Pierce Brosnan: Out of Bondage?

It's looking increasingly like suave, hunky Irishman Pierce Brosnan has drunk his last "shaken, not stirred" martini and that Ewan McGregor, Jude Law or another, younger European actor will be playing the next 007. When we asked Pierce if he wanted "out of Bond-age," he admitted that, as the character now exists, "it has been rather boring."

To escape from the secret-agent stereotype, the actor has started his own production company, Irish Dreamtime, where he searches for scripts he wants to produce and, occasionally, appear in. Under his Dreamtime banner, Brosnan played a suave but crooked millionaire in The Thomas Crown Affair and a devoted dad trying to get his kids released from state care in Evelyn. He's also worked for others in a variety of roles ranging from Sally Field's guy in Mrs. Doubtfire to a hunky volcanologist in Dante's Peak to a wacky official in Mars Attacks!

Pierce's latest effort for Irish Dreamtime casts him as Daniel Rafferty, a sloppy but rapier-smart divorce lawyer who crosses swords with love interest Julianne Moore in the romantic comedy Laws of Attraction. For our interview, a whole other Brosnan appeared: With salt-and-pepper hair cut in a modified crew, Pierce, sporting a moustache and clad in a brown leather jacket and white shirt, explained that he's now a hitman.

Q: That's a different look for you.

Brosnan: It's for a movie called The Matador, which we're going to start shooting next month. It's about a hitman. Eight weeks in Mexico City. Light a candle for me, say a prayer. Don't drink the water. I don't have to work out there. I just eat the ice.

Q: Was shooting Laws of Attraction fun for you?

Brosnan: This was very much a fun role. I had the greatest summer in Ireland with Julianne Moore and [director] Peter Howitt, and I think that we pulled something off that is rather good and appealing for a Friday night at the movies. It's a movie made for adults by adults about romance, love and hanging tough with your heart for someone that moves you. I haven't done a romantic comedy and I've been dying to. Remington Steele many years ago was of the same cloth.

Q: What's the most romantic place on earth for you?

Brosnan: Oh...the South Pacific Islands.

Q: We understand that you didn't like your Laws character at first.

Brosnan: He was just too cynical. I wanted to have more heart. I wanted to have someone who was more accessible. Just a regular guy who didn't go to the gym, loved life, worked hard and was rather weary with the whole game of divorce law. He hears about this charismatic, clever redhead in New York, and then finds himself across the table from her. [Pierce grins, looks at me and lifts an eyebrow. Of course, he's talking about Julianne Moore, but I have red hair and I'm sitting directly across the table from him. One of my treasured "Hollywood moments."]

Q: So, playing someone who isn't cool is important to you now?

Brosnan: I have kind of painted myself into a corner with suave, sophisticated, clean cut, blah, blah, blah, the Bond mystique, and I just wanted to play a guy who was like an unmade bed.

Q: Is that also why you went after your character in The Tailor of Panama?

Brosnan: Yeah, and that was a shot in the arm. [John] Boorman was one of the finest directors who walks to his own drumbeat. It was in the world of espionage but was a real kind of left hook to the Bond role.

Q: Your Laws character, Daniel, is patient. He'll wait for what he wants. Are you at all like that?

Brosnan: I'm patient, and you have to have patience. I've been an actor now for many years. You have to have belief that you have something to offer, to bring to the table, and so perseverance, patience. You just have to work hard.

Q: You shot in Ireland. Do they roll out the green carpet for you there?

Brosnan: [Laughs] They do. I feel very comfortable going back to Ireland. It's my place of birth. It's the essence of who I am in many respects as an actor, as a man. There's a comfort, an ease, in being there and working there.

Q: You suggested Julianne Moore to be your leading lady. Why?

Brosnan: Because I think that she's a wonderful actress and a beautiful woman and someone who has her head on her shoulders and knows exactly who she is in life. I thought that it'd be easy to work together, and easy to fall in love with her, and I love watching her onscreen. When I was told that she read the script and loved it, that was music to my ears. She's so darn smart. It's infuriating, really, because she's so good.

Q: So no trouble developing chemistry between you two?

Brosnan: No. As long as she would shut up before the take. She was always chatty Kathy, and I always get nervous and have to remember my lines. She just chats away to everyone, and there's six pages of dialogue and I'm whispering to myself: "Please, I'm trying to concentrate here and get my acting together, my performance."

Q: We have to talk about Bond. Will you do the next one?

Brosnan: The producers have reached an impasse as far as I can tell. They don't know what to do. They don't know how to move on; there's a sense of paralysis that has set in. So, for me, it's business as usual. I shall just carry on with creating work for myself. I certainly would love to do a fifth Bond and then bow out, but if this last one is to be the last one, then so be it.

Q: You've said that you want more development of the character. In the last film, Die Another Day, he's a broken man in prison at the start.

Brosnan: Yes, but they broke out of it too soon, into the formulaic, safe side of it. They're too scared. It's frustrating, really, because they feel that they have to top themselves in a genre which is just spectacle and a huge bang for your buck. I think that you can have your cake and eat it. You can have real character work, a character storyline and a thriller aspect and all the kind of quips and the asides and the explosions and the women. I don't know what's going to happen. I really have no idea.

Q: What's your favorite Bond film?

Brosnan: I love From Russia with Love. It's one of the finest pieces.

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