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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 6)

"It came with a certain grace. Actually, life was sweet. Life had an incredible peace to it. Because you cherished every moment. The ordeal of going into the doctor's for the examination. To see if the white [blood cell] counts are up, or to see if there's anything there. And then the joy of it being all right, and coming back out and going down to the beach. Those moments were just intoxicating."

Their struggle against the cancer lasted four years. "Cassie was very positive about life. I mean, she had the most amazing energy and outlook on life. She could read people extremely well. She had, above all, the greatest sense of humor. She had this wonderful laugh, which her children have inherited. Both Christopher and Charlotte, and Sean, have this contagious way about them, of making people feel good. Which is such a gift."

Harris died in 1991. "It was and is a terrible loss," says Brosnan. "And I see it reflected, from time to time, in my children. How do you carry on afterwards? Slowly. Very, very, very slowly. It hurts. And you have to sit and endure it. There's nothing else to do; it won't go away."

Brosnan's world would never be the same. The loss of his wife, he said, brought him to his knees. But now he had to be both father and mother; for their three children, he was now the sole source of emotional sustenance and stability. To get himself through, to give his children the reassurance that life would regain some form of balance, Brosnan somehow found the fortitude to keep on working. He made a string of movies, two of which he is particularly proud: Bruce Beresford's Mister Johnson, the 1990 film in which Brosnan plays a British colonial administrator in West Africa, and the 1993 smash comedy Mrs. Doubtfire, with Robin Williams and Sally Field.He played the role of Field's handsome, pompous suitor, to the great irritation of Williams' character. "Mrs. Doubtfire was a wonderful, beautiful ray of sunshine in my career. For the first time I was in a studio picture and I was working with wonderful actors who were all working at the top of their game. It allowed me to do comedy and play a character who was viewed as a jerk."

Then Bond reappeared, and this time it was meant to be. Goldeneye turned out to be a huge success, and Brosnan is glad now that he did not take on the role back in 1986. "Bond is a man who is in his 40s. Bond is a man with a past. He's seasoned, a man who has loved and lost. And he's somewhat of a solitary figure. Playing Bond at this time in my life is much better than I could have played it in my 30s."

Brosnan won't talk about Roger Moore or Timothy Dalton. But there is no way to sidestep Sean Connery's Bond. "I cannot replicate or be what Connery was. He's the only one in my books. And when I did Goldeneye, he was the one that I wanted to be able to stand up there beside. There was no sense of intimidation; even then I felt a strong sense of who I was. I just wanted to make the man human. And I wanted to find my own reality within it."

Brosnan has never met Connery. "He hasn't sought me out. We shall meet. At the right time. People ask me, constantly, 'Did you ask for advice?' Nonsense. Why would I go to him for advice? I was seeking advice, but you have to find your own path with such a character. Someday I would dearly love to sit with the guy and drink good malt whiskey and smoke cigars somewhere quiet and hear what he has to say. Because he's certainly someone I admire greatly, the way he has conducted himself in the business."

Tomorrow Never Dies is the story of a global media baron run amok. The villain mogul, played by Jonathan Pryce, runs a worldwide newspaper called Tomorrow, and he operates a global satellite TV network with the capacity to beam into every TV set in the world. Inspired by how CNN capitalized on the Gulf War to build its global audience, the mogul decides he's going to provoke a little war of his own, by stirring up trouble with China.

Roger Spottiswoode, best known for the brilliant Under Fire and other films, went into this project with one clear objective: to bring the James Bond films firmly into the 1990s. "Since Connery, too many of the Bonds edged toward self-parody and the ludicrous," Spottiswoode says. Now the aim is to keep what everyone loves about Bond-- the characters "Q" and "M," the signature music, the high-tech gadgetry and a terrific villain--and use them to create an action thriller with contemporary texture, pace and realism.

"This film will be darker, tougher than many past Bonds," the director says about Tomorrow Never Dies, which opens in England on Dec. 12 and in U.S. theaters on Dec. 19. He's using moodier lighting and more realistic sets. The media baron is also cut close to reality; hello Ted, hello Rupert. To foment trouble with China, the baron uses a stealth ship cruising in Chinese waters and this, too, is a touch of high-tech realism. Spottiswoode claims the U.S. Navy already has one in the water. China also makes a believable foe for Bond and the West; no other country looms as such a likely or formidable adversary.

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