January 2002
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In honor of a new year, i have decided to only put up Pierce news since 2000. A more comprehensive archive will be done later.
 Here's the latest on the greatest

January 2002  February 2002

Bonding with home  id-34664The Post Dec. 30 2001

Brosnan Says Yes To New A

 'I am the sexiest man in the world! I know I am. I read it'

Sean Connery says he's the all-time best Bond. But at 48, Pierce Brosnan knows he can't go on diving through plate-glass windows forever. Barbara Ellen shares a cocktail with 007 and finds out what's beneath the tux

Sunday January 13, 2002
The Observer

t's not often that you get to sit in a cocktail bar with James Bond and watch him have a mid-life crisis. Actually, I'm just being silly. I'm not sitting in a cocktail bar with James Bond, I'm sitting in a Dublin hotel lounge with Pierce Brosnan, who currently plays James Bond. And Brosnan is not having a mid-life crisis, he's just wondering like we all do from time to time: And so, what next?
'I know what it's like to be famous,' says Brosnan, lounging back in his chair, twisting the top off a bottle of Evian. 'It's good money and it's great fun. A real kick in the pants. People wave at you and smile at you. You get great tables in restaurants. They send you gifts - beautiful clothes and cars. Then, it's all a bit hollow because it doesn't really nourish you. Fame is like a big piece of meringue - it's beautiful and you keep eating it, but it doesn't really fill you up. It's a game, a great game, that's all.

'As I've got older, I've realised that,' he continues. 'When I was younger, doing Remington Steele, it was wonderful watching it all grow and flourish. But then I watched it fade, too. I thought: "Oh, it's going, it's going. I don't get recognised any more, people don't hassle me." There was a bit of regretfulness there, I could feel it. And it will happen again. As time goes on and I hang up the Bond mantle, it will pass. You know that, and you have to have the strength and humility to deal with it. Deal with the ego and get back to the job in hand. Which is being an actor.'

Brosnan takes a swig of water and smiles over at me ruefully. 'I've had enough fame now. I'm 48 years old and I'm restless. Where do I go in the next 10 years? That's what drives me. Can I make more films? Can I make a company where I can own my own library? Would I be able to direct? Do I want to direct? I want control over my life, with the understanding also that I want to be hired.' And now Brosnan lets out a long, self-mocking, theatrical sigh. 'The fame game is the fame game, but what about the work ?'

Actually, initially, we do meet in the cocktail bar of the hotel, only moving to the lounge when the chatter from nearby tables gets too loud. 'I just wish people would be quiet and stop enjoying themselves,' Brosnan 'complains', as we leave the bar. When his mobile phone rings, he 'grumbles' again: 'This better be good!' Brosnan, father of five, grandfather of one, seems to enjoy putting on an act of being a grumpy auld git. At least I assume it's an act. Certainly, when a middle-aged woman approaches him for an autograph for her daughter, Brosnan couldn't be sweeter. 'How old is your daughter? What is her name?' he enquires in his soft Irish-Californian burr. After the woman leaves, red-faced and half-swooning, with the autograph clutched in her hand, I ask Brosnan which gender approaches him as a rule? 'Oh women, definitely.' Why is that, does he think? 'Because I'm the sexiest man in the world!' Brosnan slaps the table authoritatively. 'I know I am. I read it.'

What do people really make of Pierce Brosnan? Everybody, I mean - ordinary members of the public as well as casting directors? Obviously, Brosnan isn't short of admirers - as he says, he was recently voted Sexiest Man In The World, beating Julia Robert's ex, the much younger Benjamin Bratt, into second place. (And, bless him, he loves it - The Observer photographer said that it was all she could do to stop Brosnan writhing about on the hotel bed like a born-again sex kitten.) However, asking around my nearest and dearest, nobody seems to find Brosnan 'sexy' as such. Some thought he was 'all right', or grudgingly allowed that he was 'a good actor'. However, nobody seemed particularly excited or impressed by him. More crucially, nobody thought he was 'relevant'. If anything, the majority seemed to have the impression of Brosnan as some kind of walking tuxedo, forever wafting around film premieres, preening himself in front of cameras. A flesh-pressing version of James Bond himself. Someone who seemed perfectly at home with the 'fame game'.

Is there any truth in this? Brosnan claims that, while in no way a recluse, he rarely socialises outside his home community of Malibu. And, if he does, it's generally for a good cause - one of the environmental, cancer, or children's charities he supports. Although in Dublin to make his production company Irish Dreamtime's new film, Evelyn, Brosnan was actually speaking to me in his role as patron of Concentric Circles, the new theatre group that enables young actors to gain experience alongside professionals, though frankly he doesn't have much of interest to say about it. ('I have to admit that the sum of my involvement thus far is talking to you.') Other than that, Brosnan has worked as an ambassador for the Prince's Trust and, last December, he was made a patron for Irish Unicef. All of which accounts for a few of those seemingly interminable photo opportunities. 'Yeah, well, if I hadn't been an actor, I probably would have been a social worker,' says Brosnan. 'Acting is great, but sometimes it can feel rather redundant in a world which is flying by the seat of its pants.'

