People Magazine: Picks & Pans
started playing the tapes for 8-hour mini, and suddenly the women
themselves. They'd hear that neo-Cary Grant accent, rush to my office
at the TV. Their jaws would drop. Their knees would shake, rattle and roll. As
if they were Juliets speaking Romeo's name, they'd sigh and say,
Brosnan". Noble House is his show.
It is his coming-out party as an official debonair sex symbol. It is absolute proof that he should have been
James Bond —a role that would have combined the humor he displayed in
Steele with all the grace, charm, cleverness, good looks and deft
displays in Noble House, a stir fried Dallas based on James (Shogun)
Ian Dunross, the modern-day Taipan (that's Chinese for chief executive
autocrat) of an ancient Hong Kong
Brosnan plays puppeteer over a score of storylines. He fights back from
financial ruin, then fends off hostile— and surprisingly
attempts by his evil rival, John (Raiders ol the Lost Ark) Rhys-Davies. He gets into business with Ben (Making Mt.
Right) Masters an unethical American tycoon. He gets into bed with
assistant Deborah (Lace II) Raffin. He
inherits a mysterious, century-old obligation to grant any favor to the
of certain half coin. He gets wrapped up in kidnapping, murder, spy
drug smuggling, fires, landslides and international intrigue. Brosnan
every scene, calmly, coolly. He is the best of the show. There is more
acting from Rhys-Davies, the gorgeous Julia Nickson as a TV reporter,
(Upstairs Downstairs) Jackson as a cop and Denholm Elliott in a cameo
Brosnan's predecessor. And Hong Kong co-stars too; it is a magnificent
delightfully photographed in the streets, the junk-filled harbor, the
exchange and the penthouses of the city. Okay, so a few of the bit
awfully played. And yes, there is a bit too much talk about old tales.
ignore its pimples. Noble House is great. It is the salvation of the
miniseries. For unlike Windmills of the
Gods and every
other mini in recent (and unhappy) memory, Noble House tells a story
and too majestic for a mere two-hour movie. That's why it’s a
this is what every miniseries should be.
Tribune: TV Week
Kenneth R Clarke
is Pierce Brosnan
known to television viewers as Remington Steele, a lightweight come to
figment of Stephanie Zimbalist's imagination, who packs the biggest
Dunross the new
Tai-Pan of Straun Enterprises, which is the corporate name of Noble
Brosnan is nitroglycerine in a bottle - cool and controled - but very
if not handled with care. He plays the
role with an aura that harkens back to Hollywood's
star system Clark Gable and Robert Taylor were elemental forces beyond
who sold the
screen rights to "Tai Pan" years ago when
money wasn't as plentiful as it is now was
like to see him in
costume pictures - something like "The Scarlet Pimpernel" or
"Tai Pan", if I could get the rights back to make it into a
mini-series," he said. "He'd
be great as Dick Straun. He's got that [
] arrogance rather like Sean Connery has. He's
very dignified but there's a brooding there. It's
the Irish, that Celtic quality."
Times: Executive Role
for Clavell in TV Series
''Noble House,'' the
eight-hour mini-series that begins Sunday on NBC, James Clavell is not
merely as the author of the original novel. He also acted as executive
of the mini-series, and he was closely involved at every stage of
''Noble House,'' a tale of intrigue in the business community of
Hong Kong, stars Pierce Brosnan, Deborah Raffin, John Rhys-Davies,
and Denholm Elliott.
Clavell's dual role as
author and executive producer is virtually unparalleled in television
but then not many best-selling novelists have the extensive experience
entertainment business that Mr. Clavell has had. Before achieving the
success that encouraged the networks to fight over rights to his novels
(''Shogun'' was a ratings smash in 1981, and his latest best seller,
''Whirlwind,'' is currently up for grabs), Mr. Clavell wrote the
for the 1958 version of ''The Fly'' and ''The Great Escape,'' among
he wrote and directed ''To Sir With Love.''
distributed films for three years in his native England. ''I actually
films,'' Mr. Clavell said in a recent interview. ''So I know about
and distribution, and things like miscellaneous costs and advertising
novelists are unaware of. That's why the Hollywood executives don't
me very much from time to time.''
this experience has
made Mr. Clavell a tough negotiator when he gets around to selling his
eager producers. His dissatisfaction with the movie version of
which brought him a hefty sum but no creative control over the finished
product, left him convinced of the need to oversee the adaptations of
books. ''Dino De Laurentiis had the right to make whatever he wanted to
Mr. Clavell said of the producer of ''Tai-Pan.'' ''But I get rotten
that say, 'I love your books, but I hated the film and I'm not seeing
film that you've made.' '' 'Everybody Knew My Work'
quite a change
from audience reactions to the television version of ''Shogun'' seven
ago. ''For me, that was like the difference between B.C. and A.D.,''
Clavell said. ''All of a sudden everybody knew my work. We sold almost
million books in a six-week period during and just after the broadcast
sold the rights to
''Noble House,'' Mr. Clavell insisted that the network hire Eric
the writer and producer. Mr. Bercovici had played the same role on
and Mr. Clavell was pleased with the results. ''I could do a script
Clavell said, ''but I wouldn't want to. Number one, I'd be writing
myself, which is psychologically a bad thing to do. Secondly, I had
spent five years of absolute concentration on 'Noble House.' When
dropping characters and changing things around, it's far better for
writer to do it. Besides, Eric is a much better screenwriter than I am.
knows the TV medium; he understands exactly wnen the act breaks have to
that when he first met with Mr. Clavell about the possibility of
together on ''Shogun,'' the author did not look pleased with the
the screenwriter suggested. ''But we met again the next day,'' Mr.
