Connery dumps film firm

SIR Sean Connery has stunned the screen world by deciding to shut down his famous film production company, Scotland on Sunday can reveal.

The Bond actor has closed Fountainbridge Films, which produced such blockbusters as Entrapment, starring himself and Catherine Zeta Jones.

His agent insisted Connery just wanted to concentrate on his acting but sources close to the actor said the surprise move followed a series of disputes with his business partner Rhonda Tollefson.

The decision has astonished the Scottish film industry.

Connery and Tollefson had recently agreed to back a major new film charting the reign of Mary, Queen of Scots - written by Jimmy McGovern.

The move has almost certainly sounded the death knell for his plans to set up a multi-million pound film studio on the outskirts of Edinburgh with Rangers owner David Murray.

Last night a spokeswoman for Connery confirmed he had shut down Fountainbridge, his Los Angeles-based company named after the area of Edinburgh where he was brought up.

"Fountainbridge Films is no longer a company," she said.

"Sean took the decision to shut down the company because he just wants to concentrate on acting. He just had enough."

But a source close to the 71-year-old actor said: "Although, he’d had enough and wanted to do more acting there was a lot of speculation that he and Rhonda were having a few too many clashes."

A Hollywood insider said that Connery and Tollefson had been in conflict for many months. "There has been a clash of egos between the two for some time now - it’s the nature of the industry. In this business there are a lot of people with high opinions of themselves who find it hard to accommodate the wishes of others."

Connery and Tollefson began their working relationship while filming Medicine Man and founded Fountainbridge Films in 1992. The company’s first feature was the 1995 thriller Just Cause, starring Connery, Laurence Fishburne and Ed Harris.

It was followed by Entrapment, which cost 85m to make and was premiered in Edinburgh in 1999.