaded another star to hit him harder.
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Connery, who is back on our screens today in Never Say Never, told chat show host Jay Leno the full embarrassing story, which you can watch below.
The actor had finished his main run as 007 in 1971’s Diamonds Are Forever but was tempted back to the role by a rival producer. Apart from being offered a lot of money, there was doubtless the appeal of irritating Bond Producer Cubby Broccoli, with whom Connery had bitterly fought.
1983’s Never Say Never Again was pitted in cinemas against Roger Moore’s Octopussy. the actors were 53 and 56 respectively at the time.
The greying and balding Connery wore a toupee on the shoot and may not have been in quite the impressive physical shape of his Bond glory days.
He also had an honorary black belt in kyokushin karate but a run-in with a young aspiring actor and martial arts expert left him paying the price for being too “cocky.”
At the time Steven Seagal was an aikido master. He had lived in Japan in the early 1970s, and married Miyako Fujitani, whose family owned a martial arts school where he also taught.
Seagal returned permanently to the US in 1983 and opened an aikido dojo in Hollywood – just in time for the Bond filmmakers to come calling.
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Three years later, chat show host Leno asked the actor whether any stunts had ever gone wrong on film set.
Connery said: “A number of years ago with a guy who has become very successful, Steven Seagal… We were going to do a film called Never Say Never Again and there was a possibility I was going to do aikido and what have you.
“I got a’hold of Steven and we had this training in the building where I had an apartment and he was really very, very good and everything. And I got a little cocky because I thought I knew what I was doing…”
Connery added: “The principle is it’s defense, so it’s a pyramid and I got a bit flash.”
Raising his hand to his face, he said: “I did that – and he broke my wrist…”
Increasingly, Connery was still so much of a tough guy that he brushed off the pain at the time, not realising how serious it was. He added: “It is still broken, I just found out last year.”
Connery then turned it all into a joke by saying his wrist is mainly fine but his injury prevents him putting his hand in his pocket to get money out.
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