Pierce Brosnan admits backing Quentin Tarantino scared Bond producers
Anyone out drinking in Mill Valley on Thursday evening may have spotted the actor formerly known as James Bond. As his new movie "The Matador" played at the Mill Valley Film Festival, Pierce Brosnan made the rounds of the local bars -- "all two of them," he quipped - reports SFGate
Looking impossibly debonair in a black velvet suit that set off his salt-and-pepper hair and newly acquired beard, Brosnan arrived at the festival's opening night with his in-laws, Thomas Smith and Sharon Rose, who live in the Bay Area. At an intimate pre-screening party, Rose confidently said her son-in-law would appear as 007 again -- despite reports that he'd been summarily dismissed from Her Majesty's Secret Service after four Bond flicks that revived the franchise.
"I absolutely predict Pierce will make a fifth Bond movie because flowers always come arranged in groups of five," Rose said.
Laughing, Brosnan said his mother-in-law had confided her florid rule of five to him earlier in the day. He's still clueless about why he lost the gig. "They said I wanted too much money, which is nonsense." A more likely explanation is his attempt to give the movies an edge. "I really wanted Quentin Tarantino to direct the next one, and Quentin wanted to do it. I think that scared the producers."
"The Matador," a hit at the Sundance Film Festival and a definite crowd pleaser Thursday night, plays on Brosnan's secret agent image. His character, Julian, is "like James Bond on his worst day," director Richard Shepard explained. As a paid assassin, Julian has a license to kill, but is prone to anxiety attacks in the act. Like Bond, he wakes up with beautiful women whom he can't always immediately identify. Unlike Bond, noting the purple polish on one of his conquest's toenails as she sleeps, he rummages through her bag and gives himself a pedicure.
There are also subtle hints that Julian may be bisexual. "Actually I think of him as tri-sexual -- he'll try anything," said Shepard, who wrote the script and sent it to Brosnan's production company as a sample of his work, hoping to be hired to script a "Thomas Crown Affair" sequel. A few weeks later, as Shepard was in his underwear watching "Oprah" "as every good writer is at 4 in the afternoon," Brosnan called and said he would like to star in and produce "The Matador."
Brosnan admitted that he felt conflicted about playing Julian, who is mean to kids and small dogs. "I jumped ship one weekend. I didn't think I could do that to the audience I've built up." Instead, he worked with Shepard on toning down some of the character's most outrageous behavior.
Brosnan appeared for a Q & A following the screening. Perhaps under the influence of his pub crawl, he had shed his jacket and rolled up the sleeves on his crisp white shirt. He was asked if had any hesitation about a scene calling for him to stroll through an elegant Mexico City hotel lobby clad only in black briefs and cowboy boots.
"I did have a few moments of reflection right before when I still had a robe on," he replied. A co-producer was by his side, and he suggested Brosnan do the scene in his pajama bottoms. "But by that time I felt the train has left the station, so off I went. I do wish I'd sucked in my stomach, though."
Shepard added that only four of the people milling around the lobby were extras. All the rest were hotel guests. "They said, 'I love this hotel.' "
Guests at the Mill Valley Film Festival wound up feeling the same way about Brosnan, who couldn't have been more charming. He schmoozed his way through the pre- and post-screening parties, chatting amicably with major festival donors introduced to him by festival director Mark Fishkin. One of them, Patricia Sarris, asked for an autograph, the first time she felt moved to do so in 16 years of attending opening nights. When the pen she handed Brosnan turned out not to have any ink in it, he went off in search of one that worked. The conversation in the ladies' room consisted mostly of "Can you believe how handsome he is?"
A huge jazz fan, Brosnan planned to hit some jazz clubs later that night. This weekend, he leaves for Santa Fe to start shooting a post-Civil War Western called "Seraphim Falls" with Liam Neeson.
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