An Interview with Pierce Brosnan
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The suave, intelligent and gorgeous Pierce Brosnan who we all grew to love as James Bond sheds his skin and takes on a new challenging role in Seraphim Falls. It is a cat and mouse chase as Pierce is running from his costar Liam Neeson who is relentless. In this Western the chase is put up against the Civil War backdrop where brother is turned against brother. Talking to Blackfilm.com Brosnan reveals his feelings on Bond, war, forgiveness and future goals as an actor.
Westerns not a very fashionable genre now or kids find it hard to relate to?
PIERCE BROSNAN: I showed this film to thirteen year olds twelve year olds they were engrossed, they loved it, they ate it up. It was in Malibu at a friend’s house in a screening room and my 5 year old saw it too. I rotted his psyche for the rest of his life; a tough little boy. Actually I took the knife as a memento from the film. I had it in a shadow box it just got it delivered to the house that day so he was going around with this knife. It’s not sharpened but it’s a mighty blade and he took it to the screening and he was sitting there moms and dads, mates! And the boys ten year olds, nine year old, twelve year olds well just about lost it. He was in my arms crying holding the knife sobbing anyway he got through it. Where does it stand in the world of cinema? I think it stands proudly there, I think it is a graceful film, I think who knows a perfect film? No but I think it has a dignity a style and an eloquence that will stand the test of time. I think it speaks real quietly about the meaninglessness of war. It comes at a point when the history of this country which is torn in someway in confusion of war. Ultimately it is a piece of entertainment you know which you hope resonates with an audience and they have a good time at the cinema. It doesn’t have to kind of hurly-burly of filmmaking that we have in the world right now. It’s old fashion the camera is just on wooden sticks and just stage left, stage right and tell the story.
The film deals a lot with revenge and forgiveness have you ever had revenge on somebody?
PB: Revenge, never revenge forgiveness yes forgiveness is the mightiest thing to come to terms with. Yes…..
Is that Barbara Broccoli [the producer of Casino Royale] you were talking about?
So now what do you think of the new Bond Legacy at this point now that it’s been, you know it had its test and it turned to be a worldwide success that people were saying.
PB: He’s the greatest bond ever and deservedly so. It’s there for the taking I’m proud and still honored that I was part of that legacy. I haven’t seen the film and I will see the film. Daniel [Craig] I know I thought he was a great choice I thought they were courageous in, shockingly courageous in there dealings unexpectedly so, but life moves on. Another quiver in...
Is it kind of liberating for you now that you are away from the bond for a couple of years?
PB: Oh yeah the day the phone call went down and they had changed their mind there was a shock and then there was a great relief of freedom because it comes with a big responsibility. So then it gives you a hunger and its good to have hunger its good to have bite, want and desire. You become very complacent to have a role like that it locks you, you are doing one every two years. So it kind of tightened and focused my attention what I want to do with my career the choices I make.
Lets talk about the raw physical performance. The scene with the snow digging the bullet out of your hand, when you’re falling in the water, and your walking in a scorching dessert and your riding horses. Did you have experience before with any outdoors-manship where you can say well I can do this role, I’m going to go out there and give a gutsy physical performance to show them I can do this role?
PB: I spent some time in the outdoors camping finding my way and I read maps I had training in that for the army. I was going to go to the army so I moved onwards I have part of the military in my youth so that part of filmmaking I really enjoyed. The experience of going to far away places whether it be Panama or India making films which bring adventure into your life the flare of storytelling. It was tough I knew it was going to be tough and that was a challenge and I knew I was in capable hands or we were in capable hands with John Toll [Cinematographer] who is majestic behind the camera with landscape. That landscape is [inaudible] to the film, the spirit of Sante Fe the old world or we all were blessed by it. It is a story about redemption, forgiveness and war.
People can’t believe I mean it is such a great shocker when you come out horse at the end. We can’t talk a lot about it because we don’t want to give it away but what was that like. So much of this is outdoors was that a dead horse?
PB: It was a Hollywood horse that was made it was half of my bloody salary it coast so much to build the thing. It was a very expensive prop and it worked well because when it came trotting across the prairie that day we all went good lord this is really python- esc now. Anyway we shot a got a good angle on it. The film was going so well, the career was going so well, and now I am coming out of a hoarse. Anyway we got a way with it I think it has good shock value.
How would have the film have been different if the men weren’t from opposing sides in the civil war if they had been civilians?
