Hello!: Pierce Brosnan, Man Of Steele Moves On
 
Interview by: Sue Russell
Photographs by: Nancy Ellison 

July 23, 1988

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The actor with a tough image reveals the tender side to his life in Hollywood Pierce Brosnan's career, post Remington Steele, is positively flourishing. He stars in the forthcoming Merchant/Ivory film, The Deceivers, and on television in Noble House, the eight-hour miniseries based on James Clavell's epic novel. Next, he'll play Phileas Fogg in a six-hour mini-series based on Jules Verne's Around The World In Eighty Days.
 
That means back to work after several months well-deserved rest and relaxation after five years of Remington Steele. It also means thirteen weeks on location in London, Hong Kong, Thailand, Macao, then Yugoslavia and the Adriatic coast.
 
"Tough job, eh?" he jokes, relaxing outside his rented Malibu beach house. Cassie, the striking blonde he met when they were both just 20, lies a few feet in front of us, sampling the delights of Malibu's expansive sand with their flaxenhaired four-year-old son, Sean. They also have two older children, Charlotte, 16, and Christopher, 15.

"I just know that I've got a wonderful woman," Pierce says of his wife. "I was very lucky to encounter Cassie and have a life with her. For the things that I lack she makes up. She's a lot brighter than me, a lot smarter. I'm much more passionate and instinctive and will maybe make wrong decisions."

He can be cautious about making decisions whereas the energetic Cassie has real get-up-and-go. "If she listened to me, we'd still be probably in Wimbledon, and still pushing the car," he laughs.

''I'm blessed with having had Cassie. . . especially having had success as well. It's been a real thrill. Her career really has been on the back burner, and there's never been any animosity or bickering or jealousy. It's been nothing but an absolute giving on her part."

It's not easy being a star's wife, and when they met Cassie was a very successful actress. "She was the lady in the limelight, and I was the boyfriend," says Pierce, who is sympathetic to the pressures.

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"Even if you have the dignity and beauty and humour and intelligence and humility that my wife does, it's hard at times. You really have to listen and try to understand the other person's feelings: I think we're quite a formidable team now."

The saving grace has been their ability to talk through any problems. Clearly, they are dedicated to their relationship, but Pierce is anxious to point out that it's not an effort, nor a duty.

"It just feels very organically right that I should be with this woman and share my life with her, and she with me."

The family unit is enormously important to Pierce. His father separated from his mother when he was two, then she left Ireland for London, leaving Pierce with a succession of relatives until she was able to send for him when he was 11.

"My childhood was unfortunate. It wasn't devastating or anything like that. It's one of these things that happens. But there was a lack of a sense of family, I suppose, in my life."

Pierce and Cassie decided to send Charlotte and Christopher - who were born in England - home to complete their education.
 
"They can't travel with us, they have to go to school, and it just became a nightmare," Cassandra explains. "Sending them back was the best thing we ever did. It gave them that bit of Englishness back again."

"It's their heritage really," Pierce agrees. "And I think teenagers in Los Angeles become a volatile mix. Especially if you do have money. My daughter did go to one particular school here and the girls all had Mercedes, they would all take their mum and dad's Gold Card and go down to the Beverly Centre and spend fortunes on clothes. Well, that is not what life is about. Charlotte and Christopher are growing up to have a good sense of values."

Pierce doesn't kid himself that by physically removing Charlotte and Christopher they will be exempt from the drug-ridden society that confronts them in Hollywood.

"Within any school anywhere in the world I think there's a certain amount of experimenting that goes on with children. If it's not that it's alcohol, going to the pub.

"They tell us exactly what's happening, and I believe them. And I've said to them that I've experimented. But I've also seen people getting badly screwed up by it. I think they accept that the both of us have discussed it with them, because otherwise you're a hypocrite to your children and you're lying to them."

Early on during his stay in Hollywood, Pierce was quite brutal in his derogatory remarks about the place. He admits he has a love/hate relationship with it; these days it's more love than hate. "I suppose at times I've bit the hand that's fed me. It does frustrate me and I do find myself constantly looking for a way to get out of it and set up a home somewhere else. But it's given me a great living, a great lifestyle."

The Brosnans have kept their home in the Hollywood Hills, but they spend most of their time in Malibu. It is a rich, rarified world, packed with fellow stars. There are trips back to London, but realistically, Pierce cannot imagine himself moving back to England. Not while the work flows and there's so much of America to explore.

'There's some way for me to go, too. I proved that I can do TV and I've been fairly successful. I want to see, can I have a movie career?"

Pierce admits to feeling frustration and impotence when his contractual obligations to Remington Steele cost him the chance to replace Roger Moore as James Bond. In retrospect, he sees it as a blessing.

"I think I'm much more of a free agent, as it were," he reflects. "I've got so much baggage with Remington, being seen as suave and sophisticated. Bond was a short cut, I suppose, on an international scale. But even so, I think somebody up there didn't want me to do it."
 
Noble House, in which he stars with Deborah Raffin, was a calculated career move, picked specifically for the purpose of "putting as much distance as possible between me and Remington Steele." It accomplishes that. In it, Brosnan plays a ruthless businessman whose financial trading empire is in jeopardy.

"Everything that can go wrong goes wrong, but everything that should go right does go right in the end. I enjoyed doing it up to a point. It's not my kind of material," says Pierce.

"The character was a very calculating guy who kept his cards very close to his chest. Having done it, I realised I'd rather play characters with a little bit more humanity and a little bit more vulnerability."

His forthcoming film, The Deceivers, based on John Masters' trilogy, was very much to Mr Brosnan's taste, and he's also excited about Around The World In Eighty Days. The TV production will be family fare, not the usual recipe of sex, violence, greed and lust.

A bonus from Noble House was that Pierce was given a production deal with Columbia Pictures and an office on the studio lot where he can work on developing his own projects. Ireland is rich in stories with screen potential, and he is also currently developing a modern-day Crime And Punishment. He grins, and says, "I have a great secretary and a place to hang my hat, so I'm really not complaining!".

 

Interview transcription and photos courtesy of Ellen


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