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Pierce Brosnan & Salma Hayek Wash Ashore in 
Brett Ratner's After The Sunset (Fall 2004)

The incident Salma Hayek describes as “the most precious comedy moment I’ve ever seen in my life,” occurred in the Bahamas on the set of her new film, After the Sunset, a lighthearted heist yarn from director Brett Ratner (Red Dragon, the Rush Hour films). “I was having this sexy moment with Pierce,” recalls the Mexican actor, referring to her costar, Irish–born leading man Pierce Brosnan. “I’m wearing a very slinky nightgown, lying next to him in bed. He makes a phone call, hangs up, and then turns around to kiss me and we start making out. Well, we did it a couple of times and then Brett [Ratner] and I had this conspiracy. We managed to switch places while Pierce is making the call.” 

“So I put the phone down,” Brosnan says with a sigh, reluctantly picking up the story, “and I turn around to kiss this beautiful creature and there instead is the big mug of Brett Ratner beaming in my face.” 

“Pierce jumped out of the bed screaming like he just saw a ghost,” says Hayek, guffawing at the memory. “It took a while to be able to get back to work because everybody was in hysterics.” 

“Brett took great joy in showing the dailies that day,” mutters Brosnan. 

“We watched it over and over,” giggles Hayek. “It must be on the DVD!” 

Hayek and Brosnan hope the fun they had making After the Sunset rubs off on movie audiences. “These are very dramatic times,” muses Hayek, whose previous films include Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Wild Wild West, and Frida, for which she was nominated for a best actress Oscar. “I think people want to see things that take their mind off everything that is going on and make them feel good.” 

Brosnan seconds the motion. “It has a good kind of popcorn-movie feel to it, if we got it right,” says the actor, who has starred in the last four James Bond films as well as The Thomas Crown Affair, Laws of Attraction, and Evelyn. “It’s fast-moving and hopefully entertaining and funny. And I think Salma is one of the most beautiful women in film today. Her Latin blood, my Irish blood—I think it’s a nice cocktail.” 

We’ll drink to that. 

LOS ANGELES CONFIDENTIAL: Pierce, we know what cracked Salma up. What was the funniest moment of shooting for you?

PIERCE BROSNAN:[Laughing] I think the day that Woody Harrelson and Brett Ratner went hammer and tongs at each other. That was highly amusing, and a day that never can be forgotten. 

LAC: So the rumor that they came to blows is true?

PB: I think everybody in the business heard about it. 

LAC: What happened?
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PB: They just had a kind of mild interaction across the water, then Woody proceeded to do his best Errol Flynn, mounting the galleon and trying to punch Brett’s lights out, I think. They are old friends so it was hard to tell whether it was for real or staged. I think they just wanted to have the day off. 

LAC: Did they get the day off?

PB: [Laughing] No, we carried on shooting. 

LAC: You have been attached to After the Sunset for some time. What attracted you to the project?

PB: I liked the idea of a heist movie with an ensemble cast. Thank God, Brett Ratner stepped into the mix. He really elevated it above the normal genre piece that it was. When we got him, we got a picture with real style and panache. He just gets everybody jazzed up. 

LAC: What appealed to you, Salma?

SALMA HAYEK: I wanted to do something fun and happy, but also dangerous and funny. Another nice incentive is that I have been very good friends with Woody Harrelson for many years. And since it was shooting in the Bahamas, I could dive every day. I have been a diver since I was 12. 

PB: I didn’t do any diving, but I had my family there; we went sailing and fishing. We lived right on the water so it was a very pleasurable experience. 

LAC: Can we expect any steamy sex scenes between you two, à la The Thomas Crown Affair?

SH: We are already an item when the movie starts. It is sexy but it is a completely different tone. It’s very funny and slick. It is the Bahamas. The tone is a little more relaxed and reggae, you know.

PB: I play a thief, but he is not as closed off and austere as Crown was. He’s much more accessible. 

LAC: What was your reaction when you heard that the other was going to star in the movie?

PB: I was thrilled. I thought it was a perfect choice. I think Salma is someone who is just coming into her own. What she did with Frida was outstanding. We got on famously. 

SH: I have been wanting to work with Pierce for a long time. He has a great sense of humor and he’s really easygoing and very professional. We had a lot of good laughs. 

LAC: The plot of After the Sunset revolves around a diamond heist. Are diamonds really a girl’s best friend, Salma?

SH: I’m not like Liz Taylor about diamonds, but I like them, yeah. 

LAC: When have you worn the most diamonds to an event? 

