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Brosnan. Pierce Brosnan.

Pegged as the best Bond since Sean Connery, the former "Remington Steele" star takes a hard look at himself.
Paul Chutkow
From the Print Edition:
Pierce Brosnan, Nov/Dec 97

(continued from page 4)

"In going from Ireland to England in 1964, as an Irish boy, it was a disappointment," Brosnan recalls. "Because I had confused England with America. I was looking for the big cars with the tail fins and the very tall buildings. London never really entered into my imagination, only in name, but America somehow filled me with visions. When the miniseries was ready to be aired, Cassie suggested we do something bold. Cassie said we should go to America, we should really go to Los Angeles for the premiere of this miniseries.

"But how are we going to get to Los Angeles, Cassie? We don't have any money. We've just bought this bloody house. How are we going to pay the mortgage?' She said, 'I'll think of a way.' So we took out a second mortgage on the central heating. We already had central heating in the house, but she found a loophole, and we went to the bank manager. I said I had a job in Hollywood and could we get a £2,000 loan? Somehow the central heating issue came in and we got the two grand.

"The trip to America, it was such a great joy to go there with Cassie, to take that leap of faith and go to the New World--all that nonsense you read about in books. But again it was a liberation. In Los Angeles, I rented a car from Rent-A-Wreck, a lime green Pacer, with a cushion, because the springs were coming through, and I got a map and went on my first interview in Hollywood. Somehow I found my way out to Laurel Canyon. I got up to the top of Mulholland Drive and the car broke down, blew up. I did eventually get to the interview and saw a casting director from Mary Tyler Moore Productions. Boom! They were looking for Remington Steele.

"The last thing I was looking for was a TV series. I went to America thinking I was going to work with Scorsese. Taxi Driver I'd seen about 10 times and Mean Streets; that's where my brain was at. I was going to do movies. But I needed work. I went through several more interviews and then Cassie and I came home to Wimbledon. Then the call came: Would I return for a screen test? And it was, 'My God, what have we done? What have we done? What are we going to do?' Panic, panic, panic. Don't panic! We'll go to America. We'll take the kids to America. So Cass, the two kids and I hopped on a plane and went to America.

"When I first worked on the part, I was bitterly frustrated. 'I'm just not funny,' I'd tell Cassie. 'I'm just not funny.' Then she told me, 'Just be yourself. Be how you are with me.' The series ran for four and a half years."

Brosnan and Harris settled into southern California and had a child of their own, Sean, now 13. And, thanks to "Remington Steele," Brosnan's lifelong financial worries disappeared. "It was very, very hard work. My family rarely saw me during the first year. But suddenly we had this incredible lifestyle. I had these little bits of plastic in my pocket, which were credit cards. I was so scared to use them. But once I got the hang of it, I did pretty well. And we moved into this big house; never do anything by halves."

After so many years of struggle, it gave Brosnan a deep sense of fulfillment to properly provide for Harris and the kids. "It just felt so right. And it made being an actor even more enjoyable and more immediate. In the sense that you had to work. Because you had to provide. And providing was a wonderful feeling. It was a great responsibility, and one that did provide a great sense of achievement and happiness. And that's all one wants, really."

During his "Remington Steele" years, the show made a brief visit to Ireland, and Brosnan had an unexpected visitor: Tom Brosnan, the father he had never known. "Our trip to Ireland generated a lot of press, and I suspected my father might surface. And he did. One Sunday afternoon he came to the hotel. He came up from Kerry, with many first cousins I never knew. There came a knock on the door and you knew that when you open the door, the man you're going to see is your father. I opened the door and there was Tom. I expected to see a very tall man. He was a man of medium stature, pushed-back silver hair, flinty eyes and a twizzled jaw. He had a very strong Kerry accent. And Tom and I sat and had afternoon tea, with all those cousins in the room.

"We were strangers when we met. And I regret that we met under such circumstances. I wish I had met him in a pub or somewhere on his own terms. I would have loved to have sat with him alone and just talked. There are parts of my character, I just don't know where they come from. They say he was a snappy dresser and a great whistler."

Did he feel like family?


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