'Finding Forrester'

That customary burr of grudging humor is in Sean Connery’s voice as he responds to being asked why he liked playing “Finding Forrester’s” gruff old man.

“Because underneath is lurking a rather nice, marvelous person and there is a great arc to the story,” he says.

The Scottish lord — forever the best James Bond — is not just the star but also the producer of “Finding Forrester,” a drama about a reclusive author who serves as mentor to a young writer.

“It’s about friendship, something I haven’t really played since ‘The Man Who Would Be King,'” says the forever handsome 70 year old.

Connery is proud of the film, and his insistence of extensive rehearsal before shooting began, a process that was of enormous value not just to him but also to Rob Brown, the newcomer who plays the student.

“I enjoy — and I always have — to work with other actors rehearsing and blocking. Nobody ever did that with me when I was starting out,” he says, agreeing that the theme of the film finds echoes in his situation as a veteran actor passing on his knowledge to another generation. “I showed the film to Mike Nichols and he had an interesting observation, that it was like an old athlete teaching a young student.”

Despite many performances that have combined stardom with fine craftsmanship, Connery has been nominated for an Oscar only once. Burr aside, he won best supporting actor for the role of the Irish cop Jim Malone in 1987’s crime drama “The Untouchables.”

During publicity stints for “Finding Forrester,” Connery has ducked questions about his hopes of a nomination this year, with replies following a pattern of, “I think to discuss it is to put the cart before the horse — but, of course, I would be very flattered.”

How does receiving a knighthood compare to winning an Oscar?

“They are similar in that there are no conditions attached to either!” chuckles Sir Sean.

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