When I first started photographing I could not help but think getting a cover was about the best thing that could happen. I hadn't programed the headlines, all the type, the art directors and whatever else dictated the results. This was one of my first ones and luckily photographing the young handsome charming and Oh So Irish Pierce Brosnan made the experience totally delicious. We both wondered about the hand model that unexpectedly (as far as we knew) showed up, however. LOL. Isn't he cute!
At 66, Pierce Brosnan Is Cooler Than James Bond Himself
The Irish actor stands apart from - and above - 007 By Murray Clark 17/09/2019
The role of James Bond is no easy tux to shed. And, as the third longest-serving 007, Pierce Brosnan is often seen as interchangeable with the Bond of GoldenEye: the funny, punny kind that scored him almost $42m in paycheques. Those kind of roles are so often adhesive. And yet, almost two decades after his last outing in Die Another Day, the 66-year-old moved beyond Bond in a wardrobe that is pure, unadulterated Brosnan.
At Naomi Campbell's annual Fashion For Relief event, the actor took a leave of absence from MI6, accompanied by his son, Hero (who also couldn't be further from the archetypes of international espionage). It was cooler. Wilder, even. And, most importantly, more a nod to the Hollywood of the Seventies than it is to big British blockbusters of the Nineties.
First, we've the sunglasses. As the aviators of cigar-smoking, expletive-yelling film directors take point, bigger, coloured lenses have enjoyed something of a comeback in recent years. Thank brands like Moscot, and Gucci, and also the grand Seventies revival at large. Shades that sat with Jesus on the dashboard of an El Paso pick-up are now happy bedfellows with your mafioso bossman tailoring. Which is exactly what Brosnan has done.
And lest we forget the beard. Where The World Is Not Enough saw chiselled, bare-cheeked iron jaws, there's now thick, bushy, well-kept bristles. MI6 may have a strict grooming policy, less so your mid-60s.
Of course, there's a still a tux. And yes, Bond is very famous for wearing one. But Brosnan is by no means shackled to the 007 of his tenure. Instead, Brosnan threads his own path, throwing caution to the wind, and using the silver fox years to go loud on the volume dial. Sorry, James who?
Pierce Brosnan Reveals What It's Like to Be a Sex Symbol + Life After James Bond June 12, 2020 – 5:00 AM
Pierce Brosnan arrives for his interview in London during happier times—early March, before the novel coronavirus brought Europe and America to their knees. During our conversation, it’s announced that the new James Bond film will be postponed. It was Bond, of course, that turned Brosnan into a household name, and the four films in which he played the iconic secret agent, from GoldenEye (1995) to Die Another Day (2002), brought in almost $1.5 billion at the international box office.
The Ireland-born actor, a naturalized American citizen since 2004, doesn’t like to dwell on his life as 007, but admits that “Bond changed my life; it was a gift that kept on giving.” Indeed, Ian Fleming’s famous MI6 operative played a pivotal role in Brosnan’s long-standing love affair with cinema, which was nurtured in the small town of Navan, County Meath, before blossoming on his arrival in London at the age of 11. “On my first weekend in London, my mother and her boyfriend Bill Carmichael, who then became my stepfather, took me to see Goldfinger,” he says.
Brosnan was born in Drogheda, County Louth, in 1953. Early on, his father, Thomas, abandoned the family, and his mother, May, left for England to build a new life for herself and her 4-year-old son. The young Brosnan remained in Ireland, passing into the care of his mother’s parents, and enjoyed what he describes as “a very idyllic childhood, serving mass, fishing, hanging out with farmers and nuns and pulling in the hay on a horse and cart.”
His interest in the arts began to flourish after moving to London to reunite with his mother. He left school at 16 “with nothing but a cardboard folder of drawings and paintings” and began work at an art studio before he caught the acting bug.
Being cast to star in the 1982–87 NBC TV series Remington Steele proved pivotal—his performance as a con man who becomes a private investigator caught the eye of the James Bond producers, who approached him when Roger Moore retired from the role after his final Bond film, A View to a Kill, in 1985. But his TV commitments made it impossible for Brosnan to become the new 007—just yet.
