has denied using his position as one of cinema’s greatest stars to write himself out of a film about a notorious Hollywood scandal.
Half a century ago Connery was an unknown actor when he was caught up in a violent relationship between Hollywood legend Lana Turner and her American gangster boyfriend Johnny Stompanato. Connery was rumoured to be having an affair with Turner and the jealous mobster pulled a gun on him at one point.
Keanu Reeves and Catherine Zeta-Jones are in talks to play the starring roles in a film about the relationship between the actress and the hoodlum, which ended with Stompanto dead on Turner’s bedroom floor with a knife in his stomach.
But, in a new film about the affair, Connery has disappeared from the story. Connery denies his absence has anything to do with him. Speaking from his home in the Bahamas, he said he’d had no discussions with the producers about the film. “I’m not involved,” he insisted.
Connery said he knew nothing about the film, despite his friendship with Zeta-Jones and the fact that he and the film’s writer are represented by the same agency. He said: “The first I’ve heard of it is this moment.”
Turner was a sexy blonde, marketed by MGM as “The Sweater Girl” in the late 1930s. But drink and relationship problems marked her personal life . She was in her late 30s when she came to Britain to make Another Time, Another Place in 1957. She played an American journalist who has an affair with a BBC reporter, played by 27-year-old Connery. There was speculation the kissing continued off-screen.
Stompanato flew over from the US, arrived unexpectedly on set and in front of witnesses pointed a gun in Connery’s face and told him to keep away from his girl. Connery twisted the pistol from Stompanato’s grip, while his other fist delivered a blow to the gangster’s nose.
Back in the US, Stompanato kept a low profile, staying away from the Oscars, where Turner was up for best actress for Peyton Place. Connery was in town , and met up again with Turner at an Oscar-night party.
Turner suffered beatings from her enraged boyfriend, who knew Connery was back on the scene. A week after the Oscars, Stompanato was dead.
The official verdict was “justifiable homicide” by Turner’s teenage daughter, who feared for her mother’s life . One of Stompanato’s associates leaked private letters, which mentioned Connery, to the press.
The new film is provisionally entitled Stompanato , but there is no news on who might play Connery. “He’s not in the film,” said a spokeswoman for the US production company 3 Arts Entertainment . “He’s not in the script. The script came to us after it was written, so you could maybe contact the writer.”
But scriptwriter Sebastian Gutierrez is “unavailable” for comment indefinitely, according to his at CAA – the agency which also represents Connery.
Asked for his views on the upcoming film , Connery said: “My attitude is indifference.” He refused to discuss Turner or Stompanato. 04 September 2005