Scottish actor Sean Connery played Allan Quatermain in the 2003 film The Extraordinary League, a resounding failure that ultimately led to his retirement two years later at the age of 75. The film, which had a budget of 95 million dollars, only raised 179.2 million worldwide, making good profitability difficult.
Critics harshly charged against the film directed by Stephen Norrington, who stood out in Hollywood with other comic book adaptations such as Blade. Despite Connery’s selectivity in his roles, he trusted the project that Fox was preparing to adapt the comic, which was in charge of acclaimed writer Alan Moore.
Reports from the shooting in Los Angeles Times published showed that Fox had quickly sowed distrust. A good part of the budget had gone to pay Connery, whose presence they considered necessary to give the film an elegance like that of Indiana Jones. The Extraordinary League had to settle for a cast of secondary players with no familiar faces to the public.
The film was released in the summer, on the same day as Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, leading to its box office failure. This, along with budget cuts, led to chaos in the shooting due to the little functionality of the special effects.
Connery ended up so exhausted by production problems, delays, failures with the effects, and mismanagement of the team that he ended up fighting with the director on multiple occasions. Although Norrington already directed a blockbuster like Blade, he was not well-suited for The Extraordinary League, as he lacked the social skills to manage a large production with so many people and resources.
Despite the failure of the film, Connery’s retirement was mainly due to the hostile environment that took place on the filming set, confrontations with its main person in charge, and the need never to live an experience like this again. He criticized the industry’s lack of understanding and the widening gap between the people who know how to make movies and the people who give them the green light.
In conclusion, Connery’s retirement finds its explanation in the difficulty of the production and the confrontations he underwent during the filming of The Extraordinary League, which took a toll on him. After all, we are talking about a septuagenarian actor with ample experience, whose morale and health were no longer able to withstand such a tiring production.