Still, though, the image persists of Brosnan as Tuxedo Guy. My mother put it more brutally: 'A right smarmy so and so.' Rather disappointingly (it would have been just perfect if Brosnan had conducted the interview sipping cocktails on top of a waterbed, or jumped through a plate-glass window at the end), I have to report that, in person, Brosnan isn't remotely smarmy. If anything, he's rather serious and prickly, those textbook handsome features forever collapsing into rueful self-questioning frowns, his Irish blarney drying up to a trickle, as he remembers he's talking to a journalist. What Brosnan does is give good smarm, when the part demands it. And not just smarm, either - many, including Sean Connery, consider Brosnan to be an excellent Bond. An actor born to be Bond.

Indeed, even slumped in a chair, in his civvies, Brosnan's italicised good looks, his restrained air of machismo, seem so 'Bond', it's hard to believe that he once lost out on the role because of contractual obligations, in 1986. Timothy Dalton stepped in, and Brosnan thought that he'd blown it - his one big movie chance passing by on the great sushi conveyor belt of opportunity. 'I never thought it would come around again. And it hurt.' Brosnan coped by working harder than ever - instructing his agent to get him roles in any half-decent movies he could. (You might have seen him giving great smarm as the new boyfriend in Mrs Doubtfire.) 'You couldn't be devastated by it. You have to find employment, you have to feed your family.' Bond was the thing, though, and when it was offered again, he grabbed it with both hands. As Brosnan points out, being typecast as Bond never held any fear for him (as it did for Dalton), because he was already typecast in Remington Steele, the long-running television series that made his name and set his public image in stone.

'I went to America to do movies,' he says. 'I went there to work with Martin Scorsese and to do all the films I'd grown up on. And I got offered Remington , and I thought: "Well, this could be pretty good, this could be a laugh for a little while." But it went on for four years. It was great training, but I saw this image being created of myself, an image I fed into. It's not a bad image, but it's going to be interesting to see whether I can alter it. Can I, or am I really locked into it? It's like you've created this thing. How do you uncreat e it?' Is this what Brosnan wants to do at this stage - unpick his 'sophisticated' image and start all over again? 'Oh I don't know about that.' Brosnan smiles, ever the pragmatist. 'If you've got it, flog it. If it works, don't kick it.'

Pierce Brosnan was born 48 years ago in Naven, County Meath. His father abandoned him as an infant, while his mother, May, went to England to work as a nurse, leaving him with his grandparents. When they died, Brosnan was placed in lodgings in the poor end of town, sleeping behind a curtain so that the adult lodgers wouldn't wake him when they returned from their shifts. From the age of six, he attended a notorious Catholic boys' school run by the Christian Brothers ('truly mangled human beings'), where vicious, pointless beatings were commonplace. (It was closed down a year after he left, following an exposé in the News of the World.) Understandably, Brosnan pined terribly for his mother (to whom, unlike his father, he seems to bear no ill will), and finally they were reunited - Brosnan joining May to live in Fulham, southwest London, when he was 11.

After leaving school, Brosnan worked as a commercial artist ('watering spider plants and learning how to draw three-piece suites for the Evening Standard'), before discovering acting at a theatre workshop. 'This was something I could do,' he says. 'I knew I had a presence, I knew I could fill the space.' As a young, struggling actor, Brosnan met his first wife, Cassandra Harris, a former Bond girl, 12 years his senior, who encouraged him to try his luck in Hollywood. Harris died of ovarian cancer in 1991, leaving Brosnan wild with grief. At the time, he spilled his guts to the media, but a decade on, he regrets that - sympathetic journalists are still bringing hankies along with their tape recorders, while he has moved on and married again. 'It's just enough, ' says Brosnan. 'I want to say, "Thank you, but enough. It happened, it's tragic, it's part of the tapestry of who I am. But just let it rest now, be respectful." All I ever wanted was for that person to have dignity in passing. But the press always want to know.'

Actually, it's the amount of children surrounding Brosnan that I find fascinating. When he married Harris, Brosnan happily became father to her two children, Charlotte, now 28, and Christopher, 27, and they also had their own son, Sean, 17. Brosnan then went on to have two more sons, Dylan Thomas, and Paris Beckett, with his partner of six years, environmental journalist Keely Shaye Smith. Now, to top it all, Charlotte has made him the proud grandfather of a little girl. (Brosnan jokily requests that I don't mention this last fact, as it might scupper his new 'sexy' image.)

'I never thought: "I want to have kids." Kids were just there from the start,' he sighs, shaking his head wonderingly, but you can tell he's thrilled by his 'papa' status. (The one movie Brosnan would have loved to have acted in was The Godfather.) I can't think of a way to put my next point delicately, so I just blunder in - Brosnan was a very young man when he became father to Harris's children, did he find it at all daunting?

