22 July 2014

Jason Connery

British actor Jason Connery (1963) is the son of actors Sean Connery and Diane Cilento. He had his breakthrough role as Robin Hood in the TV series Robin of Sherwood (1986). Since then, Connery appeared in over 30 films, television movies and series, and nowadays he also works as a film director and producer.

Jason Connery
German collectors card by Bravo.

Jason Connery
British postcard by Santoro Graphics, London, no. BW 136. Photo: Paul Cox / Idols.

A plausible philandering wastrel

Jason Joseph Connery was born in London, England in 1963. His parents are the film actors Sean Connery and Diane Cilento.

Connery attended the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. Next he performed many roles in the theatre and subsequently had parts in several films.

His film debut was in The Lords of Discipline (Franc Roddam, 1983), set in a military academy. In the Australian film The Boy Who Had Everything (Stephen Wallace, 1984) he co-starred with his mother Diane Cilento as a university student and his alcoholic mother. The title of the film provided ammunition for those jaundiced critics who assumed that Jason's career was merely a by-product of his parents' fame.

In fact, Jason was talented enough to carve out a career without his lofty pedigree. On TV, he appeared in the Doctor Who serial Vengeance on Varos (Ron Jones, 1985).

The following year, he replaced Michael Praed as Robin Hood in the final season of the television series Robin of Sherwood (1986). The series combined a gritty, authentic production design with elements of real-life history, 20th century fiction, and pagan myth.

Robin of Sherwood is also notable for its haunting title music by Clannad and Connery became well known in the UK for this role. Ten years earlier, his father had played the same role in the film Robin and Marian (Richard Lester, 1976) with Audrey Hepburn.

In Italy, Jason Connery co-starred with Laura Antonelli in the erotic film La venexiana/The Venetian Woman (Mauro Bolognini, 1986). The film is a transposition of the anonymous 16th century comedy play with the same name.

Other Italian productions were the TV movie Il Treno di Lenin/Lenin… the Train (Damiano Damiani, 1988) with Ben Kingsley, and the war film Casablanca Express (Sergio Martino, 1989), about a Nazi plot to kidnap Winston Churchill. His co-star in this film was Francesco Quinn, the son of Anthony Quinn.

Connery then portrayed Ian Fleming in the television drama Spymaker: The Secret Life of Ian Fleming (Ferdinand Fairfax, 1990) with Kristin Scott Thomas. Fleming was the creator of the James Bond character, which had made Sean Connery into an icon.

Bob Highland at IMDb: “The choice of Jason Connery as the eponymous hero was certainly an exercise in the bleeding obvious, and transparently the casting decision of a cynical producer seeking a large audience of the curious; but Connery was arguably the perfect actor for the role. No doubt his looks owe more to the young Bond than the young Fleming, but he makes a plausible philandering wastrel from the British upper classes”.

There followed more roles in TV films, such as Mountain of Diamonds (Jeannot Szwarc, 1991) with Derek de Lint, the drama Jamila (Monika Teuber, 1994) and the fantasy film Merlin: The Quest Begins (David Winning; 1997).

Jason Connery
British postcard by Statics, London, no. PC 101.

Jason Connery
British postcard by Statics, London, no. PC 102. Photo: Brent Walker.

Another direction

In 1996, Jason Connery married American actress Mia Sara, whom he had met during the making of Bullet to Beijing (George Mihalka, 1995) in Russia. They have a son, Dashiell Quinn Connery (1997), but the couple divorced in 2002.

In the new century, Connery starred mainly in B-films and TV productions. A notable exception was a supporting role in the popular Western comedy Shanghai Noon (Tom Dey, 2000) starring Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson.

Since then, he had starring roles in such feature films as the fantasy horror Wishmaster 3: Beyond the Gates of Hell (Chris Angel, 2001), Requiem (Jon Kirby, Mitchell Morgan, 2001), and Private Moments (Jag Mundhra, 2005).

On television, he guest-starred in popular series like Smallville (2001-2003) with Tom Welling, and he starred as a main character in two series of the children's show Shoebox Zoo (2004–2005). He also toured with a stage production of The Blue Room (2003).

He continued to play lead roles in undistinguished films as Night Skies (Roy Knyrim, 2006), Lightspeed (Don E. FauntLeRoy, 2006) and Brotherhood of Blood (Michael Roesch, Peter Scheerer. 2007). He also worked as a voice actor for animation series.

At the moment his acting career seemed to go nowhere, he chose another direction. In 2008, he made his directorial debut with the action-thriller Pandemic (Jason Connery, 2008) starring Ray Wise.

Since his directional debut, he directed three more B-films The Devil's Tomb (2009) starring Cuba Gooding Jr., 51 (2011) and The Philly Kid (2012).

At IMDb, the latter, an actioner about cage fighting, got positive reviews. Gradyharp: “The Philly Kid is a low budget little pertinent drama that for the genre is better than the usual. Written by Adam Mervis (who also acts the role of the main character's understanding parole officer) and directed with fine pacing by Jason Connery, the movie somehow catches fire - likely due to a cast of up and coming young actors.”

Connery combines directing with producing and acting. In 2013, he guest starred in the TV soap General Hospital and this year he can be seen in the horror film Butterfly (Robert Benavides Jr., 2014).

As an associate producer he works on a romantic drama, For You (Paul James McDonnell, 2015). Also planned is a new direction job: Tommy's Honor, a film celebrating the lives of golf pioneers Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris. Jason Connery lives and works in Los Angeles, US.

Jason Connery
British postcard by Reflex Marketing Ltd., Wellingborough, no. PC 174, 1986. Photo: Paul Cox / Idols.

Sources: Hal Erickson (AllMovie), Angela Garcia (IMDb), Wikipedia, and IMDb.

No comments: