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Bev Cohn: Pierce Brosnan
EDITORíS NOTE: The following interview originally appeared in the April 1, 2010 edition of the Santa Monica Mirror and the edited version is being reprinted as a courtesy of that publication.

scene showing Pierce Brosnan in the film The Greatest
Pierce Brosnan as the grieving father in "The Greatest."
Photo Credit: Paladin

Pierce Brosnan
007 Is Definitely a 10+
By Beverly Cohn

hen Pierce Brosnan walked into the room, dressed in chic jeans, black shirt, and blazer, it was although he had a klieg light shining on him. His presence, both warm, powerful, and dazzling, coupled with his radiant Irish smile, filled the room with excitement that would permeate the ensuing interview regarding his latest film, The Greatest, written and directed by Shana Feste in which he co-stars with Susan Sarandon, Carey Mulligan and Johnny Simmons. The story is about the loss of a child and the impact on the family. Brosnan is no stranger to grief having lost his first wife Cassandra Harris to ovarian cancer and a near-death experience with his son.

Q: As a parent you almost had the experience depicted in the film. Did you draw on your personal experience?

Brosnan: One dark night, I experienced the near death of my son, as I watched him being airlifted out in the canyons of Malibu and found myself in a chapel praying for his life. So, when the script came to me I read it and then threw it under the bed because as good as it was, and as touching as it was, I felt that I didn’t want to go there. But, luckily Beau St. Clair (producer and partner in Brosnan’s Irish DreamTime) was tenacious and a few weeks later I looked at it again and said ‘alright, let’s go, let’s do this.’ The Greatest is Pierce acting out a role, pretending to be this man Allen Brewer.

Q: Was this the most emotionally demanding character you’ve ever worked on?

Brosnan: I haven’t done anything quite this emotional. The breakdown for him is very poignant so you use what you have in your life experiences repertoire, including the pain.

Q: Was there any healing for you in doing this film?

Brosnan: I don’t know if there was healing per se, but certainly the exploration was fascinating. Acting is constantly about constructing and destroying and that’s why it’s such a psychologically damaging to experience to some actors who go beyond the pale. I like to stick to light entertainment really (laughing).

Pierce Brosnan and Carey Mulligan in The Greatest
Pierce Brosnan with Carey Mulligan who plays Rose,
girlfriend of his late son. Photo Credit: Paladin

Q: What would like the audience to take home with them?

Brosnan: I thought if we got this right, it could be an enduring piece of drama for people who have experienced such tragedy in their lives. It could be entertaining and uplifting and meaningful. It’s just as great to cry, as it is to laugh.

Q: There were a lot of intensely emotional scenes in the film. After shooting one of them, how did you re-center?

Brosnan: Just sat down and had a cup of tea. I’ve been doing this for many years now, but this kind of work is certainly going back to the beginning of my career where your emotions are much closer to the surface, but as you get older, you have ways of dissembling and protecting yourself. It’s takes courage to go out there and reveal yourself.

Q: What was one of the most difficult scenes for you?

Brosnan: That scene in the hospital bed, which was my first scene on the very first day of shooting. I turned to my producers and said, ‘What the heck are you doing to me girls? Can’t we push this to the end?’ But we couldn’t because of schedule and timing, we had to shoot that particular scene that day.

Q: Do you think one can ever master acting?

Brosnan: No, I don’t think so. Your life is constantly in flux – your emotions, your center of living, and understanding of life is constantly changing, and should be, if you want to be exhilarated by it and present in life.

Q: How would you describe you current career path?

Brosnan: It’s all about the work. You reach the mid-life of your life and you look back and think this is what I do and luckily what I do I still love. How do you stay at the table and try to find new roles, including character parts. And, you’re always dealing with the ego of letting go.

Q: Have you given new guidelines to your agents?

Brosnan: Yes. I’ve told them not to look for the big starring roles. If they come in great, but let’s look for character work. Let’s look for supporting roles. Let’s be adventurous across the board in finding the best, most challenging work.

Q: Do you need to stay in touch with your roots in Ireland?

Brosnan: My heart and soul are Irish. I come from so places from the life I’ve lived, but the overall place I come from is America. It’s the longest place I’ve lived in. But ultimately it’s about the work and finding the best work I possibly can.

Q: When you look back at your Remington Steele days, do you look back fondly?

