The $1 Billion Movie Sean Connery Rejected for a Film No One Remembers

The $1 Billion Movie Sean Connery Rejected for a Film No One Remembers
Image credit: Twentieth Century Fox, Universal Pictures

It wasn't the last time he turned down a major franchise.


  • In 1993, Sean Connery turned down Jurassic Park to star in Rising Sun
  • It wasn't the only major franchise he turned down in his career.

Rest in peace, Sean Connery. You were Robin Hood, you were James Bond, you were a Highlander. You Hunted for Red October and you were the father of Indiana Jones. You talked kinda weird, and once you wore a blue terry cloth romper, and yet you were still a sex symbol.

Sean Connery chose his projects carefully, often starring in only one role a year. The fact that he played so many iconic characters speaks to his ability to choose wisely. Still, he probably had more than one regret in his career, and one of them might have been the movie he chose for the year 1993.

The Movie He Chose

Rising Sun looked set to be a hit. It was based on a bestselling book by legendary author Michael Crichton, and starred Wesley Snipes – a major Hollywood name at the time.

In Rising Sun, two Americans battle cultural differences as they attempt to solve a violent murder. LAPD Lieutenant Webster 'Web' Smith (Snipes) pairs up with John Connor (Connery), a former police captain, after the body of a sex worker is found at the newly opened Nakamoto headquarters in LA. Connor is an expert in Japanese affairs, and the two soon realize that they are looking at not only a murder, but also a coverup.

Although you may not remember it, Rising Sun actually did pretty well upon release. Critics found it bland (it has a 33% on Rotten Tomatoes), but audiences turned up in droves. The whodunnit was produced for $35 million but raked in over $100 million at the box office.

Still, Rising Sun has more or less disappeared into obscurity, unlike the movie that Connery turned down that year.

The Movie He Didn't Choose

Rising Sun wasn't the only Michael Crichton adaptation to hit the big screen in 1993. Sean Connery was also asked to be in the other Hollywood adaptation of Crichton's books, a little project called Jurassic Park. Connery was offered the role of John Hammond, a role that eventually went to Richard Attenborough.

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Why did Connery choose Rising Sun over Jurassic Park? We couldn't say, because he never explained. Possibly the part was too small for him. Or perhaps the star wanted something a little more action-packed than the part of a kindly and misguided entrepreneur. Still, we have to wonder if he ever regretted turning down a part in one of the most iconic movies ever made.

But Wait… There's More

Jurassic Park wasn't the only massive project that Connery turned down. Famously, the studio behind the original Lord of the Rings trilogy was desperate to get a big name on their cast list. They tried for months to woo Connery to play Gandalf, in spite of Peter Jackson's objections. (Jackson always wanted Ian McKellan for the role.)

When asked about why he turned down the part, Connery responded: 'I read the book. I read the script. I saw the movie. I still don't understand it. Ian McKellen, I believe, is marvelous in it.'

Reportedly, Connery was also offered the role of Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter movies, Morpheus in The Matrix, and Rick Deckard in Blade Runner. It's actually kind of hard to imagine the marble-mouthed Scotsman in any of those roles, but that may be because the characters who ended up embodying them were so good.

Sean Connery died in 2020, leaving behind millions of fans. He is still considered by many to be the best James Bond of all time.