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After The Sunset - Everything comes to an end, everything falls apart, and it's over for me and I wish them well

Feature by: Jack Foley

THE name's Brosnan, Pierce Brosnan, and if the charismatic Irish star has his way, cinema-goers will be hearing plenty more of it, in spite of the fact he has left his biggest role behind.

For many film fans, the name Brosnan has been synoymous with James Bond for over a decade, yet after four films - and despite being credited with reinvigorating the franchise - Brosnan has parted company with 007 as the search for a younger actor begins.

Yet, unlike the Bonds since Connery, Brosnan seems better placed than most to enjoy a successful career post-007, beginning with the enjoyable heist caper, After The Sunset.

The film finds Brosnan as a retired jewel thief who is lured back into business by the FBI agent on his trail (played by Woody Harrelson), to the disappointment of his love interest and former partner, played by Salma Hayek.

It's a slick, sexy affair, directed with gusto by Brett Ratner, which plays on the winning charisma of all of its performers.

And speaking at a recent London press conference for the movie, Brosnan said that he had actively sought to create some career longevity for himself when the Bond years finally came to an end.

"I love being an actor and I made my own company to create work for myself and create opportunities for myself that wouldn't normally be there," he explained.

"I don't think people would have cast me in Evelyn if Miramax had been making that film; and I don't think they would have cast me in the film that I've just done with my company, called The Matador, so it was a very strong decision, and an awareness between the films that I had time on my hands, and what do I do with that time on my hands, and how do I use it as effectively as possible for a career that, hopefully, would have some longevity.

"But listen, I had a great decade playing the character, and I'm forever grateful for the opportunity that I got, and for being part of that legacy. But everything comes to an end, everything falls apart, and it's over for me and I wish them well."

That said, the filming of After The Sunset bears some uncanny similarities to the Bond movies, given the exotic choice of location (The Bahamas), and its sexy co-stars (in the form of Hayek and Naomie Harris).

And it's something that didn't escape Brosnan's attention...

"It was one of the attractions for the script when I read it," he explained with a smile.

"I thought it had the possibility of a really good ensemble piece, and a heist and a romance, and, you know, Brett came in really at the 11th hour, and with Herculean effort, passion, made this film what it is."

Brosnan did, however, admit to losing faith in the project at a certain point, and having to rely on Ratner's enthusiasm to keep him interested.

When asked to elaborate on what had caused this, the star was equally candid.

"I love heist movies and caper movies and I could sense something in there that had the legs to be entertaining.

"I just, before filming, I'd just lose faith in it. I just thought maybe it was not going to be quite what I expected, I was trying to find the character, what I had done. I was also very aware that I was in a heist movie and I didn't want it to be like The Thomas Crown Affair, so I really just... general actor's neurosis.

"Nervous energy before going before the cameras, really. But Brett was a tower of strength from day one and all the way to the end."

Reservations aside, the heist movie genre is something that continues to attract Brosnan, given that After The Sunset is his third entry into the genre, and there are even plans for a sequel to The Thomas Crown Affair.

So what is it that makes them so appealing to the star?

"They go back to my childhood, you know, the films that I grew up on - The Italian Job, The Anderson Tapes...

"And, yes, we are talking about doing Thomas Crown again, which technically would be the third time it's been done as well.

"But we had good success with it, and we've been asked on numerous occasions if we're going to do a sequel, so we just hired a writer last week, and we're going to have a crack at it."

Returning to After The Sunset, however, the film also offered Brosnan the chance to work with two people he had long held in high-esteem, in the form of Harrelson and Hayek.

His chemistry with Harrelson, especially, is one of the film's biggest selling points, given the numerous games of one upmanship that go on between them - and the banter.

But Brosnan is remarkably modest about how the two stars arrived at such a great chemistry.

"We've kind of known each other since the days of TV. He was on Cheers, I was on Remington Steele, so we'd see each other.

"But I just like the guy; I have great respect for him as an actor, we became good mates, our houses were right besides each other, we rented homes down there on the island, he was next door, we had the same kind of outlook on life, and likes about life.

"He lives out in Hawaii, I live out there. I don't know, there was just good chemistry there - it's not something you can kind of work at, or try and fabricate, you either get on with each other or not."

As for his chemistry with Hayek, who is regularly to be seen smooching with Brosnan on-screen, there's no question the two got on, and Brosnan was only too happy to rave about her.

"Oh, I love her to bits. Don't act with children, animals or Salma Hayek. Really.

"She's just a gorgeous woman; I love her courageousness and her intelligence, and she has a very good sense of her own sensuality, and how to use it. She makes people very comfortable.

"I've got to say, it was a fantastic job, one of the ones that will go down in the book as a great time in life, and, hopefully, a really fine movie.

"I hope people will go and see it and say, 'yeah, fantastic, a great date film, one for the family'," he concluded.

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