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Pierce Brosnan Interview

1 of 2 Pierce Brosnan
Pierce Brosnan
2 of 2 With Love is All You Need co-star Trine Dyrholm
With Love is All You Need co-star Trine Dyrholm

Every so often a Tuesday can be out of the ordinary.

And this Tuesday was just that as I made a phone call to Los Angeles to talk with former James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan to discuss his new film Love Is All You Need and chat about his career to date.

Ringing Brosnan from RTÉ, it took some time to get the actor on the end of the line as the star was going through a gruelling morning of press interviews for the new Danish arthouse flick, which is directed by Oscar-winning Susanne Bier.

When I managed to get Brosnan on the line, he proceeded to tell me how Love Is All You Need - which is a romantic comedy about an English businessman, who’s wife has recently died, finding love with a Danish hairdresser fighting cancer - came about.

"I love [the director] Susanne’s work and I’d been aware of her for some time," said Brosnan.

"The Danish filmmakers are a unique breed of filmmakers, with the Dogme films and Lars von Trier. So, when this project came across my desk, it was called The Bald Headed Hairdresser, which I thought was a rather endearing title in some respects, but ill fitting for the film we have.

"There were many elements of the film I could identify with: being a father, dealing with an illness in one’s life, and the loss of a wife."

When Brosnan’s agent told Bier that he wanted to be involved, she rang the actor an hour later and told him that she would make the film work for him.

"Susanne said 'I’ll write it [the script] for you, and we’ll make it work'," said Brosnan.

"I read the script and I loved it."

Like Philip, his character in the film, Brosnan himself lost a wife in 1991, when his first wife Cassandra Harris passed away following a fight with ovarian cancer, but Brosnan revealed that Bier didn’t know of this link between the film’s character and the actor himself.

"Susanne had no idea of what my life was, she had no idea that I’d lost a wife," said Brosnan.

"It was in the script that Philip loses his wife in a car accident. She had no idea about my life story: it was purely coincidental."

Undoubtedly, Brosnan’s most famous role was that of James Bond, which he played four times, and the Navan-born actor says the best thing about being Bond was being involved in such a wonderful creative process.

"Making the movies: that’s what the joy is. Once you’ve made the movie it’s beyond you - there’s nothing," said Brosnan.

"Publicising it is what they really pay you for, that’s the hard, hard work.

"Making the movie, reading the story, thinking 'How are they going to do this? How Am I going to do this?' Then showing up on the set each day, and being just bedazzled by the filmmakers, and seeing it come to life, that was the joy."

The actor also highlights Sean Connery as being his favourite actor to take on the role of 007 thus far: "Sean is the man. He was the one that I grew up with and that's the joy of this piece: every generation has a Bond.

"My wife loves Roger Moore. Sean was the man I saw in Goldfinger in Putney High Street in 1964 and he for me will forever be Bond.

"Daniel Craig is brilliant as Bond: there is no question about that. But it’s a different Bond. It’s the cross pollination of The Bourne Identity and James Bond; that kind of style of filmmaking."

The Irishman started his acting career in theatre, before branching out into TV and then film. However, he has plans to make more TV work in the future and is developing his own project.

"I’m developing my own TV series at the moment. It’s called Lochinvar, and it’s about the Holy Wars. I’ve created a role for myself in that," said Brosnan.

"I’ve never turned my eye against TV. I started my career in the US in TV with Remington Steele. It’s a very fertile ground for any actor or storyteller, and some of the best stories are coming out of TV."

According to Brosnan’s IMDB page he has acted in 69 different projects, and when pressed to single out a favourite movie that he’s been involved with he lists several that he’s very fond of.

He said: "I love The Matador. The Thomas Crown Affair is close to my heart. The films that I’ve made with my company Irish DreamTime are close to my heart. The Greatest being one of them, and Evelyn being another.

Mister Johnson is a film I made with Bruce Beresford years ago (1990), which is a little seen film, but a brilliant film, with a wonderful performance by a young actor called Maynard Eziashi.

"There’s pieces there where you go, 'I’m so pleased to have been a part of that'. Mamma Mia! - the joy of that film and the love that it brings into people’s lives is brilliant.

"The Bond films of course. At day’s end you hope you can look back and say I really got it right here."

In 2010, Brosnan worked with the Academy Award-winning director Roman Polanski on The Ghost Writer, and he speaks glowingly about the experience: "Every day with Roman Polanski was a day to remember because he’s a unique filmmaker – one of the great legends. And someone who I really got on well with and enjoyed working with."

Prior to becoming an actor, Brosnan trained as a painter and I was keen to find out if that training influences his work on screen.

"I still paint, I still have a studio," said Brosnan.

"I’m actually in the process of trying to put the work together and maybe have an exhibit. Be it that I be so bold to do so. But if not now - when?

"My love of art and painting has always kept me in good stead on my travels. The world of movie acting is: hurry up and wait.

"And as you sit in a dressing room of a studio in the far flung reaches of this planet somewhere, the art has always been constant. Sketchbooks have ben filled and paintings have been made.

"It goes hand-in-hand with my acting really."

Brosnan has five children and he hopes to star in a film with his 29-year-old son Sean later this year – which will be a first time the two will have made a title together. The project is the thriller Last Man Out, an adaptation of The Ghost of Belfast.

"Terry Malone is the director and Craig Ferguson and myself are producing it. So, we have been in discussions, there’s a great script there, and all going well, we’d like to be able to go at the end of this year," said Brosnan.

"In the meantime, I’m going off to do my own production called November Man. Which is from Bill Granger’s books the November Man series. It’s of the spy genre.

"Hopefully, we’ll do Last Man Out at the end of this year."

As the interview with Pierce came to a close, I couldn’t help but ask him about his legendary line in 1988 film Taffin.

In the movie, Brosnan plays a debt-collector hired by the inhabitants of a small Irish town, who wish to warn off developers attempting to build a chemical plant in the area.

In a scene with Alison Doody, Brosnan screams at the actress: "Then maybe you shouldn't be living here." The line was made famous recently on BBC 6 Music’s Adam and Joe show as a definition of an actor nailing an on-the-limit performance.

I wondered whether this was a first take or had he had several goes at the line? Was it always the intention to scream the line at top octave? And what was the inspiration behind its delivery?

Belly-laughing as he cast his mind back to the line, Brosnan said: "I wish I could remember! But you own it: you have it; it’s yours.

"You can interpret it any way you want. That’s the joy of making movies. You make them and they’re no longer yours, somebody buys them and it becomes part of their mythology - their life."

Tadhg Peavoy

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