Is Sean Connery dressed in a loincloth – ok, it’s essentially a diaper – for 99.9% of a movie all you really need? That was the one burning question I had as I prepared to experience the cult classic Zardoz for the first time, and when it was over, I had so many more. Is it ever a good idea for a studio to give a director carte blanche on their next project, no matter how successful their previous movie was? Did Connery make Zardoz to pay off a bet? Why is this movie so obsessed with genitals? The only definitive conclusion is this: I need more than Connery in an adult nappy for a whole movie. Thankfully, Zardoz offers enough in the way of bat-shit insane storytelling that I didn’t end up caring about its faults. There’s also the fact that Connery has one, and only one, costume change – into a wedding dress.
Director John Boorman was fresh off the huge success of Deliverance, his movie about four friends’ excruciating canoe trip in rural Georgia. Deliverance was the fifth highest grossing film of 1972 and it was nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Picture. As a result, Boorman’s agent finagled a deal with 20th Century Fox in which one man from the studio had two hours to read the script for Zardoz, then he had to immediately give a yes or no on the project. (Boorman discussed the parameters of the deal in an interview this year with the now defunct website The Dissolve.) Fox was so excited to work with Boorman that their script reader gave the thumbs up after that single two-hour reading. And so, Zardoz was a go.