Bond sings for his sup­per

Re­nais­sance man Pierce Bros­nan is pro­duc­ing TV, movies and do­cos, re­flect­ing on his Bond legacy... and apol­o­gis­ing for his croon­ing in Mamma Mia 2!

TV Soap - - Celebrity Interview -

Griz­zled but dap­per Pierce Bros­nan, 65, has a lit­tle good news for those who haven’t seen Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. “Don’t worry – I don’t sing as much as in the rst one,” he ex­plains. It’s a theme the ge­nial Ir­ish­man, who found fame as James Bond, re­turns to in the course of our in­ter­view. What was your am­bi­tion when you went to Lon­don in the ’60s? What dreams do you still have? My ear­li­est am­bi­tion was to be a good ac­tor, and once I found act­ing, to be a great ac­tor, a magni cent, bril­liant, won­der­ful ac­tor! [laughs] My am­bi­tion was to make movies, al­ways was. When I found act­ing, I did train, I went off to drama school, I did reper­tory theatre in Eng­land, the West End… but I loved the movies. My am­bi­tions now? All the same. To be a bet­ter ac­tor, to cre­ate some­thing which is uniquely yours. Try to be an un­ex­pected sur­prise now and then. And to paint. I paint. I might have an ex­hi­bi­tion next year in Paris. We’ve been talk­ing about it; we found the space. I al­ways

say, “If I can sing in Mamma Mia, I can show my paint­ings!” Ha­ha­haha! Have fun, en­joy life, give it away. Do you have a tech­nique to im­merse your­self in the char­ac­ter? I was taught in The Method school of act­ing. The Method al­ways fas­ci­nated me. Be­cause when I found act­ing, Mar­lon Brando was a huge in uence, Mont­gomery Clift was a huge in uence. Clint East­wood, Steve McQueen as well. All these peo­ple, they cre­ated this aura on­screen that I found rather in­tox­i­cat­ing. You read the script and try to have an emo­tional con­nec­tion to each scene, to each part of the story. You read it, and you read it, and you read it… and you try to leave your­self alone. You try to be real, you try to lis­ten. As a four-time 007, how did you make Bond con­sis­tent with­out re­peat­ing your­self? Oh, I re­peated my­self! I was re­quired to re­peat my­self in some re­gards. When I played the part, it had been dor­mant for six years, and no-one re­ally felt like there was a need to go back to that well and do James Bond... There was a great el­e­ment of fear and risk. I was brought up on the char­ac­ter played by Sean Con­nery and then Roger Moore. I’d also seen Ti­mothy Dalton play it, so I knew what was re­quired of me, and tried to ad­dress those is­sues ac­cord­ingly. My Bond was in uenced by Roger Moore and by Sean Con­nery. How did your feel­ings about Bond evolve over the years? I adore the char­ac­ter. I have noth­ing but grat­i­tude to­wards the char­ac­ter of James Bond. It al­lowed me to cre­ate my own com­pany (Ir­ish DreamTime). It al­lowed me to make movies with that com­pany, like The Thomas Crown Af­fair, The Mata­dor and many oth­ers. I knew that at some point the cur­tain would fall and you’ll be stamped and branded as James Bond for­ever, if you get it right – you know this go­ing in the door. And you want to get it right. Ev­ery man who has played James Bond has got it right, in their own way. So, yes, you just cel­e­brate it, once you com­mit. I know that Daniel (Craig) was very ner­vous when he was tak­ing over. I sat with him on a few oc­ca­sions and he spoke of his ap­pre­hen­sion, and rightly so, be­cause it’s a huge un­der­tak­ing! He com­mit­ted in the most in­cred­i­ble fash­ion and made a most magni cent James Bond. So you digest all of that, you sit with all of that, then you will do your thing. As it’s such a cul­tural touch­stone, are you al­ways iden­ti­fied with James Bond? Oh yes, of course. For­ever. Once you play that role, you’re a marked man: in a great way! To be an ac­tor, you want to en­ter­tain, you want to please

peo­ple, you want to make peo­ple happy. You want to be able to have a ca­reer, to have a ca­reer which has longevity. A ca­reer that is mean­ing­ful for you as a man and an ac­tor. James Bond was a sig­nif­i­cant small chap­ter of my life, but it’s the gift that keeps on giv­ing! Can you talk about the fran­chise’s in­flu­ence on TV and even on pop cul­ture at large? Oh, Bond has in­flu­enced so many writ­ers, so many direc­tors, so many ac­tors. So many gen­er­a­tions of film­mak­ers. It’s one of the most unique char­ac­ters on the land­scape of film­mak­ing. It’s one of the most in­deli­ble and po­tent char­ac­ter in cin­ema, so it will be played for many decades to come. There will be other men wait­ing to play this role. I wish I could be more elo­quent about it. I am one of five men who played the role. And peo­ple love James Bond! There are many de­trac­tors, too. When I saw The Bourne Iden­tity, I thought Uh-oh – this is good, this is re­ally good! paul Green­grass, Matt Da­mon. The whole vi­brancy, the ki­netic value of it: it was quite ex­hil­a­rat­ing. So that upped the ante for the James Bond fran­chise. Like Har­ri­son Ford went

back to Star Wars, if there was the chance, would you be James Bond again? Highly un­likely. It’s another man’s job... We must go back to the Mamma Mia! se­quel. What are your re­flec­tions? Here we go again – sorry, I’m singing again guys! [laughs] I don’t sing as much, so you’ll be OK! [laughs] Jackie loves to sing, by the way. Jackie Chan’s a good singer. He sings all the time! I was in his makeup trailer [for The For­eigner], and some­one said, “Come, come, come!” I was won­der­ing, What does he want me to see? There was Jackie singing! What about your new TV show The Son? TV used to be quite the step down from movies, but not any­more! The TV world is very fer­tile now, it’s very po­tent – some­what be­cause cin­ema has di­min­ished. It has di­min­ished be­cause peo­ple have ac­cess to movies in their own homes. I had for the last num­ber of years wanted to do a TV series and my late [work­ing] part­ner Beau St. Clair, bless her, she and I had been ac­tively look­ing. And then The Son came up, out of nowhere, re­ally, and that’s why I’m here in Austin, Texas. We’re shoot­ing the sec­ond sea­son. It’s re­ally well done, with a beau­ti­ful cast of young ac­tors. And the char­ac­ter is very timely for me, it’s a man of a cer­tain years in life, named The Colonel. And work begets work. Keep it as sim­ple as pos­si­ble. The ego can pull you in many dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions. I love TV, I started on stage and then on TV, but al­ways dreamt of the movies. One should be able to do every­thing. If you’re an ac­tor, if you’re a good ac­tor; if you’re a hard-work­ing ac­tor, you should be able to do any­thing, or at least pre­tend! What else do you have in the pipe­line? Martin Camp­bell and I are go­ing to go off and do a movie called Across the River and Into the Trees, which is from an ernest Hem­ing­way story. My wife [Keely Shaye Smith] and I are pro­duc­ing part­ners now. We just made a beau­ti­ful doc­u­men­tary called Poi­son­ing Par­adise, which is about the pes­ti­cides and GMOs on our is­land of Kauai, in Hawaii. She and I are about to make another doco on a book that we op­tioned called Girls Like Us. It’s about Ca­role King, Joni Mitchell and Carly Si­mon. Work. Al­ways work! TVS

“If you’re an ac­tor, and a good ac­tor, and also a hard-work­ing ac­tor, you should be able to do any­thing, or at least pre­tend!”

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