Pierce Brosnan was never this tough as Bond
It's ironic that in his post-Bond career, Pierce Brosnan is at his toughest and most rugged. Brosnan braves the gamut of temperatures. He's naked in the snow, immersed in a freezing river, and bloodied in a hellish desert. Seraphim Falls is his most physically challenging role to date. We had to ask the Bond questions and, to his credit, he was professional and forthcoming. Pierce had nothing but admiration for Daniel Craig's success. It was obvious that he would have loved the opportunity to play a more dangerous Bond. But Pierce has moved on. He plays a psychopathic kidnapper in the upcoming "Butterfly on a Wheel", and reprises his role as Thomas Crowne in "The Topkapi Affair", the current title to the sequel to "The Thomas Crowne Affair".
This is a film about revenge and the toll it takes. Have you ever wanted to seek vengeance?
Pierce Brosnan: Never revenge, forgiveness...yes. Forgiveness is the mightiest thing to come to terms with.
You don't happen to be referring to Barbara Broccoli [producer of Bond franchise]?
So how do you feel about all the acclaim Daniel Craig is getting?
Pierce Brosnan: He's a great Bond and deservedly so. It's there for the taking. I'm proud and honored that I was part of that legacy. I haven't seen the film and I will see the film. Daniel, I thought he was a great choice. I thought they were courageous, shockingly courageous. But life moves on.
Is it liberating to know that your Bond days are behind you?
Pierce Brosnan: Oh yeah, the day the phone call went down and they had changed their mind; there was a shock. Then there was a great relief, because it does come with a big responsibility. You become very complacent to have a role like that. It locks you. You're doing one every two years. So it kind of tightened and focused my attention on what I want to do with my career, the choices I make.
How did you prepare for such a raw physical performance? It's definitely the toughest we've ever seen you.
Pierce Brosnan: I've spent some time in the outdoors, camping, finding my way. I've had training reading maps. I was going to go to the army, so I moved towards the military in my youth. I really enjoyed that part of the filmmaking. I knew it was going to be tough and that was a challenge. I knew I was in capable hands. John Toll [cinematographer] is majestic behind the camera with that landscape. That landscape, the spirit of Santa Fe [New Mexico], we were all were blessed by it.
But still, some of the scenes are incredibly hardcore. Cutting the bullet out of your arm, being naked in the snow, that scene where you cross the river, why not have a stuntman do that?
Pierce Brosnan: It's exciting. People want to see something. They go to the movies to be turned on, excited, to feel the fear of raging hydraulics. I was tethered on wires for some of it, and you think that's safe; but the wire can tangle your leg or can tangle your neck. The man who went over the falls for me, Mark, he did an amazing job going over those waterfalls. The next day I had to go in on the bottom of the waterfalls, tethered on wires. He was on my wire and got knocked down by the waves. He got held under, but nobody knew. He was in four foot of water drowning cause the wire held him underneath. They were all concentrating on me and he was down there.
How many takes did you do of the water scene?
Pierce Brosnan: Two or three, tops, its like a thousand knives in your head. Those hydraulics in that kind of water is ferocious.
How did you deal with the cold?
Pierce Brosnan: Whisky...whisky shots. Whisky came into play. I'd get trashed, eat a lot. Luckily there was no dialogue. So that was me, just drunk. I was a drunken actor in the cold. Don't write that, it's not true. (laughs)
Do you think your audience will accept you in this role? Or in a western specifically?
Pierce Brosnan: I showed this film to twelve and thirteen-year-olds. They loved it. They ate it up. It was in Malibu at a friend's house in a screening room. My five-year-old saw it too. I rotted his psyche for the rest of his life. He was in my arms sobbing. Where does it stand in the world of cinema? I think it stands proudly. I think it is a graceful film. I think it has a dignity, a style, and an eloquence that will stand the test of time. I think it speaks about the meaninglessness of war. It comes at a point when the history of this country is torn in the confusion of war. Ultimately it is a piece of entertainment, which you hope resonates with an audience and they have a good time at the cinema. It doesn't have to be the kind of hurly-burly filmmaking that we have in the world right now.
Could Gideon have killed Carver [Liam Neeson] any time he wanted to?
Pierce Brosnan: He avoided doing it. He doesn't want to kill.
But he could have...
Pierce Brosnan: He could, yes.
How would the film have been different if the men weren't from opposing sides in the civil war, if they had been civilians?
Pierce Brosnan: It would have diluted the impact this film has. That war created such a clef in the soul of this country. It was a war of ideology and you feel it. It just wouldn't have the same impact if it had been civilians. These are men, soldiers, who are mangled by war. My character is reclusive and looking for faith. Liam's is fierce in his resolve to seeing my death.
So where do you go from here?
Pierce Brosnan: Stay employed, stay excited, stay entertained, stay in the game as long as you can. Be able to look at your hand and say I created these five roles, these five films, which had character, growth and some meaningfulness.
What can you tell us about "Butterfly on a Wheel" with Maria Bello and Gerard Butler?
Pierce Brosnan: I play a psychopath really. I think he is a psychopath. He's a very angry man. You're not sure if he is a hit man or a terrorist. You don't know who he is, but he is angry with these people; and one day he challenges Gerard Butler.
Are you ready to film the sequel to "The Thomas Crown Affair"?
Pierce Brosnan: We've set sail.
Seraphim Falls is in limited theaters on January 26th and is rated 'R' for violence and brief language.