When destiny called, the young man assumed it was a wrong number. After all, the caller had asked to speak to “Mr. R. Hood.” The joke became clear when agent Joy Jameson explained to Jason Connery that he had been tapped for the lead on British television’s popular series Robin of Sherwood. Jason is the 22-year-old son of Sean Connery, and this could well signal the birth of an acting dynasty.
Jason Connery knows, he says, that being the son of a screen great is not in itself license to act: “If people want to give me jobs because of who I am, that’s up to them. I think they are stupid, but I will go full out if the job is right for me.” He also knows that comparisons to Dad will be inevitable, especially since Sean, in an attempt to break the Bond mold, played Robin Hood as an aging outlaw in 1976’s Robin and Marian, a movie that got mixed reviews.
If that’s not enough emotional lug-gage, Jason also has to replace series star Michael Praed, who has left the British series to play Prince Michael on ABC’s Dynasty. In contrast to dark and swarthy Praed, Connery is fair-haired and has a light complexion. But Jason is confident that neither his name nor his appearance will prove a handicap. “I know I can play Robin Hood,” he says jauntily. “I’ve decided on how to do it and whether it is right or wrong, I am going to do it.”
Born in January 1963, between the releases of Dad’s first two Bond pictures, Jason was very much the showbiz kid. His mother, Australian-born Diane Cilento, earned an Oscar nomination that year for her supporting role in Tom Jones and in 1967 played opposite Paul Newman in Hombre. His parents’ work schedules forced long separations and they were divorced in 1973. Jason lived with his mother, who sent him to Gordonstoun School in Scotland (Prince Charles’ alma mater), where he studied English, joined a coast guard auxiliary and acted in school plays.
Subsequently, Jason worked with a repertory company in Scotland and took voice and acting lessons. Encouraged by his stepmother, Sean’s second wife, Micheline Roquebrune, Jason won a role in 1983’s Lords of Discipline, a film about an American military school shot in England and South Carolina. Later, he acted in an Anglo-French fantasy film called Dream One and appeared on U.S. television as hurdler Thomas Curtis in The First Olympics—Athens 1896. Though father and son have never shared screen credits, Jason starred in 1984’s The Boy Who Had Everything, a coming-of-age film set in Australia that featured Cilento as his mother.
Sharing a three-bedroom house in London with two mates and a tankful of tropical fish, Jason claims no current girlfriend. “The love of my life, apart from acting, is Australia,” he says. “I don’t think I could handle it as a girlfriend. It’s a little large.”
As for Dad, following in his footsteps is one thing, says Jason. Letting them lead him over a cliff is another. “I am not,” he says, “going to play Robin Hood for the rest of my life. That’s for sure.”