'No, no-ooo,' he says emphatically. 'They were my friends first, then my children, and I loved it, I really did.' Brosnan considers for a moment: 'What would I have done if I was footloose and fancy free? I would only have been getting into trouble.' Most young men rather enjoy getting into 'trouble', I say. 'Well, I see your point, but, you know, I've always liked to be able to come home to my family. I need it, I thrive on it, it's my stability, my comfort, because the job I'm doing is so dangerous and destructive at times. Maybe it sounds melodramatic, but I've seen people get really fucked up in the old acting game. You go through so many hoops, you can lose yourself. You're being judged the whole time - by others, by yourself. Your ego runs away from you, the insecurity chews you up.' Brosnan smiles. 'So you see, my family has always been a great stability that allows me to go off and dream.'

However, one doesn't need a degree in cod psychology to wonder whether part of the reason why Brosnan embraced family life with such great-hearted fervour was because of his own lack of parenting. Moreover, it seems no coincidence that Evelyn, the third film from Irish Dreamtime (the other two being The Nephew and The Thomas Crown Affair), is also concerned with themes of fatherhood. Starring Brosnan and directed by Bruce Beresford, it tells the true story of Irishman Desmond Doyle, who became a cause célèbre when he fought all the way to the high courts to get back his four children from care, where they had been placed after their mother left. Again, you can't help but speculate why Brosnan, the fatherless child, was so attracted to the thought of playing such a powerful father figure.

'I suppose it could have something to do with my not having a really stable and conventional childhood,' says Brosnan quietly. 'It was fractured, a very fractured family...' His voice trails away to nothing. It all sounds very tough, I say. 'Yeah,' says Brosnan, almost whispering now. Suddenly, he turns brisk: 'Let's just talk about movies, let's talk about films. So much more interesting!'

That would be difficult, I say, you've lived such a lot of life.

'Yeah, a lot of life,' says Brosnan. Later he grumbles, only half-jokingly: 'You know, I just wish I was kind of paler, more enigmatic. The public know about my life. They know about my childhood. They know that I was a widower. They know blah, blah. They know too bloody much! I made a big mistake a long time ago of opening my mouth to the press. I thought: "This is nice, talking away, talking away." And then you realise - you've given it all away.' Is that how he feels, that he's given it all away? 'Oh yes,' says Brosnan. 'I've felt that lots of times.'

At least Brosnan seems happy to wax lyrical about his recent marriage to Shaye Smith. They held their wedding last August in Ireland's Ballintubber Abbey, with a reception at Ashford Castle. The wedding had been postponed several times (due to a flood at their Malibu home, Paris Beckett's arrival and Sean being injured in a horrific road accident), so it was probably with a feeling of wary relief that the couple finally made their way down the aisle. Rather naughtily, Brosnan describes their big day to me as 'friends, mums and dads, no Hollywood. Just an opportunity to celebrate our love and have a good old knees-up.' However, in reality, the 'knees-up' was a big, glitzy affair involving hundreds of thousands of pounds' worth of fireworks and flowers, helicopters ferrying guests around, the Chieftains as the wedding band and Hello! magazine.

To Brosnan's credit, after some brief guff ('you end up with magnificent photographs that last a lifetime'), he doesn't pretend that he allowed Hello! to be there for any reason other than money: 'There's a part of me that goes - "Oh my God, this is cringe making." But if we hadn't done the deal with dear old Hello!, we would probably have had to pay for a lot of it ourselves. Doing something like this makes it very comfortable monetary wise. And it gives you control over it. Everybody wins.' What's the downside? 'We were just worried about looking foolish,' says Brosnan. He grins wryly: 'And we probably have.'

Was it important for Brosnan to come back to Ireland to get married?

'Oh yes,' he says. 'There's the warm embrace of being an Irishman coming back to his own country to get married, which is quite tender and poignant. It gives one a real sense of belonging.' Despite his miserable childhood, Brosnan seems to enjoy coming back to Ireland anyway. 'I need this outlet,' says Brosnan. 'I love America, it's home, and I'm forever grateful for the opportunities it has given me, but I have to get out of that town. If I knew I could never come back to Ireland, to England, I think I'd fall off the tree.'

Which brings us back to where we came in: what will Pierce Brosnan do next? The Bonds Brosnan has starred in have been among the most successful ever (the new one started filming this month), but he knows that he can't go on twitching his cuffs and jumping into ravines forever. Then again, Brosnan isn't remotely interested in returning to the theatre - on behalf of Concentric Circles or anyone else. 'I'd like to go back onstage, but the want isn't strong enough.' Nor are the other big-budget films he has done (Dante's Peak, Mars Attacks! ) likely to impress the key directors he has always been interested in working with (Martin Scorcese, David Lynch, Steven Spielberg). In a way, Brosnan seems to have become a victim of his own success in the role of Bond - would directors be likely to think of him in other parts?

