We’re drinking coffee today—the cups give us away. It’s a bit too early for Scotch.
I like to have a shot of Nespresso in the morning. Boom! And I’m off.
You’re a Brit. I’m a little surprised you didn’t choose tea.
I like tea in the afternoon. Coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon and a nice red wine in the evening.
Let’s talk Tommy’s Honour, in theaters on April 14. The historical drama centers on the relationship between Old Tom Morris and his son, Young Tom. What made you want to direct it?
I read Tommy’s Honour, by Kevin Cook. It’s an extraordinary story of young Tommy Morris. But it’s not only about golf. Golf is certainly the passion that drives these two men, but it’s ostensibly a family drama and a love story.
You not only filmed onsite in Scotland, but you also re-created the R&A building and parts of the Old Course, correct?
We managed to find one of the only bits of land in Fife that hadn’t been changed into a golf course. So we built half the R&A from the original plans, real size, and digitally created the other half. And we also created the 18th green and first tee and dug a ditch for the Swilcan Burn at the end.
What did you think of your actors’ golf swings?
It was a very, very different time, and a different swing [was required]. Hickory-shafted clubs are really heavy, so they had very narrow swings. Peter Mullan, who plays Old Tom, and Jack Lowden, who plays Young Tommy, really practiced the authentic swing. Old Tom’s swing was very tick-tock, straight-back, straight-through. And Tommy was sort of like a clock spring, coiled up and then unwinding. And [the actors] practiced over and over and over and created their own swings.
Did your golf-loving dad, Sean Connery, get you into the game?
He did, yeah. He gave me a 7-iron with the shaft cut down when I was quite young, and I used to smack that around.
Do you still get a chance to tee it up with him occasionally?
Dad lives on a golf course in the Bahamas, and I still play with him. About six weeks ago, he got a hole-in-one. I’ve never had a hole-in-one. This was his fifth! I mean, what? He still loves the game. And I think it’s beautiful to see him out there still plugging away.
An ace at age 86? That’s amazing. Any other memories stand out about your famous father?
He used to do an annual pro-celebrity event in Scotland, alternating between Turnberry and Gleneagles. It was magical just to walk the course with friends, family. It’s something that I hopefully brought to the movie. The film has this wonderful relationship between the father and son, and that had a deep emotional impact for me because I feel as though [the golf course] is a place where I’ve learned to know my dad.