Published On: Sat, Mar 16th, 2024

Dr No Bond girl got ‘terrified’ Sean Connery ‘drunk’ before famous scene | Films | Entertainment

Dr No is back on TV screens this weekend. In one of her final interviews before she passed away in 2018, Eunice Gayson, who starred alongside Connery in the 1962 Bond debut, said the movie didn’t just change Connery’s life, it transformed the entire British film industry.

But things got off to a bumpy start, especially when filming the scene that would create a defining moment for the entire franchise in popular culture forever.

Gayson played Sylvia Trench, who was originally intended to be Bond’s ongoing girlfriend throughout the series, until director Terence Young decided to focus on his playboy persona after From Russia With Love.

The actress lifted the lid on Connery’s nerves and a wardrobe mishap that only made the leading man’s jitters even worse.

She first meets Bond in a casino, and it’s actually her character who sets up one of the most famous lines in cinema history when she introduces herself as “Trench, Sylvia Trench.” Bond then responds in the same playful manner.

Gayson said: “It sounds an easy take, but it wasn’t.” When it was time to start filming, Connery kept messing up the line that would go down in history, jumbling in his own name and saying: “Sean Bond, Connery James…”

The actress herself was also off balance after Young decided her dress was the wrong colour. A frantic search kept everyone waited anxiously on set, until a bright red number that was far too large was chopped up and put back together with pins and pegs.

Gayson said: “It was just a piece of fabric held together with clothes pegs. By this time everybody was nervous, Sean above all, bless his heart.”

Young told Gayson to fix Connery and she revealed there was only one simple way to do it: “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.”

The Bond Girl said: “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, James Bond after that.”

Young was thrilled after the take and told Connery: “That’s exactly what I want, I want you to play it just like that.”

Hilariously, Gayson recalled the strapping Scot confessing: “The trouble is I can’t remember what I did.”

Gayson believed the film didn’t just show the world British male stars could be magnetically virile, it also changed the industry for women: “We were always the little wifey part, or the sister or the aunt. But the last thing we were was sexy…. Cleavage? What’s that? That’s a naughty word.

“The film world discovered British women were sexy. They’d never seen them, never been allowed to see them in that kind of role… (Bond) wasn’t only good for Sean’s masculine image and British male actors’ images, it was a breakthrough for British female actresses.”

From Russia With Love was the last time Gayson appeared on the big screen. But she continued acting on stage and stayed connected with James Bond family throughout her life.

In a touching homage to that iconic original scene, her daughter Kate had a casino cameo in 1995’s Goldeneye and Gayson herself made a glamorous appearance on the red carpet at the 2012 Skyfall premiere.

The British star passed away on June 8, 2018, at the age of 90.

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