'Probably not,' he says wryly. This is where Irish Dreamtime comes in. 'I want to do smaller, character pieces and I want to do big schmaltzy productions,' says Brosnan. 'I want to have my cake and eat it.' He rises to his feet - it's time for his 'sex kitten' photoshoot. 'You know what I want most of all?' says Brosnan, before he goes. 'Just to keep working. Because, as any actor will tell you, when you're not working, you have to deal with yourself. Who are you? Where are you going? What are you doing? All that kind of thing.' Pierce Brosnan gives me his best 'smarmy' Tuxedo Guy grin. 'And I can't be doing with that!'

· Concentric Circles' production of Jean Racine's Phaedra will be at Riverside Studios, Crisp Road, London W6 from 30 January to 9 March. Box office: 020 8237 1111.

 Brosnan mulls the end as James Bond

AFP [ FRIDAY, JANUARY 11, 2002  7:47:45 PM ]
ONDON: Dashing and debonair he might be, but there comes a time even for British secret agent James Bond when he thinks about hanging up his gun.

Pierce Brosnan, the Irish-born actor about to start shooting his fourth Bond epic, said on Friday that the next one after this may well be his last.

"Yes, I will do another one," the actor told reporters at the production launch of the 20th Bond at Pinewood Studios near London.

"I would like to get off the stage with grace. It would be wonderful to do another one. After that, I don't know, really."

It seems the physical exertions required to beat the baddies and save the world are taking their toll.

Brosnan, who will be 49 in May, said that whoever played the Bond character always had to "push the envelope, physically."

"It's just bloody hard work really, getting out on the bike, on the road, working out," he added.

No title has been decided yet for the 20th Bond, which is due for release in late November.

In it, Bond flits between South Korea, Hong Kong, Cuba, Iceland and London tracking down a traitor and trying to avert a war of catastrophic consequences.


 Pierce Brosnan and Halle Berry to Attend Press Conference
                     At Pinewood Studios on January 11th

    LONDON, Jan. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- A press conference will be held at
10:45 a.m. GMT on Friday, January 11, 2002, at Pinewood Studios in England to
mark the start of filming for EON Productions and MGM's newest James Bond
adventure (currently untitled), produced by Michael G. Wilson and Barbara
Broccoli.  Filming will commence Monday, January 14th, on the 20th film in the
James Bond series, with Pierce Brosnan set to continue his record-breaking run
as secret agent 007 and Halle Berry set to star as fierce female lead Jinx.
Both stars will be on hand for the press conference, as will producers Wilson
and Broccoli, director Lee Tamahori, and cast members Toby Stephens, Rick
Yune, and Rosamund Pike.
    (Photo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20011119/MGMLOGO )
    "We're thrilled to start filming on what promises to be one of the
greatest Bond films ever," say Wilson and Broccoli.  "Making the 20th Bond
film is a great milestone for EON Productions, as well as for the Broccoli
family.  We're extremely proud to be continuing the Bond tradition."
    "The James Bond films are an institution in the industry," says Robert
Levin, president of worldwide theatrical marketing and distribution for MGM
Studios, Inc.  "To be working on a new 007 adventure in the 40th anniversary
year of the franchise is terrifically exciting for all of us."
    The James Bond series is the most successful film franchise of all time.
The newest installment will be released on November 22, 2002, in conjunction
with the series' 40th anniversary.  The script was written by Neal Purvis and
Robert Wade.  In addition to Brosnan, Berry, Stephens, Yune, and Pike, the
cast includes returning stars Judi Dench as "M," John Cleese as "Q," and
Samantha Bond as Miss Moneypenny.
    The principal cast and filmmakers will be on hand for the press
conference.  Following the press conference, the producers will host a
40th anniversary celebratory lunch for media, filmmakers, and selected
    A 15-minute edited video newsreel will be accessible via satellite after
the press conference and will include soundbites and footage.  The video
newsreel downlink will be broadcast from 11:00-11:30 a.m. EST (8:00-8:30 PST,
16:00-16:30 GMT) on Friday, January 11th:

     Satellite:           Telstar 6
     Transponder:         3
     Downlink Frequency:  3751 MHz
     Downlink Polarity:   Vertical
     Symbol Rate:         6.111319 Msymb/sec
     FEC:                 3/4
     Modulation:          QPSK
     Standard:            MPEG 2 4:2:0/525 NTSC

    The newsreel will run twice during the downlink.  For questions regarding
the VNR, contact Colin Burrows at Special Treats Productions in London
(011-44-7802-605940).  If you're unable to downlink the VNR, contact Joe
Whitmore in MGM Publicity at 310-586-8990 for a hard copy of the footage.  The
footage will also be available on JamesBond.com .
    Eon Productions/Danjaq, LLC, is owned by the Broccoli family and has
produced nineteen James Bond films since 1962.  The Bond films make up the
most successful franchise in film history and include the recent blockbuster
films GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, and The World Is Not Enough, produced by
Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli.  Eon Productions and Danjaq, LLC, are
affiliate companies and control all worldwide merchandising of the James Bond

