I'd love to play Rebus but I'm too old
SIR SEAN Connery has said he would love the chance to play cult Edinburgh detective John Rebus on screen - but thinks he is too old.
The Edinburgh-born cinema legend told city crime-writer Ian Rankin he was a big fan of his hard drinking policeman and loves his best-selling novels.
Connery ruled himself out of taking on the role, insisting it was a part for a younger man.
Rankin, who lives in the Capital’s Merchiston area, has said he believes the legendary actor would have been a perfect fit in his slightly younger days for the maverick detective.
Rankin, writing in this month’s Esquire magazine, said: "I grew up with the Bond franchise and still watch the films with my son, and despite being raised on Brosnan’s Bond even he recognises Connery as the ‘real’ 007.
"So when a phone call from a publisher in London indicated that Sean was a fan of my books and would like to meet me in Edinburgh I jumped at the chance.
"Connery said he liked the Edinburgh of my books, passed them along to ex-pat friends in the Caribbean, and he said given the chance 20 years back he would have loved a crack at playing Inspector Rebus onscreen.
"He would have been brilliant too: witness his portrayal of a cop crumbling to pieces in The Offence."
Unfortunately the Bond star, who won an Oscar for his portrayal of an Irish policeman in The Untouchables, thinks that at 74 he is simply too old to transform himself into the tough Edinburgh-based character.
The casting of the fictional detective has long been a thorny issue with fans, after John Hannah took on the role in 2000.
The actor, whose company Clerkenwell Films produced four television specials based on the books Black and Blue, Mortal Causes, Dead Souls and Hanging Garden, was heavily criticised for his portrayal.
He announced he was leaving the series last year when production rights passed to Scottish Television, launching speculation over who his replacement would be.
In contrast to the situation with Sir Sean, John Hannah’s portrayal in the successful TV series has been criticised by many fans of the books - because they think he looks too young for the role.
Hannah has admitted to similar thoughts himself, saying he was "younger than the character". He said he had been unable to find financial backing for the series with anyone else playing the detective.
Other stars who have been touted for the role of Rebus on screen include both Ken Stott and Brian Cox.
The Edinburgh-born Stott, whose craggy-face and gravel voice made him the choice of many fans, as well as Hannah, to play the part, ruled himself out of the show saying the role would be too similar to Pat Chappel, the lugubrious and worldly-wise copper of ITV’s The Vice.
Brian Cox, 57, who is at home rubbing shoulders with Hollywood celebrities such as Brad Pitt, with whom he starred alongside in Troy as Agamemnon, has also long been admired by Rankin.
Four Rebus books were adapted by Scottish TV in 2000 and 2001, although only three were broadcast in Britain.
The series fared well in the ratings, with a feature-length film of Black and Blue pulling in nine million viewers when it aired in 2000.
In the interview the writer also revealed that he had lobbied to get Edinburgh airport re-named after the film legend.
He added: "A few years ago there were moves afoot to rename the city’s airport along the lines of Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport.
"I very much doubt that I was the only person to suggest Connery’s name."
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Saturday 25 May 2013
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