Red Carpet: The Matador

Pierce Brosnan on banishing Bond, Daniel Craig and the Thomas Crown Affair sequel

Cool, hip and low-key – like the film, the UK premiere of The Matador didn’t follow convention.

The film stars Pierce Brosnan as a washed-up, burned-out hitman who is clawing around for a purpose. Some are calling it a true nail in the coffin of the Irishman’s seminal turn as James Bond. So does he feel he’s laid the ghost of the superspy to rest?

“I don’t know, have I? Oh good, there you go, fantastic,” he says, running a hand through his hair. “I wasn’t going into this to break any mould but I certainly was aware of the theatricality of the piece. The symbolism of me strutting across a hotel lobby in speedos, having strutted across many hotel lobbies over the years in tuxedos and suits – that didn’t escape me.”

Brosnan admits to being completely bowled over by the script from writer/director Richard Shepard. “He really did an outstanding job in creating this kaleidoscopic, intimate piece about characters that are lonely and driven. It was like doing a play and that’s one of the joys of Richard’s writing – once the clapper went down you had 12 pages of dialogue to rattle through and play with.”

Despite leaving 007 behind with 2002’s Die Another Day, the 52-year-old Irishman is aware that the questions will keep coming about the franchise and, particularly, its new standard bearer, the now-toothless Daniel Craig.

“There’s going to be mishaps,” he tells TF. “You always get twisted some way or another if you throw yourself into it. I got my face cut open by a stuntman, I hurt my knee, it’s all part of it.”

As for the criticism being levelled at Craig – including a new website that asks for all Bond fans to boycott Casino Royale – Brosnan is philosophical. “I think Daniel is a very fine actor. These are rocky waters but I think he will have the last laugh.”

The sharp suits and witty retorts certainly won’t be confined to the past for Brosnan as he revealed to Total Film that the follow-up to The Thomas Crown Affair – tentatively titled The Topkapi Affair – is ready to go… except for the small detail of the script, currently being penned by Bandits screenwriter Harley Peyton.

“We were supposed to get it on Valentine’s day but we didn’t. He said it’ll be another two weeks so I’m still waiting for the script.”

If you saw a picture of Brosnan from the tail end of last year, chances are he was sporting an impressive set of whiskers. “Ah yes, the facial hair – it was homegrown and what can I say? The wife didn’t like it.”

So was it purely for his own amusement? “No, no. Liam Neeson and myself did a western called Seraphim Falls.” Not a western in the Brokeback Mountain vein? “No, not that kind of western, we don’t go camping together or anything like that. It’s a post civil war movie written by a wonderful first time director called David Von Ancken. It’s an anti-war movie and I managed to stay on the horse, which is always good.” 

With that, Brosnan bids Total Film a good night – and struts his stuff across yet another lobby…