DIE ANOTHER DAY - Q&A with Pierce Brosnan
You've been travelling non-stop, how are you?
Jet lag hits you in waves. I finished the holiday with the family in Hawaii, which was fantastic. Then on Friday I flew straight in to the Toronto Film Festival. Then went on to New York to do more interviews. Then I came across here on Concorde last night, came straight in and saw the new Bond movie last night. Then I was up at 8 am to do some looping.
So was this the first time that you had seen the completed DIE ANOTHER DAY?
Yes and it's good, it's very good. I think it moves like gang busters. Lee has done an outstanding job, giving it a twist and turn that in some respects was badly needed. Martin Campbell came along and did a great job in re-inventing the wheel somewhat. Then the next two Bond movies were more or less the same but this one has some muscle to it. People will like it.
Does doing Bond get any easier now that you have made your fourth movie?
No I can't say that it does really because you have such a high standard to set for yourself. Also I love this franchise and this character and I want it to be great for everybody. I want it to keep going after I'm gone. And the competition is so fierce and lethal. They have to keep up and we have to keep up.
You have set incredible targets for yourself because your Bond movies have made more money than the others?
Well the climate is a lot different from when Sean and Roger were doing it. The whole world of movies has turned on its ear - grossly so in many respects. It's like, who has the biggest budget? In the middle of all that there is so much crap. Good money thrown after bad. For the most part the standard of storytelling doesn't service the audience well.
Your production has just made EVELYN a story you have wanted to tell for years. Why does it mean so much to you?
It is well written, set in Ireland, based on a true story, because I'm a father, it is a good night at the pictures and it has some meaningfulness. Desmond Doyle, the character I play, was a hero for his day. He set the tone within the Irish judicial system for many years to come in regard to what the Church and the State did to single parents. But there are other stories that I want to tell. I'm passionate about LOCHINVAR. Walter Scott's poem. We have been noodling that on for a year and a bit. It is an epic, classic story and huge. We have been down in Morocco scouting locations and the text is very good. So we have been immersing ourselves in the Holy Wars. It's quite timely too so if we can come with intelligence, past and present, to the story it can be a great yarn. Another one is LIFE OF MARS, which we have had for some time. It is a small budget film that packs a wallop; it's about child abuse. It starts on Mars and is a cool picture. I would act in LOCHINVAR but not LIFE OF MARS, there's just not a role there for me. But the father's role is very strong but not a role that I would want to do at this point.
Would it be too painful?
It would be tough. He is a bastard and I just don't want to go there. It would be crazy for me to lend myself to that. But I do think the story is done in an entertaining, appealing, provocative way. There is also a great horse racing piece that we have wanted to do for some time. We premiered EVELYN at Toronto and the reaction was better than our wildest dreams.
How do you stay looking so good as you approach 50?
More power to me I guess. Fair play to me. What can I say? (Embarrassed) I try to be as disciplined as I possibly can. I don't know how to answer the question any other way. I try to live a fairly kind of clean life. I do yoga. I do the bike and road work, do weights and swim. I do whatever it takes. But, I tell you one thing, if I do another bond movie I won't do another film in Ireland just before the Bond movie. The Guinness goes down really well over there. You don't really get drunk on Guinness you can drink it until the cows come home. It's just a delicious drink. Then you suddenly look at a picture of yourself and see you've put on a few pounds. That look was great for Desmond Doyle, but I had to work doubly hard to get rid of it. So I work at staying in shape - that's the bottom line. I do it for my job - it's what my profession is about. Anyone who is worth their salt as an actor should try and keep some discipline. In America they go for that more than we do in Britain and Ireland. I love my pint as much as the next man, but if you are going to set yourself up as a leading man and play romantic roles - well that's it. Maybe after I turn the big Five O I will let it all go and be a slob.
Is there a party planned?
I don't really know. We have talked about it.
Do you think you will feel differently at 50?
I don't really know...probably. It is a bit daunting. I made a mistake a way back about being too honest about my age. But I don't think too much about it until I am confronted in the Press about my age and whether I will still continue to play Bond.
But haven't you said you will play one more?
I'd certainly like to do one more. After that I don't know, you are looking at 51, 52. What age did Sean Connery and Roger Moore get out?
You took a knock on the knee during filming of DIE ANOTHER DAY. What happened?
The truth is I did my meniscus, which is a part of the knee and there was no recourse but to have an operation. I went to LA to have it done because I knew there was the best doctor there. He did it in a week and I came back and it did not knock a feather out of me, or the production. There was a bit of shuffling around but I would not say it was complete turmoil and the insurance handsomely covered it. It happened on a February morning at the beginning of the movie. We were on the back lot for a scene in Korea and Bond twists his watch and runs like the clappers. And I didn't warm up. It was just a foolish mistake on my behalf in not stretching. Doing a 200-yard dash full out with six cameras, 500 extras hovercrafts, squibs and explosions. You can't do it without warming up.
You have done a lot of action, sometimes to personal cost like when your face was cut in TOMORROW NEVER DIES, do you always think that despite the care that's taken there is the chance of something going wrong?
Oh sure! There are certain days when you do stand there before the fireballs or at the end of the chain or in the water and you think that there are a number of things that could go amiss if you don't pay attention or somebody jumps the gun. Then it is going to be your backside that's in the sling. But that's the adrenaline rush that makes it fun to do. That is also why there comes a point when you just have to hang your hat up. It only increases the audience's appreciation of the film to see the lead actor out there, risking something - on some speeding boat or in some chase sequence. But there are some things that I just can't do. And I wouldn't be allowed to do them. And I would not be mad enough to try. God willing I would like to grow old gracefully.
Do you think at some time you might return to Ireland to live?
I have talked about it, thought about it. But I don't know. I like the big open spaces. I certainly would like to be the steward of a small piece of it, nursing a little bit of the land down there in Kerry. Nothing grand. But I don't know. We'll see.
Do you still fish?
Yes from time to time. When I was in Hawaii I did a bit of fishing. I caught Skipjacks and other local fish. It was magic. We like that part of the world a lot.
Was working with Halle Berry fun?
She was great. Halle has a strong sense of her own self as a woman and an actress, her sexuality. So when you have someone like that opposite you - and she has won an Oscar - it is a win, win situation. She is luscious in every sense of the word. And she is easy to work with. She will certainly draw in a huge audience.
It must be a blessing to have worked with so many good people on the Bond films?
I have been very lucky, yes. Again I have been very fortunate that I did not get Bond when I was supposed to get it. I was too young. My features were too handsome, too good looking - call it what you will. I always used to think that if I was about a foot shorter I would be more talented and if I had a broken nose I would be really talented. Some guy will read this and say 'I'll give you a broken nose if you want'. I'm sure if someone were to dig out that screen test that I did in 1986 they would just howl. So it did come at the right time when there was a little bit of gravitas to the soul and the heart. At that point I had absolutely sweet FA to lose and everything to gain. It was like give me your best shot - you can't touch me. I had lost so much. I had had so much. Let's go ahead and do it. And I had the great Martin Campbell who was ferocious in his tenacity and preparation and his vision of what Bond should be. I was very lucky because I think that possibly if Timothy Dalton had had Martin Campbell I wouldn't be here. Because Tim had that determination and he is a very fine actor. It's just that he wasn't supported in the same way that I was.
Question and Answer text Copyright Twentieth Century Fox.