Compiled by: Jack Foley
AT THE end of every James Bond film, audiences are promised that
007 will return. So it seemed only natural that the question on
everyone's lips at the start of the London press conference was
whether Pierce Brosnan - officially voted the second best Bond
in the history of the franchise - would be returning for a fifth
The answer was a very emphatic 'yes', even though the demands
of the role (both in performing and promoting it), are as strenuous
- even dangerous - as becoming a secret agent itself.
Brosnan confessed that there were several moments, early on,
when the sheer enormity and responsibility of taking on the 007
mantle forced him to question what he was doing, while the physical
demands of becoming the world's greatest secret agent have also
At the start of filming for Die Another Day, for instance, the
star blew out his knee, forcing many of the set pieces to be delayed,
while some of the tasks he has been forced to perform have appeared
more like a mission impossible than a 007 venture.
But Brosnan is clearly coming to terms with the role and confesses
to even feeling comfortable with it. Announcing that producers,
Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, had 'very graciously extended
an invitation to me to come back for a fifth before I started
this junket', the star went on to explain about 'the comfort zone'
that existed this time around.
"It's such a daunting part to take on; it takes time to
become Bond, to find your Bond, and to find your place in the
history books of this character," he explained. "When
I did Goldeneye, I played it safe and tried to do the best I could.
"I had a great director in Martin Campbell, who certainly
brought a cinematic panache to it. But we've all gotten to know
each other fairly well now [the writers, Neal Purvis and Robert
Wade, as well as the producers] and they play to my weaknesses
and strengths within it, and we know what they are, I think.
"The scenario this time around, 'what happens if the man
goes on a mission and he gets captured and he's stripped of his
identity and his licence to kill', was a great premise to start
from, and Lee [Tamahori] was a great man to have directing. He
was passionate, ferociously passionate, and he wanted to make
it gritty and real, which has always been the path, for me, to
kind of believe in this fantastical world and then to trust in
it. So I had great support."
It is a point with which Tamahori agrees, even though he maintains
that directing the 20th Bond film was not as tough as he thought
it was going to be.
"You know what's come before," he explained. "You
know there's been 19 movies, and nobody comes along and tells
you, 'look, you've got an awesome legacy to live up to'. I know
what Terence Young made, and what Martin Campbell had made, and
it was great to be offered the opportunity to be able to make
a Bond movie.
"All I wanted to do was make a great Bond movie and not
the worst Bond movie. But it's great to be part of the Bond legacy
and to enter cinematic folklore, even though it nearly killed
With that in mind, however, both star and director admitted that
the rigours of promoting the film far outweighed the responsibility
of making it; while the 'media circus' which greeted each new
film was something both found overwhelming at times.
Tamahori referred to the publicity campaign as a 'well oiled
machine', but feels it is justified because 'people are really
fascinated by this genre, its longevity, and how it's managed
to last this long'. He also believes that audiences 'really do
like it' and want to find out about it.
While Brosnan believes you have to enter into it with the best
intentions, no matter how daunting it can seem.
"Once you sign on the dotted line to play this role, you
become an ambassador to a legacy which is so long-standing in
our culture," he explained. "It is not just an action
role, but one that takes you into many areas of society. It
is like no other acting role that an actor will do.
"I remember doing the press junket for Goldeneye. I was
in front of thousands of members of the press and I remember
the publicist saying, 'OK, Pierce, when you hear the music,
just go out there'; and the next thing I know, the Bond music
kicked in and I got pushed into this screen of lights, in front
of the world's press, and was suddenly being asked questions
from sceptics such as 'do we need another Bond', 'haven't we
had enough of Bond', and 'what kind of underpants do you wear?',
and I went home and lay on the bed, at the end of a long day,
and thought, 'Dear Lord, what have I done to myself? What have
I entered in to?'
"But it's all part of the celebration of this film, because
people want to know, so you have to enter into it in a good
fashion, with good heart and with good intentions."
Asked whether he ever considered himself to be a secret agent,
however, the actor drew a line between himself and the character,
saying that although 'it's a fairly well travelled road for
me now', playing Bond involved 'a huge responsibility', which
prevented 'you from taking it for granted, or underestimating
"You can't walk through it, you have to give it 120% all
the time, because it's big. There's a lot of money behind it,
and a lot of talented people that you're working with, so you
don't go round thinking that was really cool all the time."
Indeed, some of the time, being Bond can be downright embarrassing,
as he revealed when asked about any tricky moments onset...
"Getting into the tights for the fencing scene, I did
think 'oh boy, oh boy, this could be dangerous here, 'just shoot
above the waste'. 'Really, please, I have kind of aristocratic
"Too many costumes have their downside to them. They may
look good on paper, but you've got to get into them and you
think, 'oh Lord, give me a break'. But it's all part and parcel
of being Bond, of being an actor, getting on with the job,"
The effort was worth it, though, as the fencing scene is something
which Brosnan feels works best in Die Another Day.
"The sword fight is something that I was very proud of
at the end of the day. I thought it could be a bit hokey, and
I wasn't quite sure. But I think it's a really wonderful set
piece in the film and I had a great partner, with Toby Stephens.
Of course, the added pressure on that one was that I blew my
knee out at the beginning of the film and we had this massive
piece that had to be shot near the end, so I was just pleased
to get through the damn thing.
"But it's all part of the nature of these movies. You
put yourself in these situations and want to give your best
performance, but sometimes it just knocks you down.
"I remember once trying to swim after a nuclear submarine...
just after lunch! I'd had a couple of pints and it was the last
day of filming, and then I was told to swim after a nuclear
sub! It's just not a good thing to do."
Brosnan remains eternally grateful for being offered the role
in the first place, however, and maintains that it has made things
possible in his life which may otherwise have remained unobtainable.
Commenting on how it had changed his life, he replied: "I'm
still the same man, and I still have the same passions and dreams
and desires for acting.
"But it has allowed me to form my own company, Irish DreamTime,
and to make three movies which I don't think would have happened
if I didn't have Bond in my life. It's also allowed me to participate
in causes that are close to my heart, and to provide for my family
in a very fine way.
"So it's been nothing but a joyous ride, really. People
are always trying to go to the negative, but it would be foolhardy
for me to acknowledge any of that. It's just been a great celebration."