Missing out on the role was disappointing, although nothing compared to the tragedy that followed when Brosnan’s wife, Australian actress Cassandra Harris (who he married in 1980 and with whom he had his first son, Sean, now 36), was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Brosnan, who had adopted Harris’ children Chris and Charlotte (from her previous marriage) after their father died, put his career on hold and cared for Harris until her death in late 1991.
With children to raise, Brosnan went back to work and, in 1994, after Timothy Dalton resigned as Bond, the 007 producers were back at his door. That same year, he met American journalist, actress and filmmaker Keely Shaye Smith, whom he married in 2001. Today they have two sons together, Dylan, now 23, and Paris, 19.
His subsequent entertainment career has been varied, but this summer he returns to the comedy genre as Erick Erickssong, a hardy Icelander, in Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (June 26 on Netflix). He told Parade about the new Will Ferrell/Rachel McAdams movie inspired by a real-world international singing contest, his favorite movies and how he is sheltering in place.
Do you sing in Eurovision, like you did in Mamma Mia!?
There is no singing from me involved, none whatsoever. This is a Will Ferrell [comedy]. It’s Will at his Elf-in finest. In the movie we come from Iceland. I play his father (possibly the most handsome man in Iceland), who is living in a very small fishing village. My boy Will, he wants to go sing in the Eurovision contest.
Your character is stern and disapproving.
Exactly that. He’s a lusty, feisty, kind of hard-living, hard-drinking fisherman. But I adore Will, so it was a lovely way to travel with my wife and enjoy a movie.
When did movies first play a major role in your life?
I was brought up on a staple of Westerns. Growing up in Ireland, there were two cinemas, the Lyric and the Palace, and they were my touchstone into the movies. And I remember The Defiant Ones, which just blew my mind. I had never seen the likes of that. Going to the pictures was a big deal on a Saturday night. We didn’t have TV. When I left Ireland in 1964 as a lad of 11, I became aware of Clint Eastwood and Steve McQueen and acquired a deeper appreciation of cinema. That garnered momentum with the work of Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift and Spencer Tracy. My grandfather loved Spencer Tracy. But I didn’t really have any thought of acting. I got a job at a tiny art studio in Putney, South London.
Did you have a happy childhood?
Gorgeous. I had a gorgeous time. Things happened that sound very dramatic, but I had a very idyllic childhood in many ways. My grandfather was a much beloved gentleman of the town, a kind man. He was my father figure and he built a tiny bungalow on the other side of the river, and that is where I spent a lot of time growing up. Then I moved into the town and I was living in London.
How was life in London during the ’60s and ’70s?
Well, musically, I was a “mod” and into the Small Faces, the Who. I hadn’t the money for a scooter, but I had Doc Martens. I had Ben Sherman shirts and the braces [suspenders]. I was living in Fulham but I had a good mate who was a Tottenham Hotspur supporter, so we would go there and watch football. It was mayhem. Those lads were just off their trolleys with the violence coming out of the stadiums.
Did you find yourself in a few scuffles?
It was terrible. Turn ’round the wrong corner, pass the wrong pub and you could get into a little bit of hot water. I was with a cool bunch of lads who were pretty level-headed, but then there were the head-bangers who were fairly vicious. I remember coming out of one match and it was just barbaric.
Backstreet scuffles are behind you now, but is art still a part of your life?
I paint. I have a studio. I am heading toward having an exhibition in Santa Monica, in Venice, sometime in October, hopefully. That will be the first endeavour. Keely had a documentary that played at the Cannes Film Festival, and when they heard that I was a painter, they asked me to submit a piece for amfAR AIDS [charity]. I’d done a painting of Bob Dylan, who is a great hero of mine. It sold for $1.4 million and Keely and I just danced into the night. If it could be like that all the time, I definitely would give up the acting game. My art has become more meaningful and more significant in my life over the last few years.
Has some of the art come out of difficult periods in your life?
The art came out in a period of my life that was quite painful and was supported by my late wife, and so there is a kind of tapestry of time and place to the work.
What do you consider your most important films?
The Long Good Friday. They didn’t send me the script. I just knew that I was some IRA hit man. I didn’t say a word in the entire movie, but it was my first one and has such a memorable ending. And then Mrs. Doubtfire stays in my mind because of the run-by fruiting scene. Robin Williams had to throw a lime at my head. I thought, We are going to be here all morning—Robin is never going to be able to hit the back of my head. Take two, bingo! He hits me and you’ve got that scene. Then GoldenEye was incredible because it was Bond. It was a monumental part of my life. And The Thomas Crown Affair—that film had the song “Windmills of Your Mind” and was just one of those beautiful pieces of penmanship and music.
