People Magazine

People - Jan 23, 2006

Bye, Bond

Leaving 007 behind, the aftershave-smooth action hero reinvents himself -- and wins critical raves -- as hairy over-the-hill hit man in The Matador

Interview by: Natasha Stoynoff
Photograph by: Eric Ogden

(January 23, 2006)

Dismissed after a decade as James Bond, the actor who played him is getting used to a new identity: Brosnan. Pierce Brosnan. Playing against longtime type, he's leaving critics shaken and stirred in his role as a sleazy assassin for hire in the black comedy The Matador.

Nominated for a Golden Globe (his first nod since 1985). "I'm over the moon." says Brosnan. 52. "I wish all of this happened sooner. But there's no time like the present." Over a pot of tea. Brosnan told PEOPLE correspondent Natasha Stoynoff about life after Her Majesty's Secret Service.

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With wife Keely (at 2005 Oscars) 


I'm free at last. And as much as I liked playing James Bond, it was a shackle. The day the phone rang and it was my agent saying, "It's over. Negotiations have stopped," I was shocked. It was a bit of a body blow. They had invited me back and then uninvited me. Then I felt a great sense of liberation, a mild euphoria that I was free of it and could do anything I wanted. I was an actor again. I've had 10 years and four films that were very successful and a whole generation grew up with me playing Bond. And I made a great living from it. So I look at it positively. Anything else would be detrimental and negative and soul-destroying.


I read The Matador script and I howled. On page one, the guy gets out of bed with a girl. Okay, I've done that a million times. And then he paints his toe-nails black, tells a little boy off. tells a woman he'd like her if she lost 30 Ibs..,and then blows a guy up. And that's all in the first page! He is really outrageous. At one point, I panicked. I was a little nervous going off and doing something so different.


We shot the scene [above right] at 11 a.m. I had five pairs of underpants on the bed. all black, laid out for me. I had a beer first. Yeah, I did. I stood there in my dressing gown and knickers, thinking, "Should I do this?" And I'm checking myself out from the side. from the front, and I'm going. "All right, okay, just remember... suck in the gut!" It was hysterical. The extras were agog. You can see the women laughing. It skewers people's perception of me.


I make my kids (Dylan, 9 and Paris, 4] breakfast most mornings [when I'm home] -soft-boiled eggs and oatmeal— and I watch the Today show. I pack their lunch... I make banana and honey sandwiches without the crusts. They don't like crusts. Then I drive them to school, and maybe I'll go for a jog or a swim if it's warm. We live a pretty domestic and normal life. My wife [environmental activist Keely Shave Smith, 42] and I go down to the tide pools and walk. Or we ride our bikes down to Xuma [Beach] and have coffee and watch the whales. My wife likes to garden. She's beautiful—sensuous, gorgeous, intelligent, funny and has a good heart. Everything's better with her. It's wonderful plotting and scheming life together.


Sean [22, his son with first wife Cassandra Harris, who died of ovarian cancer in 1991] is an actor, and I'm embarrassed to say I haven't seen him onstage yet. He just completed three years studying in London, and he's got three films under his belt already. Christopher [33, Harris's son whom Brosnan adopted] has gone through agony [he was arrested in London in June for suspected heroin possession]. The disease of drug and alcohol abuse is prevalent in our society, and it's been a hard road for him. But now he's healthy and he's good. And we all love and adore him. [Brosnan also has an adopted daughter. Charlotte, 34.]


I have this beard for the film I'm shooting now. Seraphim Falls, a Civil War western. I can't wait to shave it off. People have compared me to Saddam Hussein. It looks good when I'm on a horse, but my wife hates it. She wants her man back.

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FAMILY MAN: cycling in Malibu with son Paris (last April); with older sons Sean  and 
Christopher in 2003.

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