Sunday, 1 June 2014

20 YEARS OF 007 BROSNAN – Prologue: To Get So Close And Be Denied

“If he can act, he’s my guy,” said producer Albert “Cubby” Broccoli on the set of 1981’s FOR YOUR EYES ONLY, thinking of a replacement for Roger Moore who was considering his retirement of the role of 007.

Broccoli was talking about none other than the 28-year-old man who was visiting the film set in Corfu, Greece, where his wife Cassandra Harris was playing a love interest of Moore’s Bond, Countess Lisl Von Schalf.

By the time, Pierce Brendan Brosnan was an Irish actor who moved to London during his early teens, where he was captivated by films like LAWRENCE OF ARABIA and, particularly, by Sean Connery’s portrayal of James Bond in GOLDFINGER.

He wasn’t known worldwide yet, having just two non-speaking parts in THE MIRROR CRACK’D and the role of an IRA hitman in THE LONG GOOD FRIDAY. Soon, he would get some fame with the miniseries THE MANIONS OF AMERICA, but his fame baptism would come playing the title role in the 1982 MTM series REMINGTON STEELE, opposite Stephanie Zimbalist. Brosnan was supposed to play a secondary role in comparison to Zimbalist who portrayed female detective Laura Holt, but his onscreen charisma playing a mysterious man with fancy tastes in action, women and dinner jackets gave a lot of popularity to the show, with magazines even calling him “The new Cary Grant”.

The TV series’ success soared and by 1985, when Roger Moore retired after being the longest-running James Bond actor with 7 films, Brosnan’s name came back to Cubby’s mind. In July 1986, the REMINGTON STEELE rating was poor and the TV series were cancelled with a 60 day option to reconsider the renewal of the show. The search for a new Bond, the series cancelation and the fact that the Remington Steele character proved Brosnan could fit the James Bond style very well heated up the hype of his choice as the fourth James Bond for the 1987 adventure, THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS, directed by John Glen.

Pierce was then called to do the Bond screentests. He passed with flying colours and was ready to sign for the part. But, in the nick of time, NBC decided to reair REMINGTON STEELE, whose contract forced Brosnan to decline the 007 role and return to the small screen.

“James Bond is finished for me. Over. I am never going to get it now,” said Pierce to his wife Cassandra, who always had the desire to see him playing the part of Ian Fleming’s character created in Jamaica in 1953, paradoxically, the same year Brosnan was born.

On August 6, 1986, Welsh actor Timothy Dalton, an early contender to replace Sean Connery in ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE, was cast as the new James Bond. “I know Tim, he’s a nice guy and I wished him well”, reflected Pierce, but he was really uncomfortable with the situation: “I came to terms with the fact that not getting Bond was never going to leave me. However spectacular my career might be, I’d still be known for that.”

Luck clearily wasn’t on Brosnan’s side. But he never knew that eight years later, fate would determinate another thing.

Part 2 of our 20 years of 007 Brosnan special will be uploaded next Sunday. Interact with us on Twitter and Facebook with the #20yearsof007Brosnan hashtag

Images courtesy of 007 Magazine, "Inside The Living Daylights" DVD documentary. Pierce Brosnan's quotes taken from "The Making of GoldenEye", by Garth Pearce (Boxtree, 1995)

No comments:

Post a Comment