Has he gone out with a bang?
A final fizzle, more like. The star of Indiana Jones, The Untouchables, and the man who first embodied James Bond is set to end his career on the shelves of your local supermarket.
After retiring from acting in 2011, his latest – and likely final – project sees him provide the voice of an eccentric skateboarding vet on a mission to hunt down Scotland’s last beaver. But you’ll be hard-pushed to see Sir Billi the Vet on the big screen: it will debut at just three UK cinemas before heading straight to DVD.
But what about that smooth Scottish charm?
It apparently wasn’t enough to save the £15m project, billed as Scotland’s first CGI animation. Seven years in the making, it was panned by critics at its first showing – and distributors have failed to bite. It would mark a sad end to the career of one of Britain’s most famous actors.
He won’t dwell on it, will he?
It’s unlikely, having lived such a full life. He was a milkman and a naval officer before turning his hand to acting, putting aside his initial reluctance to sign up to a film series to take the part of James Bond.
When Dr No came out in 1962, he became an overnight star – and a heart-throb. Now he sits in the pantheon of acting greats, distinguished by his dulcet Highland tones.
He’s proud of the Scottish connection?
Och aye. As well as a “Scotland Forever” tattoo (he has two from his Navy days, the other reads “Mum and Dad”), he’s a supporter of the Scottish National Party, and, having been a long-term resident of the Bahamas, says he won’t move back to the country unless it becomes independent.
But that won’t have impressed Tessa Hartmann, Sir Billi’s writer and producer, as she is a keen unionist.