Why Steven Seagal broke Sean Connery’s wrist

Sean Connery intended for Diamonds Are Forever to be his last James Bond film. By 1964, Connery was already sick of playing the role, so when Diamonds rolled around seven years later and he announced he would never play the role again, most people took him at his word. However, he did end up playing Bond once again in 1983’s Never Say Never Again; the film’s title was actually the idea of Connery’s wife, Micheline Roquebrune, after his first retirement from the role didn’t last. 

Sean Connery was wrong, but he might have wished he had stayed true to his word. The movie’s production was a bit of a nightmare; rumors have swirled for close to 40 years about just how unpleasant the film’s pre-production and shoot were. With so many Hollywood legends, it’s hard to separate fact from fiction and history from ego. One rumor can be verified, however: During the project, stunt coordinator Steven Seagal ended up breaking Connery’s wrist while the two were training for the film’s stunts.

Steven Seagal won't take full responsibility for breaking Sean Connery's wrist

The story goes like this: Sean Connery was learning aikido from Steven Seagal for one of the film’s fight sequences. Connery described the incident to Jay Leno in 1996, saying, “We were training in the building where I had an apartment. … I got a little cocky because I thought I knew what I was doing.” Connery raised his arm in the wrong way, and Seagal struck and broke. Connery then told Leno that the wrist was still broken, and he had only found out about the break the previous year, a full 14 years after the movie was released.

The injury seems to have been relatively minor; the only real consequence was Connery having some trouble reaching into his pocket. For his part, Seagal didn’t speak about the incident until 2012, and he seemed less convinced. Speaking with the French site Daily Mars, Seagal said, “I don’t know if I did it, I just trained him.” The stunt coordinator defended himself, saying, “Maybe it happened, but I think maybe he did it to himself. I didn’t suddenly lose control and break his arm as the rumor says.” Seagal did add, however (in what was … maybe a joke?), “On the other hand, yes, in real life I have broken arms.” In either case, Seagal’s comment is more or less in line with what Connery said, which is that Sean Connery was probably less a victim of Steven Seagal and more a victim of his own cockiness.

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