    MGM Pictures is a unit of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc.  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Inc. (NYSE: MGM), through its Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. subsidiary, is
actively engaged in the worldwide production and distribution of entertainment
product, including motion pictures, television programming, home video,
interactive media, music, and licensed merchandise.  Its operating units
include MGM Pictures, United Artists Films, MGM Television Entertainment, MGM
Networks, MGM Distribution Co., MGM Worldwide Television Distribution, MGM
Home Entertainment, MGM Consumer Products, MGM Music, MGM Interactive, and
MGM.com .
    In addition, MGM has acquired a 20 percent ownership interest in four of
Rainbow Media's successful national cable networks -- American Movie Classics
(AMC), Bravo, The Independent Film Channel (IFC) and WE: Women's Entertainment
(formerly Romance Classics), and holds equity interests in 14 television
channels internationally.  For more information on MGM, visit MGM online at
http://www.mgm.com .

 Bonding with home

By Margaret E Ward
Dublin, Ireland, 30 December, 2001

Pierce Brosnan may be best known as the unshakeable, and unstirrable James Bond, but off-screen he is modest to the point of shy.

The man who was recently voted People magazine's Sexiest Man Alive avoids eye-contact and seems introverted, almost hesitant, about revealing too much of himself. His distraction could be attributed to the hectic six day work schedule on Evelyn, which, when we meet, is in its last days of shooting at Ardmore Studios. Or it might just be a reluctance to brag on the part of the local-boy-made-good.

Because, after nearly two decades chasing stardom in Hollywood, Brosnan has come home. Ostensibly, he's here to produce films -- Evelyn was the realisation of a five year effort and is the second in a series of films he plans to produce here -- but you suspect the commitment runs deeper.

In the past, he has changed his mind about American citizenship three times, opting to hold on to his Irish passport. He says he's uncertain about the harp-emblazoned booklet's hold on him. "It was just a sensation, a gut reaction of saying I want to come home and make films."

He feels a deep-seated need to return to Ireland. "Every time I come back, I figure out more about who I am as a man, an artist, a human being. It's really just so instinctual."

These are surprising sentiments from one who's often described as the "British actor Pierce Brosnan", and who has lived in the US for more than 20 years. But for Brosnan, at least, there's no confusion about his roots. "I feel very comfortable here, I have a sense of belonging and feel that I am one of this kind," he says.

Irish Dreamtime, the production company he runs with Hollywood veteran Beau St Clair was, you suspect, formed partly as an excuse to get him back more often.

The company, whose name is a play on the aboriginal belief of dreaming the universe into being, is not just aiming to make money. According to Brosnan, the plan is to nurture native Irish talent and stories suitable for film.

Irish Dreamtime's first endeavour was "The Nephew" starring Donal McCann, Sinead Cusack and Brosnan. It was shot in 36 days in the autumn of 1996 by a first-time director, Bray man Eugene Brady. The company's latest film combines the talents of young Irish actors as well as big Hollywood names -- despite the traditionally low pay on offer in independent firms.

Set in 1953, Evelyn is based on the true story of an unemployed Dublin man who fights for custody of his children. After Desmond Doyle's (Pierce Brosnan) wife leaves him, the Church and State use a 1941 law to take away his daughter Evelyn, and two boys Noel and Brendan.

Despite Doyle's protests, the law allows the government to keep the children in church-run orphanages until he has visible means of support and the approval of his wife. He employs the help of an Irish solicitor (Stephen Rea) and an Irish-American lawyer (Aidan Quinn) to win the kids back through the courts.

Brosnan didn't have to look far for inspiration for his role.

The actor was born to May and Thomas Brosnan on May 16, 1953, but Brosnan's carpenter father walked out when Pierce was two. From the age of four, the boy was raised by his grandparents, Philip and Katherine Smith, while his mother trained as a nurse in London.

Two years later, both grandparents died. For the next four years, he was passed between relatives until Eileen Reilly took him into her lodging house.

His mother sent for him when he was ten and he was taken to her home in Putney, London. Soon after, she married Bill Carmichael. Carmichael treated Pierce as his own son, even bringing him to his first Bond film, Goldfinger. But 1960s London was not an easy place for the Irish boy. Although he was close to six feet tall by the time he was 11, he was bullied and called a Mick and Paddy.

There's some irony, then, in the fact that Brosnan's classic "black Irish" looks, comic timing and charm initially got him noticed. Even without fame, his strikingly handsome face, height (he's 6'2") and poise would turn heads.

When he was voted Sexiest Man Alive earlier this year, People magazine gushed: "Suave and sophisticated, caring and kind, he's also a total knockout -- and a one-woman man. Who wouldn't bond with this breathtaking Irishman?"

Brosnan has no intention of being just another pretty face. Over the last few years, roles with Irish Dreamtime and with directors such as John Boorman in The Tailor of Panama, have given him the opportunity to stretch himself as both an actor and director.

But today, as the 48-year old actor waits to shoot one of Evelyn's final scenes, he looks forlorn, like he is about the send his first-born off to school.