PB: It would have diluted any kind of impact this film has. That war created such a clef in the soul of this country in the psyche of this country. It was war of ideology and you feel it, it hasn’t been the same since. It just wouldn’t have the same impact if it would just been civilians. These are men these are soldiers who are mangled by war, my character is reclusive and looking for faith and Liam’s is fierce in his resolve to seeing my death.
Civil war always seems to bring brother versus brother and that seems to be a theme.
PB: Yes if you look the history book and the books written about this war it so well documented. That theme runs through, through many of the battles my character looses two sons in the battle of Antietam which leaves you desperate.
What about the physical thing of just being the one who doesn’t have a coat on or anything thing while you are out there and its really cold? How did you get through that? Were you doing ice injections or whisky?
PB: Whisky, Whisky shots. Whisky came into play get trashed, ate a lot, lucky there was no dialogue. So that was me just drunk, I was a drunken actor in the cold. No don’t write that it’s not true.
The scene on wood when you cant cross the lake, on the river when you fall in the river that’s you we see the water pouring over you. Describe how you do that get up and go. Take two and jump in again wasn’t the director like stunt man insert here. Why do that?
PB: Because it’s exciting because people want to see something, they go to the movies to be turned on excited, challenged to feel the fear of raging hydraulics cause that falls was just terrifying, exhilarating at the same time. Can you get away with it? And we did 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 and the next day I had to go in on the bottom of the waterfalls tethered on my wires and he was on my wire one of wires and he was in kind of knee-deep water and he got knocked down by the waves and got held under but nobody knew. Nobody knew and there he was he survived the day before he was in four foot of water drowning cause the wire held him underneath. The current was pushing him he’s a strong man got out and he could open his eyes and see his bodies but they were all concentrating on me out here and he was down there.
How many takes can you do of the water scene?
PB: Two, three tops. It’s like a thousand knives in your head. The next day I went in and freezed though so I just jumped in. As I said those hydraulics in that kind of water is ferocious.
So when you go to the new project that I read about in Variety where you gonna be a gambler was one of the attractions was this going to be filmed in real rooms with heat?
PB: Yes, yes you can only do this so long in life then the body you know. I almost have been doing this ten years.
It seems to be Pierce Brosnan sort of like re-characterized himself given you taken your image and shaken it or stirred it and said ‘I’m an actor’.
PB: No, no.
No, so where do you go from here now then after Matador and this? Are there more challenges?
PB: Of course it’s paving the way for hopefully a third act or whatever kind of act or the road ahead as an actor to stay employed to stay excited to stay entertained to stay to stay in the game as long as you can. To be able to look at your hand and say I created these five roles, these five films, which had character, growth and some meaningfulness.
I don’t know if you ever thought of it but could Gideon have killed Carver any time he wanted to over the years that he was being chased? Or did he avoid doing it?
PB: He avoided doing it. He doesn’t want to kill.
But he could you think?
PB: He could yes.
Being Irish and what affect that had on your character in this film [Inaudible]?
PB: There was never any discussions David Von Ancken left us, left us to our own devices to find out our own parts. There was a spiritual part that was found for me by playing Gideon and the literature that I read and using ones imagination. Liam had much more of that flare that was written on the page. The way Liam plays it his intensity for hunting me down is of a spiritual rather fever. The war the politics we could have talked about that it wasn’t necessary. The ending was always like that no the ending was actually written with me picking him up but he is big lug of a fellow my skinny ankles probably would of snapped them. In the knee department the leg department but there you go.
You got a movie you did with Maria Bello and Gerard Butler what kind of character are you playing in that?
PB: He is kind of a psychopath really. I think he is a psychopath. He’s a very angry man.
Like a psychopathic killer?
PB: He could kill him easily. I take them for a day and then I persecute them.
So this is really another turn in what you are stretching yourself for?
PB: Yes, yes and you’re not sure if he is a hit man, a terrorist you don’t know who he is but he is just angry with these people lives and one day he challenges Gerard Butler.
Is it a lot different for you when you are on a movie like this one where you just the actor and Icon Production is doing it or your doing an Irish DreamTime movie that you’re responsibility for producing as well as starring in?
PB: It’s much more stressful and you find yourself second guessing yourself or questioning yourself not really second guessing but questioning your motivation for doing the film keeping your confidence going. This, thrillers are very hard to do anyway so you got be ahead of the curb the whole time so in this particular one there were a few days of crisis of confidence where as your only responsible for your role and that’s it the suns dying well I’m sorry I’m going home to have a beer. The sun is going down and the clock is ticking and you have eleven million, ten million or six million or five million someone else’s money you got pucker up to it.
Will it come out this year?
PB: We set sailed.
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