Sean Connery passed away in his sleep at the age of 90. It seems like Hollywood will always miss the movie legend, but fortunately he left many memorable films behind to remember him. He played James Bond seven times, Indiana Jones’s father, Elliot Ness’s mentor in The Untouchables and a Russian submarine captain in Jack Ryan’s first movie adventure, among others. He did not star in The Matrix or Lord of the Rings, but those filmmakers wanted him to.
Sean Connery in ‘The Matrix’?
The groundbreaking 1999 sci-fi movie starred Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne and Carrie Ann Moss. Fishburne played Morpheus, who along with Trinity (Moss) woke Neo (Reeves) from his sleep in the real world and trained him to fight in the matrix. It became a trilogy with Reeves and director Lana Wachowski working on a fourth film right now.
Complex reports that Connery considered two roles in The Matrix. First, the role of Morpheus, which would make sense. In 1999, Connery would be approaching 70 and could have been the mentor figure for Reeves. EW quotes League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Producer Don Murphy reporting Connery said, “I was offered The Matrix twice, and I turned it down because I didn’t understand it.”
Screen Rant reports that Connery later confirmed he turned down the role of The Architect in the Matrix sequels. Well, if he didn’t understand it, that would‘ve made it quite hard to explain the matrix to neo.
Sean Connery in ‘Lord of the Rings’?
Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy would have required Connery to commit to three films at once. Jackson offered Connery the role of Gandalf, which later went to Ian McKellan. Celebrity Net Worth reports that Connery turned down the trilogy for similar reasons, saying he “did not understand the script.”
Lord of the Rings ended up costing Connery more than The Matrix did. He would have collected 15% of the trilogy’s box office, which Celebrity Net Worth valued at $450 million, on top of his $10 million salary. Plus, Gandalf appeared in three Hobbit films too so he would have made even more.
The movie he made instead
After watching The Matrix and Lord of the Rings become massive hits and pop culture phenomena without him, Connery decided to make a movie he didn’t understand. The next one to come his way was The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, based on the Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill comic books.
The film assembled literary legends as a superhero team, including Captain Nemo, Mina Harker, Dorian Gray, Tom Sawyer and Henry Jekyll. Connery played H. Rider Haggard’s adventure hero Allan Quatermain from King Solomon’s Mines, but he didn’t understand LXG either. Murphy’s quote explains he already regretted turning down Lord of the Rings and The Matrix.
“I don’t understand this movie, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to turn it down,’” Murphy said Connery told him.
LXG did not become the next Lord of the Rings or The Matrix and it was the last live-action film in which Connery starred.