Finding Connery: James Bonding in New York

Want to see Sean Connery filming his new picture on location this month? 007Forever has found marvelous contacts for checking out the latest Connery epic…”Finding Forrester” stars Connery alongside F. Murray Abraham of Amadeus fame, plus the lovely Anna Paquin (“Rogue” in the upcoming “X-Men” with Patrick Stewart and Famke Janssen), “Busta Rhymes” and the redoubtable Joey Battafuoco. (!)

We began on Friday in the Big Apple, one of Mr. Fleming`s favorite “Thrilling Cities,” by meeting with Don McGregor, writer and reviewer on all things Bondian and creator of the Bond comix “The Quasimodo Gambit”, “GoldenEye” and the Tomorrow Never Dies trading cards sets. (Take thirty seconds today and log in with Fandom/Forever today for live chat with Don on Wednesday, June 14! Sign in under the button “Sign Me Up” under “Newsletter” or under “Chat”.)

On my way to the meet with Don, I nearly collided with former Clinton aide and author/commentator George Stephanopoulous. (I forgot to ask him if he is a Connery fan or likes Brosnan better.) After a few laughs on the current state of public transportation in NY, not helped in the least by Sean Connery`s latest, “Finding Forrester”, whose crew and fans are crushing the city, we jumped with a few friends into a cab to head to midtown, almost taking out Mr. Tony Randall, who wasn`t carefully watching the lights change before crossing the street. You can hardly swing a dead cat in NYC without hitting a celeb and we nearly struck two before the day started.

Disembarking from the taxi at Radio City Music Hall, where Don had James Bond throw villain “Quasimodo” off of the roof in “Gambit”, industry friends then gave us an incredible Backstage tour of the NBC Studios. We visited the S.P.E.C.T.R.E.-like control rooms of the building and all the major working sets at Rockefeller Center, including Inside the NBA, Nightly News with Tom Brokaw, Saturday Night Live in rehearsal where we literally bumped into Cheri Oteri and Molly Shannon (not on purpose, honest, I also knocked this week near Carol Kane and Peter Riegert), Dateline NBC, and much more, including a trippy run through the wardrobe of major Bond fan Conan O`Brien. (One of our marvelous tour guides edits Conan`s Bond spoof materials. Conan, of course, besides his late show, added countless references to Bond as a former head writer for The Simpsons.)

We enjoyed dinner in Manhattan and reminisced about Mr. Bond before viewing an incredible local Bond collection including a tuxedo worn by 007 himself to shoot his gunbarrel sequence, Octopussy`s most alluring outfit, two working Bond pinball machines and phenomenal memorabilia and taped 007 footage from around the world. (For my own collection, I tried on and off all week and was able to score a new Girls of James Bond edition hardback, a chocolate Bond Easter Egg filled with jellied tuxedo bowties, Forrester call sheets, a Slazenger golf ball that was a thoughtful gift from a friend, and exciting contacts for upcoming exclusive stories at Forever! I hereby admit that when sightseeing, I had the urge to steal from the Metropolitan Museum of Art like Brosnan did in Thomas Crown so I could mail it to art lover Bruce Glover, “Mr. Wint”, who was in the first “Crown acquisition” with Steve McQueen, but I didn`t, and I also passed on the first edition LALD offered to me in a third issue dustjacket for $2,750.00, thanks very much. Whew!)

Saturday dawned late with Bond chit-chat and lunch at Artie`s Deli, (what would 007 eat from a delicatessen?) and checking out the famous Mysterious Books and Murder Ink all afternoon, before hitting the streets to see the Forrester crew in action. Cast and crew trucks covered both sides of the long block in front of the NY Hard Rock Cafe. Connery`s camper on site bears the Pennsylvania license plate #XB-14737.

This week`s People magazine shows Connery`s picture from a Park Ave near 68th Street film shoot two weeks ago…One intrepid fan went to the Bronx neighborhood on a Sunday morning where they filmed on the previous Wednesday night, #299 East 158th Street, in the not-so-safe Melrose area. Around 10 a.m. he was there searching for the nearby small building used as Connery`s apartment when a drug dealer`s lookout/spotter was eyeballing him hungrily! He said, “No way I`m returning there if they shoot at night again, daytime yes!”

Interior work on 57th Street highlighted most of Saturday`s work, (last week featured principal work in a closed Yankee Stadium) but we were able to talk with the crew as they grabbed a late meal in front of Planet Hollywood before an all-night shoot. We then traveled to Trump Place high above the Hudson for snacks, archaic Coleco video games and TiVo before dinner, more Bonding and a very late night shootout at the famous Amsterdam Billiards.

**Tri-State area fans are excited to meet you all this month and enjoy the big SC on location himself! Tom Rossi is coordinating efforts and fan meets on location at Finding Connery Watch.

A normally reticent Mayor`s Film Bureau is giving out information without being bothered with press credentials since they are so busy. (Connery`s appearances have up to 200 press photographers from around the world near the filming at one time!) Finding Forrester`s local Columbia Pictures production office may also be reached at 212.462.1650. Another marvelous reference good for almost any NY-made picture is Radioman, an especially kooky but loveable character who hangs around every film shoot in New York, has been cast in several pictures and may have been a key inspiration for Robin Williams` nutty homeless fellow “Parry” in “The Fisher King”. “The Man” is friendly with Tom and has promised goodies from the shoot. Every NY crew loves him! Radioman`s hotline at 212.714.8045 is considered to be 80% accurate for daily updates on all NY shooting schedules for any film event. Finding Forrester has wrapped for now its work in Toronto, Canada, for what likely were exterior scenes of a private school`s campus, but is going strong all around the New York area this month! Send to us at 007Forever your photos, and anecdotes from the shoot!

**Many special and heartfelt thanks go to Bond fans and friends Alan Labouseur, Ben Licht, Don McGregor, Eric Varca, George McGuire, Janine Sherman, Paul Scrabo and George Ann Muller, and Tom Rossi for a rocking good time in the “Big A” with Bond! What better way to warm up for Bond Weekend 2000, the Weekend to “Live and Let Die For,” than a fans` gathering in Bond`s New York City to hunt down Sean Connery on location, who is “Finding Forrester?”

–Matt Sherman formerly resided in New York for most of his life but reserves the right to act like a tourist when he visits.

Leave a Reply