''and James came in with a paperback copy of the novel, from which he'd
out the pages that I had suggested cutting. And he said to me, 'My God,
works.' Since then we've had a wonderful collaboration.''
case of ''Noble
House,'' Mr. Clavell worked closely with Mr. Bercovici in blocking out
script and deciding what should be retained from the novel and what
eliminated. One of the first decisions they reached was that recreating
Kong in 1963 (the period when Mr. Clavell's novel was set) would be
prohibitively expensive. ''Nineteen-sixty-three Hong Kong is rubble
somewhere,'' Mr. Bercovici noted. In updating the story to contemporary
Mr. Bercovici was able to address the issue of the impending return of
Kong to Communist China, which had not been dealt with in the novel.
script had been
completed to Mr. Clavell's satisfaction, the author also participated
production process. He suggested a number of the English and Chinese
appear in the mini-series. He also took the company to Hong Kong and
select locations. While the mini-series was being filmed, Mr. Clavell
Europe, but rushes were sent to him on video cassette. Later he was
on the editing. How were disagreements resolved? ''We worked out a
'Shogun,' '' Mr. Clavell replied. ''Eric, the director and I each had
and a vote of two out of three carried the day. I know it sounds very
but there were no major controversies.''
one reason for the
harmonious working relationships is that Mr. Clavell maintains a
detachment from the adaptations of his work. ''As a
he observed, ''I've adapted other people's work, and you have to be
professional about it. Besides, whatever sort of film is made, the book
exists. Nobody can touch that. Although I was very pleased with the
version of 'Shogun,' it is not the book at all. The book is a Japanese
and the Englishman in it is basically incidental, a device to tell the
of Japan. The TV version is a love story about Richard Chamberlain and
beautiful Japanese girl.''
Clavell's interest in
the Orient may have its roots in the three years he spent in a Japanese
camp in Singapore during World War II. He first visited Hong Kong in
lived there for a year. Since then he has been back almost every year.
remains fascinated by the avid capitalism of the city.
write about Hong
Kong,'' Mr. Clavell said, ''you write about business and money. That's
whole purpose of the city. Insider trading is quite legal there, and
society is a much more free and easy buccaneering, capitalistic
strong survive and the weak perish. I prefer it to Western societies,
in Hong Kong everything is out in the open. They obey the law, because
is fairly loose. They don't have these very stringent rules which
attempt to create a television film of ''Whirlwind,'' and he and Mr.
also hope to make a six-hour mini-series based on Mr. Clavell's first
''King Rat,'' which was drawn on his wartime experiences in the Changi
camp. That novel was made into a feature film in 1966, but the
version would include material that had to be left out of the movie as
a number of scenes with the prisoners' wives that were cut from the
the suggestion of Mr. Clavell's publisher. ''We said to ABC that it's
Rat' crossed with 'Hollywood Wives,' '' Mr. Clavell said.
Associated Press: Time for Brosnan
February 18, 1988
ANGELES - Pierce
Brosnan. who'd never been to Asia before, started last year with a
in Hong Kong and ended It with a movie in India.
between, he returned to
his native Ireland to do an independent film with some friends.
House/* starts its eight hour, four-part run on NBC this Sunday. It's
the best-selling book by James Clavell.
movie in India Is
"The Deceivers," from the book by John Masters. The Irish movie is
House," Brosnan stars as Ian Dunross. the tai-pan. or boat, of Hong
leading trading house. It also stars Deborah Raffin, Ben Masters, John
Houseman, John Rhys-Davies and Julia Nickson (.an Nelvm directed it on
in Hong Kong for 12 weeks and at the Dino De Laurentis Studio in North
for another 12 weeks.
Kong was my
first step into the Orient." said Brosnan "It's a fascinating place,
sort of a condensed version of New York City. My schedule was such that
time to go around and see the place. I bought an automatic camera and
was around me
was so exciting to look at and so different ... Having started life as
commercial artist, I've always looked at things as though to paint
them. As the
story opens, Dunross has just taken over the family's trading empire.
in his dealings with people," said Brosnan. "He has a remoteness to
him. An isolated charm. I've never played a character like him before.
came at a very opportune moment, after the whole incident of James Bond
"Remington Steele" a few seasons hack. Brosnan was asked to become
the next James Bond. Then, because of publicity over Bond. NBC put
"Remington Steele" back on the air and Brosnan was dropped from the
see the offer of
the role in "Noble House" as a peace offering?
it as a peace offering." he said. "I saw it as a way of putting as
much distance between myself and 'Remington Steele' as possible. I'd
enjoyed doing the series, but I knew coming back for six more episodes