How have you felt about being a sex symbol?
You really have to take it with a pinch of salt and have a sense of humor about yourself. You are an entertainer and you have been blessed with a certain countenance and good fortune of height. So you wear it as lightly as you possibly can because the old two-by-four is going to come round and whack you round the head before you know it. You have to keep redefining yourself and try to be an unexpected surprise every now and then. You can get cast in a certain role.
Do you sing in Disney’s 2021 live-action Cinderella movie?
No singing! I don’t know why they didn’t ask me to sing! We do make a reference to that in a funny way. There is a wink to those that know.
Is there anything you would still love to do, acting-wise?
I want to go back to Ireland. I want to do an Irish story. We have the rights to a book called The Graves Are Walking. It’s a book about the potato famine. We are trying to put that together. I want to do a film with [director] Bruce Beresford about Sir Isaac Newton. Bruce is trying to put that together.
Are you Newton?
I am not Sir Isaac Newton. If it all comes together, I would play King Charles II—so there you go, the Merry Monarch. There are a few other things that are developing. I am just enjoying life, the time off, the family. Keep it as simple as you can—get on and off the stage without bumping into the furniture, get away with it. All right?
What do you and Keely like to do together?
We have a beautiful garden. We have a wee cottage out there on the North Shore, and it sits on five acres, which Keely has groomed. She is a get-your-hands-dirty girl. She tells me what to do. I dig ditches for new plants, do the mulching. We do that together. It is a very simple life out there. We have built homes together. We designed a home in Malibu…well, she did, really. My attention span goes, while she is a perfectionist and consequently has built the boys and me these gorgeous homes. The bungalow in Kauai is where all the gardening is done. Our home in Malibu is on the beach, with a beautiful succulent garden.
What do you like doing with your sons?
When they were young, there were lots of family picnics and outings up into the mountains in Kauai. I don’t follow soccer, and consequently the boys are not into sports. We share a love of music and the arts. They paint. They have painted with me, and we have done a few fishing trips here and there over the years in Hawaii.
A change in plans
When production of his latest movie, Disney’s Cinderella, shut down in England in mid-March, “I was on a plane the next day,” Brosnan says during a catch-up phone interview during lockdown. “I was told I might not get out, and I wanted to be with my family.” Brosnan is isolating in his family’s three-bedroom cottage on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, which has been a home to him and wife Keely for more than 20 years. Their two youngest sons, Dylan and Paris, have returned from their respective colleges—the University of Southern California and Loyola Marymount—to live at home, along with their girlfriends, until the crisis eases.
Everyone is touched by COVID
“I lost two friends to COVID-19. They were friends of 45 years, and I am godfather to his son. No matter where you are and how beautiful it may be, you still have this awful threat to life looming.
You have to keep pushing the rock uphill, and you have to keep involved in life. We are at war. People are dying. Hopefully after all this, there will be more kindness and more awareness of the fragility of our planet.”
“[Dylan] is a musician, so he writes his songs when he is not studying,” Brosnan says of the family’s current routine. “And my other boy is a surfer. We have the ocean on the doorstep, and days are spent reading, gardening, writing, catching up with friends and pushing on with projects.”
Last book read
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez. “I took it off the shelf the other day. It is a first edition. Salma Hayek gave it to me.”
The Godfather, The English Patient, Taxi Driver
“I love pasta, although my wife does a great fillet of sole. She is such a good cook. She does it with capers and mashed potatoes and carrots. It’s very simple, but she does it so well.”
Most recent gadget
“My iPhone. I am not into gadgets. TVs just drive me insane with all those remotes. When we built the house in Malibu, I said, ‘I just want simple on-off switches.’ Of course, that didn’t happen.”
“I have a bike. I go swimming. I do a bit of boxing, hitting the heavy bag. It keeps the mind sharp.”
City or countryside
“I like cities, but I adore the countryside. I feel very at home with the Irish and English countrysides, which are some of the most beautiful countrysides on the planet. I have lived by the ocean; I live in Malibu, and I live in Kauai.”