The reason is that he's about to be parted from the project he calls "his baby". The transition from the emotional highs and lows of Desmond Doyle to the cool control of James Bond, which starts shooting in mid-January, will be a difficult one.

"It's really a push-me, pull-me situation when you are finishing a film you have loved and worked on for five years. It's a hard one to let go of but we're cutting the film in Pinewood (where Bond is being shot), so I'll have my baby close by," he says.

The as-yet untitled Bond 20 marks a departure for the normally unruffled, beyond beautiful, secret agent. At the start of the film, Bond is reportedly tortured for days, leaving him haggard-looking and distressed. Filming begins soon, but the plot and cast are shrouded in secrecy. The rumour mill has been working overtime, and his co-stars are thought to include Halle Berry, John Cleese and Judi Dench.

Others possibly connected with the film include Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Tomorrow Never Dies), Rick Yune (The Fast and the Furious) and Beyonce Knowles (Destiny's Child).

Those who have worked with the Irish actor on Bond (Tomorrow Never Dies, 1997 and The World is Not Enough, 1999) or other films are effusive in their praise. Brosnan, they say, is a nice, funny, down to earth guy who values his family above all. Meeting him, it's hard to pick holes in this analysis.

He's also -- sorry girls -- unavailable. Last summer, he married his long-term partner, environmental journalist Keely Shaye Smith at Ashford Castle. They have two children, Dylan (who is four) and Paris Beckett (ten months).

They returned again in November. "We go drinking in the pubs and Keely and I walk down Grafton Street with our shopping bags then stop off in the Shelbourne for a glass of Guinness or a cup of tea. They know us there and it's very comfortable.

"It's usually the out-of-towners who go a bit nuts when they see James Bond walking down the street. The locals simply say `how are ya Pierce, Keely? We loved the pics, loved the wedding.' It's been a very nice experience really."

In the past, they considered buying a property in Ireland. "When we enquired previously they started sending me brochures of castles," he chortles, "when we really just wanted a farmhouse, something small."

But everything hasn't always been so easy for Brosnan.

In 1977, he married Cassandra Harris. They had a son together, Sean, and he adopted her two children from a previous marriage, Christopher and Charlotte, when their own father died in 1986.

The family had to face another turmoil when Cassandra died in 1991 of ovarian cancer. Since then, Brosnan has been an active campaigner in women's health issues.

His spirituality was, he says, one of the things that helped him through this period. "I'm a Catholic first and foremost, but my religion is personal and I believe in enjoying your fellow man."

Two years ago, the actor followed Richard Gere's footsteps by visiting the Dalai Lama. In the 1960s he first read about Buddhism and has practised meditation. "The Dalai Lama is a great fellow, a lovely human being and he promotes happiness."

During his visit, Brosnan was struck by the plight of the children of Tibet and raised $400,000 in Hollywood donations to start a vocational school for young men there. They are trained in the traditional crafts of Tibetan culture and given skills and hope for the future.

The materialism he sees in Ireland now disturbs him, he says. "I grew up here with rivers and mountains and streams. The Celtic Tiger has brought prosperity, but it also means forests are being cut down and mountains are being quarried at an incredible rate."

If things go according to plan, that's unlikely to be the last we'll hear of Brosnan's views on conservation and Ireland.

The country of his birth will continue to play a central role in his professional development. According to his partner Beau St Clair, Irish Dreamtime plans to next make medium-size thrillers or comedies and big budget "tent-pole" films to entice the big studios and provide consistent long-term funding for their smaller projects.

She says that, eventually, the company hopes to become a bridge between the talented Irish storytellers, poets and actors and the business minds in Hollywood. This may be through a link with an Irish university or a work placement programme.

Brosnan says that everything you've heard about the talent pool in Ireland is true. "We love working with young people and developing their skills.

Something keeps us coming back here to find the writers and directors who have both the talent and a passion to go into this ferocious business."

The Navan-native has come a long way since he ran away to join the circus in his teens. Whether we know it or not, the former fire-eater is now not just Ireland's best known actor, he's one of its biggest fans.

HOLLYWOOD superstar Pierce Brosnan has accepted Navan UDC’s recent invitation to become honorary patron of the proposed new arts centre in his native Navan.

The James Bond actor says he even hopes to be there in person when the ambitious new Fair Green facility is officially opened if his schedule at that time will allow.

Taking a break from his demanding schedule at the filming of his new production of ‘Evelyn’ in Ardmore Studios in Bray, the 007 star gave an exclusive interview to the Meath Chronicle’s Bronagh Curran during this, his longest period at home here in Ireland.

Now almost 40 years since he left, Pierce recalls the Navan he remembers and the memories that have remained with him throughout his equally traumatic and charmed life and sets the record straight on those speculated secret visits home. After accepting the invitation to be a patron of the proposed Navan Arts Centre, Pierce’s visits home in 2002 won’t be such sublime affairs.

Facing a year of further Bond adventures, he hopes to portray the famous spy at least one more time and is eager to continue his producing role within his company, IrishDreamtime, and may even consider trying his hand at directing in the future.

