Brosnan, Pierce Brosnan

Pierce Brosnan turned 68 years old on 16 May 2021. Suave, debonair, charismatic and a great actor, Pierce Brosnan has the perfect combination of what makes a true movie star.

Brosnan spent the best part of the ’80s and early ’90s alternating between taking the lead in television movies and low budget features and supporting roles on the big screen. This time saw him give great performances in films like Nomads, Mister Johnson, The Deceivers, Taffin, Live Wire and Love Story.

In 1986 Brosnan signed his contract for The Living Daylights – a film he’d never make, Remington Steele had been cancelled but a viewing spike in the show following Brosnan’s casting as James Bond saw it renewed at the last minute.

Following a six year court battle over rights issues between Eon and MGM, many thought that the suit wearing James Bond was now a relic of a bygone era. In the mid 1990′s Timothy Dalton declined an invitation to return to the legendary role and, in 1995, Brosnan finally had his chance to star as James Bond in Goldeneye.

Re-launching the franchise in glorious fashion the film and Brosnan’s subsequent films were a huge success. Each of Brosnan’s films grossed more and more at the US box office and he became Bond for a whole new generation.

Tomorrow Never Dies and and The World Is Not Enough saw him straddle the line tonal lines between Sean Connery and Roger Moore. However, following the 9/11 bombings and the Jason Bourne films many thought that 2002′s Die Another Day had taken the franchise back to the realms of Moonraker with its far-fetched plot and over the top special effects. It was time for Daniel Craig to take over the role. 

Brosnan had great lead roles in Dante’s Peak and Mars Attacks, but his signature non-Bond role was in 1999’s The Thomas Crown Affair. Way back in 1999 few imagined that Pierce Brosnan could easily step into Steve McQueen’s shoes for John Mc Tiernan‘s remake of The Thomas Crown Affair. However the romantic thriller is one of the few remakes to surpass the original.

McTiernan’s remake of the 1968 Norman Jewison film hits the mark on nearly every level. Rene Russo is the perfect foil to Brosnan’s gentleman thief and Bill Conti’s score is first rate. One of the main marketing ploys of the film was that both Brosnan and costar Rene Russo were in their forties – something which is still a rarity in Hollywood today. 

Brosnan tried to get a sequel titled The Topkapi Affair made, with Paul Verhoeven set to direct, however a regime change at United Artists/MGM put the kibosh on that. John McTiernan was also working on his own version, but that attempt at a follow-up also stalled.

Directed by Brett Ratner, After The Sunset is like a spiritual cousin to Brosnan’s 1999 romantic caper The Thomas Crown Affair. Co-starring Salma Hayek, Woody Harrelson, Don Cheadle and Naomie Harris, Ratner’s film was a commercial and critical under performer on its release. Budgeted at $60 million, the film grossed just $28 million at the US box office and $34 million in other territories for a global take of $62 million. 

He has made a multitude films, but I don’t think which often don’t get the respect that they deserves. Just watch The Greatest, Butterfly on a Wheel, Married Life, Laws of Attraction, The Matador, Mama Mia and Seraphim Falls to see a nuanced actor who can nail any genre.

Phyllida Lloyd’s Mamma Mia! is an excellent jukebox musical that pulls on ABBA’s music and the 2008 film’s classy cast give it their all.

Movies In Focus was originally cynical of the film, but I grew to appreciate Mamma Mia. Yes it’s silly, but it really does work as a piece of entertainment and the cast (Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgård, Julie Walters and Christine Baranski) are fully committed themselves to proceedings. I admit to owning the soundtrack – just for Pierce Brosnan’s mighty rendition of ABBA’s SOS. 

I was originally excited when that Universal Pictures has announced Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, thinking that the magic would strike twice. However, the 2018 sequel was a disappointing remake of the opening moments of the first movie, sidelining the original cast. I wanted to hang with the oldies, not the young pretenders. It lacked heart and originality. It was the worst film of 2018. 

2008’s Mamma Mia! grossed $144 million at the US box office and $609 million globally. Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again scored $120 million at the US box office and $395 million worldwide. 

With a screenplay from Roman Polanski and Robert Harris (based on Harris’ novel), 2010’s The Ghost Writer is a wonderfully constructed thriller with a beautifully bleak feeling. The grey and stormy coastline of Martha’s Vineyard (actually the North Sea) is perfectly realised by cinematographer Paweł Edelman, while the score from the great Alexandre Desplat is exceptional. 

Ewan McGregor is wonderful as out of his depth Ghost Writer, while Pierce Brosnan delivers one of the best performances of his career as the former Prime Minister, which is clearly based on Tony Blair. It’s a small role for Brosnan, but he delivers with grit and gusto. 

Next-up Brosnan will be seen in Renny Harlin’s heist film, The Misfits – and it’s a film where he will once again play a gentleman thief. He’s also signed to join Dwayne Johnson in the DC Comics adventure Black Adam. It looks like Pierce Brosnan is continuing to keep busy, taking on a wide array of roles. 

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