13-06-08

P.B. interview "Parade.com"

Brosnan interview for "Parade"

 13th of June 2008

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Welcome to paradise!’ Pierce Brosnan lifts his glass to toast me and his wife of six years, Keely. We’re at their oceanfront Hawaiian home, dining on salade niçoise and pasta with locally grown mushrooms. The setting is stunning, and the views of nature are spectacular. Brosnan is not kidding about lifestyle on the north coast of Kauai being bliss. In this glamorous atmosphere, he is looking movie-star handsome in seersucker shorts and flip-flops, and Keely’s hair is still wet from a swim in the sea.

“Living here has been very insular and rewarding,” Brosnan says with a smile. “It has allowed me to be a father who can sit quietly with my two young sons, Dylan and Paris [ages 11 and 7]. I paint, and they paint. And we play guitar. We play ukulele. My wife is an ace gardener, and the kids get in the mud with her. You can have a very simple life here.”

His onscreen life has been very different, given that he seems to have spent much of it in a tuxedo. The ’80s TV series Remington Steele helped create his reputation as a suave rogue, and playing James Bond in four hit movies established Brosnan as a jet-setting ladies’ man. The Thomas Crown Affair also helped seal his image as a first-class man of style.

“It’s a hard game, the movie game,” he says, relaxed now, with his dog sleeping at his feet. “You’re judged constantly. You have to be as tough as old boots. You have to keep up as an actor—physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally—just to be there, because, when the opportunity comes around, the door can close so quickly. ‘Do you sing?’ Of course I sing. ‘Do you sky-dive?’ Of course I do. ‘Do you fight?’ Yeah. ‘Are you a lover?’ Are you kidding? ‘What are you?’ So that’s ingrained in me, as an actor, to be prepared, I suppose.”

But Brosnan wasn’t prepared when he got a phone call out of the blue about four years ago saying his tenure as 007 was done. Daniel Craig would take over the part of James Bond. “I didn’t see that coming,” he says. “I thought we were going to do a fifth film. And I was going to take a gracious bow off the stage. Instead of that, you are just told, ‘Goodbye.’ That’s the way it goes down in life. It’s as hard and as fast as that. I had done my contract. They had invited me back, and they changed their mind. It’s business.”

The implication was that Brosnan, now 55, was too old for the part. Women in the movie business are used to hearing that, but not a guy who’s still a leading man. “That was a shock, yes,” he says with a laugh. “I never thought of myself as being too old. It was startling to hear such things said about oneself, especially when you thought you were going down that particular avenue, and then the door gets slammed in your face.”

Shaken and stirred but not bitter, Brosnan now thinks passing the Bond baton was a blessing. “Oh, it turned out very lucky,” he says. “Within the space of the punch and the pain of being passed over or rejected or the bottom of your world falling out, within that same breath came this liberation of, ‘I’m free. I can do anything I want.’ It’s up to me to have the guts to make the next stage of my career as interesting and as exciting and unexpected as possible.”

 Brosnan has Always kept his career varied, taking on roles from suave to seedy. He’s shown his range in movies like Evelyn, The Matador, and Seraphim Falls. Soon we’ll see the biggest stretch of his career (think sparkly blue spandex bell bottoms), when he serenades Meryl Streep in the screen version of the popular musical Mamma Mia! It opens July 18.

Romance we expected, but declaring his love in song? You have to wonder if the prospect of belting out “S.O.S.” and those other very familiar ABBA songs was daunting. “Well, everybody has danced to this music,” says Brosnan, “so I just went for it. They said ‘Meryl Streep, filming in Greece all summer,’ and I said ‘yes.’ ” He shakes his head. “Not to say I wasn’t terrified to my core.”

Just picture Brosnan on the beach, singing to the waves along with his iPod. “I walked up and down the coast and sang karaoke to my own voice for about six weeks. Went to New York for the first rehearsals, and I sounded dreadful. I quietly freaked out, and with my new-found bravado, I made a pig’s ear of it. So I went back home and listened and sang some more.” He grins triumphantly. “In the end, they liked it so much they added a verse to my big song.”

The vocals were one kind of challenge. The costumes were even scarier. “It was a hoot,” he recalls. “To look at this outfit and say to yourself, ‘I’m going to put this on and walk out there in platform shoes and camp around singing.’ I
just told myself we were in too deep to go back.”

He chuckles. “You have to be able to make fun of your own dignity. You’ve got to let the movie make fun of your dignity. To let it rip is brilliantly exhilarating.”

Though he loves his laid-back life in Hawaii, Brosnan admits he’s ready to go back to the mainland. “I’m a worker,” he says. “Every job I got I had to fight for. I’ve been lucky, but I’ve worked hard at it. I love making movies. I love the adventure of being an actor. I have to stay sharp.”

Brosnan has lived the giant ups and downs of the Hollywood fantasy. Twenty-one years ago, his first wife, Cassandra Harris, became ill with ovarian cancer. Brosnan chose to put aside work and stay by her side through the ordeal. “That’s what we’re supposed to do,” he says. “We’re human beings. In sickness and in health, you know?” Her death was a giant loss to their son, Sean, who is now on his way to being an actor. (Brosnan also adopted Cassie’s two children by a previous husband.)

Brosnan defines himself as a “working actor” who’s never lost touch with the real side of life. “Having endured, I suppose, playing James Bond and not playing James Bond, that makes you thick-skinned,” he says. “But I had that skin beforehand anyway, because I had the philosophy that I was going to be successful and hopefully successful without being detrimental to myself as a person.

“You struggle with money. You struggle without money. You struggle with love. You struggle without love. But it’s how you manage. You have to keep laughing, you have to be fun to be with, and you have to live with style—not fancy-schmancy, but in a way which is present and meaningful and has some beauty to it.”

He leans forward with enthusiasm. “You’ve got to be a fighting rooster, man,” says Brosnan. “You’ve got to get out there and preen those feathers and look like you know what you’re doing and hope you know what you’re doing and have a good time.”


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19:52 Gepost door Brosnangirl in Actualiteit | Permalink | Commentaren (0) | Tags: parade, pierce brosnan, mamma mia, bond, 007, keely |  Facebook |

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