Despite recent speculation, Pierce has not lobbied to shoot scenes of the 20th Bond adventure, ‘Beyond the Ice’, here in Ireland. “I would love to as Ireland has the potential but there have been no plans to shoot here,” he said.

The man with the licence to thrill was voted the Sexiest Man Alive 2001 by a leading American magazine, but says he is blissfully happy with new bride Keely and their sons, Dylan and Paris. On being voted the Sexiest man Alive, he comments: “It’s a great compliment, but something that I thought had long passed me by!”

Even though he is the essence of cool to moviegoers, Pierce, like all fathers, also embarrasses his children: “I’ve said the wrong things at the wrong time, I’m the same as any father.”

Pierce and family spent Christmas in England with his mother, May Carmichael.

 Will Bond Be Back?
December 26, 2001

We caught up with People magazine's Sexiest Man Alive, PIERCE BROSNAN, on the set of his dramatic new ripped-from-the-headlines movie, 'Evelyn', to talk shop and bond about Bond!

Read on to find out why the dapper actor chose to make a biopic back on his home turf of Ireland, exactly what lies in store for his super-suave double agent character, James Bond, and just why he admires new bond babe HALLE BERRY!

ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT: Set the scene here.

PIERCE BROSNAN: Well, we're in Amour Studios in Dublin. And this is the Supreme Court, the main set piece for the end of the film. This film is called 'Evelyn,' and based on a true story.

DESMOND DOYLE is who I play. He was a painter and decorator back in Dublin in 1953. His daughter, Evelyn, and his two sons were taken away from him when the mother left and put in these [state-run] schools; the daughter was put in a convent.

Desmond fought tooth-and-nail to get his children back, and it went all the way to the Supreme Court.

ET: This was a precedent-setting case, right?

PIERCE: It is a case that they still use within the legal system. It changed the legislation back then, and many children were released from these terrible institutions.

So why do the piece? Well, because I am a father myself. It was an opportunity to come back to Ireland, first and foremost. And beyond that, it was well-written. It dealt with a very heart-wrenching theme, which could have been heavy-handed, but PAUL PENDER, the writer, embellished it with humor and very fine characters.

We worked on it for about five years. I had worked with [director] BRUCE BERESFORD on one of his films years ago, 'Mr. Johnson,' and Bruce loved the material.

Now we have got this incredible cast with ALAN BATES, JULIANNA MARGULIES, AIDAN QUINN and STEPHEN REA.

ET:Your wife KEELY and the kids are here?

PIERCE: We stay together as a family. The children are young enough and portable enough, and you know, really, we are on the road for [the] year because of Bond. I am not going to get away without talking about Bond, probably...

Ireland has been very significant in our life this year. We got married here. Right on the heels of that, we've come back here with this film. We've had the most wonderful time. I really feel like it's home.

ET: Is there going to be something special with your next Bond film, since it's the 40th anniversary?

PIERCE: I think they are organizing something. I am not sure what they are going to do, but they will pull out all the stops -- they always do for these pictures.

It never ceases to amaze me that people are waiting for a 'Bond' and they want to know when it is coming out. I can't believe that it's the fourth time I'm stepping in those shoes.

ET: Is it the last time?

PIERCE: I don't think it's the last time, no. I mean contractually, yes, I will have honored my contract of four [007 films]. But I would like to go again. I think there could be a fifth, sixth, seventh. But I am excited by this fourth one.

ET: Have you met with HALLE BERRY?

PIERCE: No ... I've met with the director LEE TAMAHORI and it's shapping up nicely. I don't know her, but I've seen Ms. Berry's body ... of work. And it is a lovely body ... of work!

I think Halle is a really good-looking woman and is someone who is hungry to work and to challenge herself, from what I've seen.

  Brosnan Plays Bond Once More
By FilmStew.com

  At a recent press junket for the 20th installment of MGM's James Bond franchise, a film which is still untitled, actor Pierce Brosnan announced that he will suit up for a fifth go at playing 007. The actor, who is currently filming his fourth go-round as Bond at Pinewood Studios in London, said that he will most likely hang up his Bond attire after his fifth film because of the physical demands of the part.
Also in attendance at the event were the film's co-star Halle Berry, director Lee Tamahori, and producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson. The event also introduced Toby Stephens as a new villain, Rosamund Pike as another Bond girl, and Rick Yune as another bad guy.

With plot details being kept closely guarded, all that's known is that Bond is on the tail of a traitor who has developed a facial mutation device, making him that much harder to follow. In capturing the villain, Bond would prevent a war of catastrophic proportions. Tamahori confirmed that only a few minor changes were made to the script in light of recent world events.

