Pierce Brosnan, Always Relevant - by Alec 006 

Pierce Brosnan. Remington Steele, James Bond, an assassin having a nervous meltdown in The Matator, singing and dancing his way through ABBA in Mamma Mia!, heck - he was even considered by Tim Burton to play Batman! I admit I sulked and pouted when I knew for sure this Irish actor would no longer be portraying my favorite British secret agent. Pierce and EON Productions awkwardly went their separate ways about five years ago, but little did I realize that Brosnan was destined for even more interesting roles in Hollywood and also in real life. ‘One door closes, another one opens’ as they say. That’s exactly what happened to the former Bond and he’s running like hell with it. As a youngster from Ireland attending school in England Brosnan was an outsider. He says his classmates never let him forget he wasn’t a TRUE Brit. His peers constantly teased him with the nickname ‘Irish’. Pierce just shrugged and learned to blend into his new country, eventually be accepted, and adapt. This adaptability in his very early teens would serve Brosnan well years later when showbusiness came calling.

Success would follow him for years to come. This was the young fellow who spent a few years performing a famous act - are you ready for this? Breathing fire - a feat he can still perform to this day! Yes, this Irish dragon had the right looks, know how, and talent to take him and his wife Cassandra to Tinsletown and begin what would become a successful and ongoing acting career. His first audition was for television - not to do a soap opera like many actors are glad to do, but a primetime NBC series. Pierce nailed the audition for a mysterious ‘front man’ for a one woman detective agency. Actually, he nailed the part a little too well. His character, Remington Steele, was to appear only occasionally in the series, giving ‘credibility’ to a private eye company consisting of only a female. This was plotted out to leave all the detective work to Pierce’s lovely co-star Stephanie Zimbalist. The network executives knew they had struck gold and the series was modified to have the two actors as a team each week solving intriguing mysteries together. Yes, it’s true. Pierce Brosnan made a big splash indeed with Remington Steele. Men tuned into the show for the sheer entertainment and single and married women alike held vigils by their televisions to watch this suave star. Brosnan was just getting started.

The seed of Pierce Brosnan landing the role of the world’s most famous Secret Agent was planted long before Hollywood got wind of it. While visiting his beautiful wife, Cassandra Harris, on the set of For Your Eyes Only, director John Glen noticed him immediately. Glen recalled ‘Here was this handsome, young, talented guy who also looked pretty athletic. I mentioned numerous times to ‘Cubby’ (Broccoli) that we should seriously consider him. Broccoli was impressed also, and said: ‘If he’s available when we need him he’s our man.' Fast forward to 1986 and Roger Moore had finally hung up his holster and Walther PPK. NBC had decided not to renew Remington Steele for another season. The infamous screentests at EON Productions U.S studio were done with Pierce and he was to become the fourth James Bond, following Sean Connery, George Lazenby, and Roger Moore, and star in The Living Daylights. The 007 contract was about to be signed and when the announcement leaked - NBC decided to jump on the bandwagon of Brosnan’s new found fame and renew Remington Steele for thirteen new episodes. Cubby Broccoli, always a shrewd businessman, said he would not have his 007 appearing on a televison series. Just like that, the deal fell apart. Coming off the filming of Brenda Starr with Brooke Shields, Timothy Dalton, an actor Cubby had coveted to do Bond for years, was suddenly available. Brosnan was devastated.

Brosnan still had his new found notoriety and fame and immediately went to work in a variety of projects. He landed starring roles in feature films such as The Fourth Protocol, The Deceivers, Mr. Johnson, The Lawnmower Man, and showed a gift for comedy in Mrs. Doubtfire opposite Robin Williams playing Sally Field’s new lover and potential stepdad to her kids. Not a lot of people know this, but when Tim Burton was casting Batman he had Pierce Brosnan on the short list to play the Dark Knight himself. Burton felt Pierce could perfectly pull off the handsome, quirky but self assured billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne and could also go a little into the dark side to be Batman. Alas, it wasn’t to be and Burton finally settled on Michael Keaton from his previous movie Beetlejuice to play the caped crusader. Brosnan would later team up with Burton as a nutty scientist in the darkly funny Mars Attacks!

Sadly, Pierce’s wife Cassandra was diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer and passed away. It was one of Cassandra’s wishes that he go on to play James Bond and opportunity number two was just around the corner. A legal dispute of television broadcast and home video rights between EON Productions and MGM Studios kept the Bond series on the shelf for five years after Licence To Kill. During this frustrating and dark time in the Bond franchise, Timothy Dalton’s contact had expired and he expressed his wish to step down from the Bond role in 1994. Seven years after originally being offered the role, Pierce Brosnan was signed, sealed, and delivered to replace Dalton and introduced to the world press as James Bond number five.

In his first film GoldenEye Pierce’s Bond not only had to battle his former friend and fellow '00' Alec Trevelyan and a weapon of huge huge catastrophic capabilities, but he also had to bring audiences back to Bond after a long five year hiatus and make the character relevant again. It’s safe to say he definitely succeeded, with critics and fans embracing him in the role. GoldenEye would go on to gross $250,000,000 worldwide. Brosnan’s other Bonds, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough and Die Another Day consecutively grossed more and more than the previous film, making Brosnan ‘The Billion Dollar Bond’. In 2004 though, the producers of the Bond movies came to an impasse.

We will never truly know what exactly happened. Brosnan was contracted for three films: GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, and The World Is Not Enough - and an option for a fourth - Die Another Day. After this, there are conflicting stories. Some say Brosnan demanded $42 Million to appear in a fifth 007 film, making him unaffordable. Others say that once EON Productions obtained the rights to Ian Fleming’s first Bond novel Casino Royale and felt the competition from the Jason Bourne spy thrillers, they decided to go in another direction, and stopped negotiating with Pierce. It is the latter I choose to believe since Brosnan has pretty much already backed up that story as well.

Like so many hardships before, Brosnan quickly moved on and realized it was a chance for him to grow once again as an actor. His first post-Bond movie The Matador, produced by his own company ‘Irish Dream Time’ featured Brosnan as a hitman suffering anxiety attacks and having emotional meltdowns. With actor Greg Kinnear as his straight man, The Matador drew good reviews from hard nosed critics, who labeled the film 'an extremely loveable dark comedy'. As if that wasn’t a total 180 degree turn, he joined an all star cast including Meryl Streep, belting out the tunes of the 70's group ABBA in the film Mamma Mia! Pierce Brosnan most recently completed work on a thriller, drawing good notices in playing an ex-British Prime Minister (based loosely on Tony Blair) in legendary director Roman Polanski’s The Ghost Writer opposite Ewan MacGregor.

Brosnan also deserves some credit for supporting numerous environmental causes such as marine mammal and wetland protection, and anti-nuclear, clean air and clean water campaigns. Pierce and his wife Keely are currently fighting the Cabrillo Port Liquefied Natural Gas facility that is being proposed off the coast of Malibu and Oxnard by BHP Billiton. This project poses significant and potentially irreversible negative impacts to the coast, the environment and to the health and safety of the community. They are also committed to a long term campaign to challenge the United States Navy's deployment of a new sonar system in over 75% of the world's oceans, citing scientific evidence that low-mid and high frequency sonar poses a grave threat to whales, dolphins, seals, and other marine mammals. Additionally, they are devoted to women's healthcare and global children's issues. Pierce serves as Campaign Chairman for the Entertainment Industry Foundation, which distributed $15,000,000 last year.

It seems that Pierce Brosnan is still relevant in whatever it is he chooses to do.

- Alec 006


c 2010 Alternative 007