It seemed no one could resist trying out their “Bond, James Bond” at the AFI’s tribute to Sean Connery Thursday night at the Kodak Theater.
Mike Myers, a master of mimicry, kicked off the salute to the Scottish thesp while wearing a kilt, of course.
Actual Scot Craig Ferguson admitted he only does two impressions, Connery and Michael Caine, “because I’ve seen ‘The Man Who Would Be King’ about 100 times.” Everyone in Scotland “took great pride that James Bond was Scottish,” he added. “Take that, you English bastards!”
Best Bond “imitation,” however, was “The Untouchables'” Andy Garcia. He told extemporaneous tales of the gruff yet supportive thesp — one was that after director Brian De Palma demanded several takes on a scene in which Garcia answers a phone, Connery, working off-camera, growled, “C’mon kid, it’s not ‘Hamlet’!” — and confessed that in his youth he introduced himself as “Mon, Ra-mon,” in just that Bondian cadence.
Brought onstage at evening’s end by a sextet of bagpipers — Tom Jones performed earlier in the night — Connery did a little jig. “I’m more than pleased that you like my work,” he said. “I have to admit, it looked pretty damn good from where I was sitting.”
In a more humble vein, the honoree continued, “Making movies is either a utopia or it’s like shoveling shit uphill. Tonight we put down the shovels and remember the good times.”
AFI board of trustees chair Howard Stringer kicked off the 34th annual tribute to “a rogue, a rapscallion and a Renaissance man” by announcing that AFI prez Jean Picker Firstenberg will be stepping down next year.
Firstenberg then presented the Franklin J. Shaffner Alumni Medal to Marshall Herskovitz, who met producing partner Ed Zwick in the AFI class of 1975.