Apr 11 2010
HE has been 007, starred in smash hit Mamma Mia! and is about to be seen opposite Ewan McGregor in Roman Polanski' s new film.
But Pierce Brosnan is quick to play down any mention of his star status.
"I'm NOT a Hollywood star," he says emphatically.
"Someday maybe, it's a work in progress.
"I play leads and I have had some success here and there.
"But I want to work, so how do you deal with wanting to work and not letting the ego of self get in the way of that? "You can trip yourself up by saying that you don't want to play something because it's a supporting role and you could end up with a whole lot of nothing."
But should the Irishman ever need to be brought down to earth he won't have to look far for a voice of reason - his nine-year-old son Paris. Brosnan's portrayal of a centaur - or, as he calls it, a horse's ass - in family fantasy Percy Jackson And The Lightning Thief left a far bigger impression on the youngster than any of his more acclaimed roles.
"He saw Percy Jackson and said, 'Dad, that is the best film you have ever made!'," says the smiling Brosnan, 56, when we meet at London's Mandarin Oriental Hotel.
"But then he hasn't seen everything I've done. He hasn't seen The Matador."
He jokes about it, but it's clear that family man Brosnan is delighted with his young son's reaction to the movie. He adds: "I did Percy Jackson for my boys, Paris and Dylan, who's 13. I read the little guy the books.
"The other boy is a ferocious reader and has read all the books. But it was still a great challenge to get up there and play a centaur."Challenges are what it's all about for Brosnan since his final outing eight years ago as James Bond in Die Another Day.
The Irish actor has proved his versatility with performances that ranged from the grizzled, hunted Civil War veteran in Seraphim Falls to the seedy, burned-out hit man in The Matador.
And this year he's busier than ever. Apart from entering Greek myths in Percy Jackson and playing the father of Twilight star Robert Pattinson in Remember Me, Brosnan will be seen as a grieving parent in The Greatest and an ex-PM caught up in a mysterious murder in The Ghost.
The films are an intriguing blend of leading and supporting roles and Brosnan is very happy to be in a situation where he can mix things up like that.
"I'm looking down the road and where I'm going to go," he says.
"I'm an actor first and foremost. This is what I do."
One of Brosnan's greatest leaps of faith was undoubtedly when he joined Meryl Streep, Julie Walters, Colin Firth and Stellan Skarsgard in the movie version of the Abba musical, Mamma Mia! "It was a joke. It was funny. They did not employ me for my singing," he says.
"But I tried to give good acting and good singing all at the same time.
"There are some people who thought that I sounded like Bruce Springsteen... but a lot of people thought I sounded more like Bruce Forsyth!"So was I intimidated? Yes, absolutely! I was intimidated by SOS, which is a warhorse of a song. But I just came to it as an acting role.
"It was just Pierce having a good time, playing a dad, falling in love with this woman again and wanting her back. And trying to woo her back with a song."
He admits it was a daunting experience when he teamed up with Firth and Skarsgard to record their songs at the Air Studios in London.
"When the three of us were there on that wintry morning, I took great refuge in the fact that we were all caught in the lights. We were all terrified," he admits.
The new era of James Bond took off with Daniel Craig in Casino Royale but Brosnan reveals that he might have teamed up with Quentin Tarantino for the film."Quentin and I met and sank about 12 apple martinis - I could hardly move off my chair. We left the table that night having a good old rant and a rave that I was the only one to do Casino Royale. But there you go, it wasn't meant to be. The best man won."
His latest film, The Ghost, is based on the best-selling novel by Robert Harris. Brosnan is controversial former Prime Minister Adam Lang, who needs a new ghost writer for his memoirs after the original writer has died under suspicious circumstances.
Ewan McGregor stars as the ghost writer who reluctantly takes on the assignment but when he starts work he soon discovers that he's opening a real can of worms.
Brosnan was a fan of the novel and excited by the film because it was being directed by Oscar-winner Polanski.
It has been suggested the novel was a thinly veiled attack on Tony Blair and Brosnan was keen to discover if that was how Polanski wanted him to appear.
"On my first meeting with Roman I asked if I was doing Tony Blair, and he said... no. no, you're not doing Tony Blair," he explained."So that was liberating because Michael Sheen had done it so impeccably.
"I don't know why Roman thought of me for the part. I never saw myself as a British prime minister, ex or otherwise.It has been suggested that Blair was happy the prime minister in The Ghost was being portrayed by Brosnan.
"I heard that. I wonder how happy he will be when he sees the film?
" said Brosnan.
"I am proud of the film. I think it packs a good old punch."
Since The Ghost was completed, Polanski has been under house arrest while it's decided whether he will be extradited from Switzerland to LA to face sentence for his 32 year-old sex case.
He was convicted of raping a 13-year-old girl and in 1978 fled to Europe to escape jail.
Brosnan admits he was shocked when he heard what had happened to the 76-year-old Polish film-maker.
He said: "Why now? Why did they come for him at this point? I don't k now.
"But I wish for closure for all the families involved in this case," he says.