The Special Effects-Laden Finale Of Zardoz Sent Sean Connery Into A Rage

A repeated musical phrase throughout “Zardoz” is the second movement of Beethoven’s Seventh, a plodding piece of music that hangs around the neck of the movie like a lodestone. It’s likely that Boorman felt the repeated music matched the cycle of boredom experienced by the immortals. In the film’s final shot, the Seventh plays on the soundtrack while Zed and Consuella, having finally escaped, grow old and die in a long montage. They sit in side-by-side thrones, and, sitting still, fade into older and older versions of themselves. 

Connery hated the scene. He hated the makeup especially. And, thanks to a pair of disasters, he had to do it multiple times. 

In a 2014 interview with Vulture, Boorman talks about how hard it was to shoot the scene, and about the unfortunate circumstances that required the return of his lead actor. Connery didn’t have any issues with the costumes or the psychedelic nature of “Zardoz,” but he did hate spending all day on a single sequence. As Boorman says: 

“Well: This is what you’ve got. This is what you’re going to wear. So he’d put it on and say, “Okay.” There was never any argument. He was a very explosive character. At the end of the film we shoot a scene where his characters ages rapidly, and with the makeup, that scene took a whole day … When we finished it, we sent the film to the lab, and the lab scratched it. So we had to do it all over again the following day. Sean hated makeup, hated anything touching his skin. He was very grumpy the whole day when we shot the scene. So when I told him that we had to do it again, he was absolutely enraged. Enraged!”

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