 Brosnan Back in 'Comfy' Role of Bond


He may not have a title for his movie, but 007 actor Pierce Brosnan, 47, has a nickname: "Billion Dollar Bond," reports Reuters. A spokeswoman for the production company said: "We call him our 'Billion Dollar' Bond because his three Bond films have made $1 billion." PEOPLE readers also may recall another nickname for the Irish-born actor, who is about to play James Bond for the fourth time: Sexiest Man Alive 2001. Shooting began Monday at Pinewood Studios outside London on the new, and 20th, James Bond film, which as yet remains untitled. (One suggestion has been "Beyond the Ice," but no final decision has been made.) Still, for Brosnan, playing the world's most famous spy in the 40-year-old movie series "is like slipping on a comfy pair of old slippers." The new adventure, which also stars Halle Berry, 33, will open in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea with a spectacular high-speed hovercraft chase. Other locations for the film include Hong Kong and -- for the first time -- Havana. But Bond will still be Bond. "I'm not going to turn him into a sensitive New Age guy on the shrink's couch," the film's New Zealand director Lee Tamahori told Reuters. "Bond saves the world and is always running about chasing women." Korean-American Rick Yune and British actor Toby Stephens will play the villains, or, actually, according to leaks from the set, one villain, after a bit of plastic surgery. Beware, Bond.

 Brosnan to play Bond one more time

PIERCE BROSNAN is to extend his contract to complete one more film as 007, he said.

Pierce Brosnan and new Bond girl Halle Berry
The actor, who is about to begin work on his fourth movie as the world-saving spy, James Bond, said he wanted to complete a fifth Bond movie, but added that he might be too old to go on beyond that.

The cast and crew of the latest film - the 20th Bond instalment - which is yet to be given a title, assembled at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire today, ahead of the start of filming on Monday.

Brosnan said despite his contract being up after this film he still wanted to carry on for at least one more adventure. "I will do another one. I am very pleased to be sitting here today," he said. "Time has gone by so quickly. It seems like only yesterday I was sitting here for GoldenEye."

Asked what he thought was a good age for a James Bond actor to retire, the 48-year-old star said: "I do think about it. It takes stamina to play this role. I would like to get off the stage with grace. I am honouring my contract here but it would be wonderful to do another one. After that, I do not know."

Copyright 2002 Times Newspapers Limited
From The Times (London)

 The spy who came back with a cold
By Dalya Alberge January 12, 2002Playing James Bond, says Pierce Brosnan, has become like slipping on an old pair of shoes. But with his 49th birthday approaching in May, the Irish film star is worried that he may be getting too old to play Ian Fleming's hero.
Brosnan begins filming his fourth Bond epic next week, and confirmed yesterday that he we will return for a fifth. But he admitted: "It's a demanding role. You have to have a lot of stamina for it. It would be wonderful to do another one. After that, I don't know. I'd like to go with grace." 007's mission yesterday -despite having "a miserable head cold" -was to pose for the cameras at Pinewood studios and say a few words about the film before the shoot begins. Beautiful Bond girls ready to follow in the footsteps of Ursula Andress and Honor Blackman were on hand to raise the temperature on an otherwise chilly morning.

Halle Berry, the Hollywood actress who has just appeared as an alcoholic waitress in Monster's Ball, is Bond's feisty new femme fatale. "I'm proud to be here," she said. "I grew up watching Bond."

The film, as yet untitled, is once again produced by Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, who dismissed reports of 007's first topless love-making scene with Berry. The $ 100 million (Pounds 69 million) enterprise, being made 40 years after Sean Connery made the first Bond film, Dr No, is referred to simply as Bond 20.

It is directed by Lee Tamahori, who made Once Were Warriors and, more recently, Along Came a Spider. He said that his Bond would be modern yet faithful to Fleming's original. "He will not be turned into a New Age guy who goes around visiting shrinks. Bond may seem anachronistic and antediluvian, but it would be wrong to play around with the character too much. It's all very well to reinvent him, but some facets to his character everyone expects."

Bond is, after all, the man who saves the world. Tamahori guaranteed the usual ingredients of guns, gadgets and glamorous girls. But there would still be "an edge of unreality" to the film: when someone is hit by a bullet, there is no blood. "There is a code of ethics," he said. The director added that a minor change had been made to the script after September 11. It was otherwise unaffected, because the plot was "not rooted in hard-edged reality".

Most of the film is being filmed in Britain, with the giant greenhouses of the Eden Project being used for a jungle scene. Locations also include Hawaii, Hong Kong, Iceland and Spain. As many as ten sets, including a futuristic ice palace dripping with stalactites and chandeliers, are being constructed at Pinewood. As this is a Bond film, most, no doubt, will be blown up.

The script is being kept secret, but involves a weapon that enables facial mutation. One of the two arch-villains will don facial prosthetics as his features are transformed. Betrayal, hi-tech weaponry and worldwide military domination will figure again.

The story begins in the demilitarised zone between North and South Korea with a spectacular high-speed hovercraft chase and continues to Hong Hong, Cuba and London. Bond finds himself in serious trouble when a covert operation in North Korea is compromised by a traitor.

Toby Stephens, the son of Dame Maggie Smith and the late Sir Robert Stephens, plays the villain-in-chief. "I knew I'd never get to play Bond," he said, "so playing the villain is definitely second best."

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