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