SIR SEAN CONNERY is considering turning a novel by an Edinburgh author into a Hollywood blockbuster.
The former James Bond actor, who earlier this week said he did not want to act again, has been in contact with Ken McClure about bringing his controversial novel The Gulf Conspiracy to the big screen.
Connery, who has been an executive producer on such blockbusters as The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Finding Forrester, Entrapment, The Rock and Just Cause, may even take on the behind the scenes role for the new movie.
The Gulf Conspiracy is a fictional thriller which centres on the theory that vaccinations were responsible for the development of Gulf War Syndrome.
Vincent Finlayson, Dr McClure’s business manager, has been in contact with the Oscar-winning actor about the project.
And Dr McClure, who lives in Currie, today said he was shocked to come home and hear Sir Sean’s voice on his answer machine – and instantly thought it was his children playing a prank.
He said: “He phoned Vince and me separately. I was out and it was an odd message to come home to on my message machine. You think instantly that it is your son having laugh.
“He asked to see the book and left his address. I sent him out the book and I think he’s been speaking to Vince since then.
“It would make an excellent film. Getting a name like Sir Sean’s linked with it would make an enormous difference for me I’m sure. He has produced films and we’d love to see a film production company take it on.”
Mr Finlayson originally took the book to the Scottish Media Group to see if they would be keen on TV rights.
But because of the scope of the subject area, they said the project would be too big for them and suggested contacting some of the big American film companies, or an “actor with clout”.
The book is published by a relatively small publisher – Allison & Busby – so print runs have remained relatively small, but involvement of a name like Sir Sean Connery in a film version would be certain to give a huge boost to sales.
In the novel, a vaccine designed by British scientists becomes contaminated in a freak accident, and military leaders decide that it must remain a secret. Twelve years later, veterans are dying from a Gulf War Syndrome.
Dr McClure is a former medical researcher and holds a PhD in microbial genetics.
He says that although the book is a thriller, he did a year’s research beforehand and was “absolutely convinced” by the end of it that it was caused by vaccinations.
Mr Finlayson said that he was determined to see the book make its way on to the big screen.
He said: “I’ve been on to Universal and SKG, and I wrote to Sean Connery in the Bahamas. Since then, both Ken and I have had calls from Sean.
“He has interest from a film point of view. He wouldn’t appear as a character – it would be more a sort of background role, as an executive producer.
“He has shown interest and asked Ken to send him the book. He has produced his last seven films, so I’ve been writing to him on and off about producing it.
“I’m determined it will happen. This is a Schindler’s List-type story in that Ken is writing about things that people don’t really know too much about yet.”
Earlier this week, Sir Sean, now 76, said he was to retire from acting, after 76 films.
He made the comments at Tartan Week in New York, his first public appearance since an operation to remove a tumour from his kidney.