TV Guide: Brosnan Takes Bond To The Extreme
AS HE STARS IN THE 20TH BOND ADVENTURE, DIE ANOTHER DAY, PIERCE BROSNAN COMES CLEAN ABOUT 00'S COMPETITION, HIS SEX SCENE WITH HALLE BERRY AND HIS FUTURE AS THE WORLD'S
MOST FAMOUS SECRET AGENT.November 9-15, 2002
ON THE BACK LOT OF ENGLAND'S Pinewood Studios in the wee hours of the morning, James Bond stands alone, ready for battle. His weapons: a well-cut tuxedo and a sexy grin. His mission: to foil a plot to destroy the world (again). His foe: not SPECTRE, not SMERSH, but the crummy British weather, which, at this moment, is pummeling the world's most sophisticated secret agent with sheets of unrelenting rain angled by bitterly cold wind.
Pierce Brosnan looks up from the puddle he's been standing in for hours and laughs as raindrops run down his handsome face. "Did I tell you I wanted to play this role since the day I was born?" says the star of "Die Another Day," the 20th installment in the series that began 40 years ago, when Sean Connery first electrified audiences in "Dr. No." Once director Lee Tamahori ("Along Came a Spider") yells "Cut!" Brosnan heads to a nearby tent to warm himself-not with a shaken martini as Bond would, but with a proper cup of tea. After all, he has hours to go this night, and even a hero needs a caffeine shot every now and then. He can, ahem, rest another day.
If Brosnan is pushing himself-he admits that "Die Another Day" has been the most physically taxing of his four Bond films-it's for good cause. Like Bond, Brosnan, 49, can't afford to slow down, as contenders to the action star throne pursue him like heat-seeking missiles.
''The stakes are
really high on this one," Brosnan says. "We all felt the pressure of making
the 20th movie. And of all the competition. Everybody wants to be Bond:
Tom Cruise wants to be Bond. Vin Diesel wants to be Bond. Mike Myers wants
to be Bond. They all kind of parody and emulate. And that's a compliment.
But they can't hold a candle to Bond. How can they? They're not Bond."
With "GoldenEye" (1995), "Tomorrow Never Dies" (1997) and "The World Is Not Enough" (1999), Brosnan is now James Bond to a new generation of 007 fans. His own favorite Bond: Sean Connery. "Roger Moore did a great job," says Brosnan, ''but Connery's the only one that has that kind of presence on screen." His favorite 007 scene: Connery about to be halved by a laser in "Goldfinger" (1964).
Bond and Brosnan have had a long relationship. The first film he ever saw was "Goldfinger." His first wife, Cassandra Harris, who died of ovarian cancer in 1991, played a Bond paramour opposite Moore in 1981's "For Your Eyes Only." And Brosnan was picked for the role not once but twice. The first time was in 1986, when he was starring in Remington Steele and Bond producer Albert Broccoli chose Brosnan to take over from the retiring Roger Moore. But NBC would not release Brosnan from his contract, and the part went to Timothy Dalton. Brosnan was finally fitted for 007's tux in "GoldenEye."
Looking at past Bonds, Michael G. Wilson, the series' executive producer, points to Connery's "animal magnetism, masculinity, sexiness. Lazenby (see "Double Oh Once," page 34) was an interesting character but, as an actor, a bit immature. Roger made it a little more fanciful than Sean. Timothy Dalton played it a little more tortured. Pierce has a lot of Sean's attributes but he has a vulnerability, too. And that's allowed us to write more complex pieces for him."
Months after enduring the deluge at Pinewood Studios, Brosnan sits in his office in Santa Monica, California. He appears fully rested-he and his wife, Keely Shaye Smith, just spent a month in Bora Bora. ''That woman has been a joy in my life," he says of the mother of his two small sons, Dylan Thomas, 5, and Paris Beckett, 1. "I'm a lucky man that I should find happiness and love and a new life. She is the essence to what my family is about."
That family also
includes Harris's children, Charlotte, 30, a massage and beauty therapist,
and Christopher, 29, a documentary filmmaker, whom Brosnan raised and adopted.
And he and Harris had one son, Sean, 19. It was Sean who was injured in
a car accident in Malibu in April 2000. "The worst phone call of my life,"
says Brosnan. "His pelvis was shattered-and his ribs. He is made of strong
fiber. He's a better man in many respects." Sean is now a drama student