Brosnan: Indeed. Remington was a major gift in my life. Hop on a plane to borrow two grand from a bank manager in south London and hop on a plane to come to America to find an agent and the third day you’re here you get a car from Rent-a-Wreck and drive across Laurel Canyon to CBS who is looking for Remington Steele and you end up being Remington Steele. I mean you gotta’ tip your hat to someone. In that case, I tip it to my late wife who said we must go to America; otherwise I would have just stayed and just played it safe. So Remington is hugely significant, but every part of your career is significant.

Q: You achieved the Hollywood dream. Is it still possible for other actors to achieve that in view of how Hollywood has changed?

Brosnan: If you watch Dancing With The Stars or American Idol, then you know it’s quite possible. You see people with great gifts fall from heaven.

Q: When you were a child do you go to the movies and did you connect with one particular film?

Brosnan: I went to the Lyric and The Palace in Navan, County Meath. There was one film called The Defiant Ones with Sidney Poitier and Tony Curtis which was fascinating. Being a young Irish lad of nine, I didn’t quite understand the complexities of the story. The image of this black man and white man being shackled together stayed with me a long time.

Q: How do you account for your remarkable career? Is it luck? Timing? Destiny? Or, are you just incredibly gifted?

Brosnan: Destiny. It’s fate. It’s just meant to be.

Q: I have one final question to ask you. Are you still practicing fire eating?

Brosnan: No I’m not. My last performance of that was on the Muppets in 1995, which I’m sure you can pull up on Google. But, no, I’ve grown up. I’m a much more serious kind of actor now.

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Let Bev know what you think about her traveling adventure.

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Thanks so much for those lovely tourism photos, especially of Ireland. I certainly enjoyed all the places you suggested, and am working towards my next vacation. Don’t forget Cuba. That’s an exciting place.

Rosalie, Los Angeles

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Enjoyed your article on Mira Sorvino. Such an interesting background – family, education, career and now human rights activist. I'm not a gossip mag fan so getting more meaty news about movie celebrities from you gives me hope that there are some inteligent life forms in Hollywood.

Peter Paul, Pasadena, CA

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Thank you, Bev. This reminded me to go see the movie, "An Education," which I had already almost forgotten about, having seen the preview a few weeks ago. I enjoy this actress quite a bit--she has a uniqueness about her and she pulls me in. I enjoyed this.

Sandeee, Seattle, WA

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Thank you Beverly,I really enjoyed reading about your intimate conversation with Forest, of whom I am a great admirer. I look forward to seeing the film "Our Family Wedding."

Yoka, Westlake Village, CA

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Thank you for the sending me the beautiful article you wrote about Ireland. We will use your recomendations for hotels in the Southern part. We plan to also go to Dublin and some other Northern cities so I will get some recommendations for these from others. After reading your article, I am getting more excited about going. I think we will be in Ireland for 8 days altogether.

Leah Mendelsohn, Santa Monica, CA

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Very much enjoyed Ms. Cohn's article about Munich, especially the visuals. Though it has been 25 years since my last visit, the piece brought back countless pleasant memories of the city and the people!! Many thanks.

Lawrence, Los Angeles

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Marianplatz and that general area is truly one of the best Christmas celebrations in the world. Between that and Oktoberfest (which I can only imagine) Munich is one of the greatest cities in the world for major annual events.

Christopher Dale, New York, NY

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Hi Bev, you have done some wonderful pieces on some great celebs...Great work. The travel articles are just wonderful too.

Scott Mueller, Huntington Beach, CA

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Your great Zurich article makes me want to go there for the holidays! I love the photos, too, especially the ones of you in the sleigh, the view over the houses and the zoo!

Anna Marie, Santa Monica, CA

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Lovely article! As a European, and having been to Zurich (albeit in summer) I can vouch for this lovely city. Great pictures, too!

Helene Robins, Santa Monica, CA

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Hi Bev,

Nice review, nice seeing you, nice website interface "...Talk to Bev" - Enjoy your Thanksgiving!

Richard D. Kaye, Marina del Rey, CA

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Hi Bev,

Your interview with John Cusack is very interesting. I always wondered why these actors/actresses always get top billing when really, if you think about it, the real work come from the animators, writers and tech whizzes who spend far more hours on the movie than those actors. I know, I know, it's the all about marketing. The names of these actors are what bring in the big bucks. Still, I think these actors are way overpaid for the "little" that they do.

I remember that once upon a time, the early animation classics never mentioned the voices behind the characters. I think it was only later when Walt Disney tapped into the voices of known celebrities like Walter Matthau in the Jungle Book or Zsa Zsa Gabor in The Rescuers that the voices became a marketing magnet.

Keep up the good work. I enjoy your interviews as you peer into the lives of the Hollywood celebrities.

Peter Paul of South Pasadena, CA

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