Pierce Brosnan has the fine-boned hands of an aristocrat, not exactly the testosterone-laden grip one might expect from that quintessence of Western manhood, James Bond. But, say all the principals involved with spinning the Bond franchise into the next millennium, this more sensitive aspect of Bond is what they intend to expand in coming films.
"Pierce is more vulnerable," says producer Michael Wilson, who quickly adds, "but not weak." This is important for a wide appeal, he says, because "older audiences like the emotional elements."
"We wanted to see the darker, more dramatic side [of Bond]," says first-time Bond director Michael Apted, who himself is more well-known for his serious documentaries than his ability to shoot on-screen adventure stories. "Pierce came to me and said, 'Give me stuff to play. I can't stand six months of action.' "
"We're going to see a lot more of the character, more emotion, more ambiguity that hasn't been there before," agrees Brosnan, whose clout has grown since his first Bond outing in "GoldenEye" (1995). At a recent press gathering he is nursing an anti-Bond unshaven look before noon, perhaps as a gesture of rebellion. Indeed, this wrestling with the nature of Bond has deep roots in his own history with the role.
"I never wanted to be Bond," he says, going on to say that "this myth that I wanted this role is untrue." He retells what has become a familiar story to Brosnan fans: arriving in Hollywood and driving around in a lime-green Pacer "with cushions on the seats to cover the exposed springs."
The Irish actor says he wanted to make films with respected directors such as Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola. "The Bond movies were shallow, beneath me. I was a serious actor."
But then came his first action role in the TV series "Remington Steele" (1982-87). Now that he has played Bond in three films, Brosnan says he has a new view of the role. "Bond requires real acting," he says with a wry smile. "There is a performance there, and you have to respect it."
(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society