SH: When I was starting out, I was lucky enough to go to Cannes. A company wanted me to wear its jewelry. I had more than $4 million or some ridiculous amount of money in jewelry on me. The company insisted it would take care of the car, the security—everything. We went to the premiere and it looked like I was the biggest star in Cannes because there was so much security. I mean, there were bodyguards running next to the limo. It was like this big to-do. So in the middle of the party, I got bored with the earrings because they were so heavy; I took the jewelry off and gave it to one of the bodyguards, then I started dancing. All of a sudden, I realized they had all left. The minute I gave the diamonds back, the security was gone, my car was gone— everything was gone. It was all about the diamonds. I had to get a ride back to the hotel. 

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PB:  My first year at the Oscars, my wife, Keely, had about a million on one ear and a million on the other. At one point, we stood up together to give somebody—I think it was Sidney Poitier—a standing ovation. Suddenly, she went, “Oh my God! One of the earrings has fallen off!” The next thing you know, we’re on our hands and knees with Donald Trump and his girlfriend grappling around for this earring. 

LAC: Please tell us you found it.

PB: Luckily the audience clapped long and loud enough to give us time to find the earring, but it was not a pleasant experience. I mean, you got a lot of greenbacks hanging off your ear there. 

LAC: Salma, how much did the success of Frida change your career?

SH: Drastically. After Frida, I directed a movie for Showtime, The Maldonado Miracle. Then I started working again as an actor, and I haven’t stopped. I just finished a movie in South Africa with Colin Farrell, directed by Robert Towne, called Ask the Dust. Now it looks like I’m going to Mexico to do a movie with my friend Penélope Cruz. 

LAC: Speaking of seminal roles, Pierce, you recently announced that you were finished playing James Bond…

PB: There was no announcement. I think the reporter heard it wrong. I think what I said was, “I’ve had my fill of talking about Bond.” 

LAC: So there was not an official announcement that you were finished doing Bond films?

PB: It was not an official announcement. 

LAC: So what is next for you?

PB: A black comedy called The Matador, which comes out in the spring. Now I’m looking at drama scripts. I want to do something that has some meat on it. 

LAC: Do you like to go out much when you’re in LA?

SH: Yes. I have not been in town for nearly a year now and I have been dying to visit some of the new restaurants everybody is talking about. I am eager to rediscover Los Angeles because I really think it’s growing in the right direction. A lot of people complain about Los Angeles and say, “Oh there is nothing to do.” I always find things to do.

PB: My wife and I usually stay in Malibu, but when we do go into town, we will go to the theater. We’ll go to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion or the Hollywood Bowl and make a weekend of it.

SH: I think the city is improving culturally; like right now, at the science museum, there is this exhibition about the human body that I can’t wait to see. All this time I’ve been away, I’ve really missed Los Angeles. It’s home to me. I love the quality of life here. I get to have a garden and flowers and vegetables and dogs. I walk out in the morning and look at my roses, how they develop. 

LAC: What was your first impression of Hollywood when you arrived here?

PB: Magic, sheer magic. I loved it as soon as I landed at LAX. I just loved America. You could be anything and do anything you wanted. I got into town, rented a car from Rent-A-Wreck, and went to my very first interview, which was for Remington Steele, and I got the job. I felt lucky. It was very much the classic American dream for me.

SH: I really had no expectations of Hollywood. I was very naïve when I came here, but I have to say, I liked it from the beginning. It’s a lot more difficult for Mexican actors obviously, but that has been changing quite nicely too. When I was starting out, there was nothing in terms of roles and now there are lot more, definitely. 

LAC: Were there specific films that you saw growing up that inspired you to pursue a career in movies?

SH: I saw Willie Wonka & the Chocolate Factory when I was a little girl and I still have an emotional attachment to it. It was amazing to me that there was a place where the river could be made of chocolate—and the flowers made of candy—and you could chew a piece of gum and levitate and then burp yourself back to earth. It really dawned on me that there was a place where you could be anything, and anything could happen, and that’s in the movies. They’re remaking it now, and when I have children I’ll show them both versions.

PB: When I was a teenager, I thought Bonnie and Clyde was really one of the most incredible films I had ever seen. Warren Beatty, Steve McQueen, Clint Eastwood—they really inspired me. 

LAC: How would you describe this time in your life?

PB: This is one of the happiest, most productive times of my life. It’s great being 50, 51, in the middle of life, looking back at a series of accomplishments and achievements. I’ve overcome heartaches and not been beaten down by them and I’m thinking ahead to more movies, painting, producing.

SH: It’s a very busy time in my life, but at the same time, it’s a very, very nice time in many ways. I’ve come a long way and I appreciate that every day. 

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