Despite constant rumours suggesting he will still be cast in the next James Bond flick, Casino Royale, Pierce Brosnan has participated in a surprisingly candid interview with Entertainment Weekly, reiterating more firmly than ever that his 007 days are behind him – and he’s never felt better for it.
In Joshua Rich’s five-page interview, conducted at an undisclosed island hideaway, Brosnan spoke at length about the now-infamous phone call he received while filming After The Sunset, informing him that his contract would not be renewed for the new Bond pic. “After that kind of titanic jolt to the system, there was a great sense of calm,” Brosnan said. “I thought, f*** it! I can do anything I want now. I’m not beholden to them or anyone. I’m not shackled by some contracted image. So there was a sense of liberation.” Brosnan’s Bond associations caused costuming issues on The Thomas Crown Affair, whilst he reportedly angered producers by parodying his 007 image in The Tailor of Panama.
Brosnan acknowledges the fame and fortune James Bond has brought him, but also has misgivings about his time in the role. “It never felt real to me,” he said. “I never had complete ownership over Bond. Because you’d have these stupid one-liners – which I loathed – and I always felt phony doing them. I’d look at myself in the suit and tie and think, ‘What the heck am I doing here?’.”
The actor also lashed out at producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson. “That was always the most frustrating thing about the role: [the producers] play it so safe. The pomposity and rigamarole that they put directors through is astounding.”
However, Brosnan praised the work of New Zealand director Lee Tamahori on what proved to be his final Bond pic, Die Another Day. “It was great to have Lee Tamahori directing, and I was amazed by how much the producers let him get in there and rock the cage. I thought we made inroads there,” he said.
Unfortunately for Brosnan, who was looking forward to slipping on the Bond tux for a fifth time following Die Another Day‘s shaking-up of the formula, the producers revoked the actor’s licence to kill. “I thought, ‘Well, this will be great: they’ve actually done something on the last one, they didn’t play it safe with the director, with the script, with the breaking the character down’.” It is also worth noting the filmic adaption of Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale – which is now the basis for the new movie – had long been a hopeful project for Brosnan.
“But it’s not my problem anymore!” Brosnan said, laughing. “One phone call, that’s all it took!“
So what’s next for Brosnan? Following huge critical acclaim for Brosnan in the indie film, The Matador at the Sundance Film Festival, Miramax picked up the distribution rights and the movie will see a release later this year. For Brosnan, it could not have come at a better time. “To come on the heels of my departure from the world of Bond is a sweet grace, to play this one as a farewell to that chapter in time,” Brosnan said.
Brosnan’s production company, Irish Dreamtime, has two more pictures currently in development. The first is a thriller titled Butterfly on a Wheel, which has been scripting for several months. Brosnan will also reprise his role as Thomas Crown in The Topkapi Affair, based on the Oscar-winning heist film, Topkapi.
Acknowledging his movie career really began with GoldenEye, Brosnan is looking forward to his future in film. However for many Bond fans, the manner in which the actor departed the role will forever be a stain on the franchise.
Be sure to pick up a copy of Entertainment Weekly for the full interview.