Busy Pierce Brosnan is Having a Blast
NEW YORK - After 31 years in front of the camera, Pierce Brosnan feels like a whippersnapper.
"I'm at the point now where it's really just great fun," Brosnan says. "It's like I'm in repertory theater. All these films are, hopefully, completely different. It's like going back to the beginning of a career."
The Irish actor, 56, has four disparate films out within weeks of each other. In the artsy thriller "The Ghost Writer," out in New York and Los Angeles on Feb. 19, Brosnan is a slippery former British prime minister who hires Ewan McGregor to write his memoirs.
The film is directed by Roman Polanski, who is under house arrest in Switzerland and is fighting extradition to the United States to face sentencing for having unlawful sex with a minor in 1977. After being arrested in September in Switzerland, where he was to attend a film festival, he edited "The Ghost Writer" while behind bars.
"There will be people who say he deserves everything he gets," Brosnan says. "I think forgiveness, compassion, some dignity - he hasn't murdered anyone. What he did was terribly wrong in a time that was terribly wrong in many ways. There's forgiveness on her side. You just hope there's closure for his family and her family. He's a brilliant fellow and a very fractured man in many ways."
Fractured aptly describes Brosnan's character, the fictional politico Adam Lang, who is accused of war crimes and being a patsy of the USA.
Lang, Brosnan says, is "quite a tragic character. He's an idiot. He must have known at some point that he was a hollow man, a useless fellow, really."
For Brosnan, the reason for doing the film was simple: Polanski. Brosnan met Polanski in Paris over lunch during "Mamma Mia!'''s European promotional tour two years ago.
"We talked about this and that, lives, life lost, movies," Brosnan says. "We didn't talk about the motivation of my character or any of the politics."
Domestic issues dominate the March 12 drama "Remember Me," in which he plays Robert Pattinson's father. "I'd never really played American before, so that was a challenge," Brosnan says. He's a father grieving the death of his son in "The Greatest," which he also produced, out April 2.
All his roles are different, by design, says Brosnan's producing partner, Beau St. Clair. "Pierce is constantly up for the adventure of the new thing," she says. "He doesn't phone it in. He's very focused on character, on doing something different and unusual and challenging. He keeps a very positive and fresh approach to the work."
That meant putting on tights and sporting serious facial hair as a centaur in "Percy Jackson&the Olympians: The Lighting Thief," based on the best-selling kids' book series. "I'm sitting on a chair on set going, 'Wow, I'm the oldest one here,' " Brosnan says, chuckling. "How did I get to this place and time?"
He has sons, Dylan, 13, and Paris, 8, to thank (Brosnan also has a son, Sean, 29, from his first marriage, to Australian actress Cassandra Harris, who died of cancer in 1991). "When my boys heard that my agent sent me Percy Jackson, I sat down with them that night. We talked about it, and they said I had to do it," he says.
What did they think of the movie? "My 8-year-old said, 'Dad, this is the best film you've ever made.' "
His wife, Keely Shaye Smith, 46, also gave his rather hirsute look the thumbs up. "She just loved it, actually. She's a clever woman and keeps her own counsel. Months later I'll find out," Brosnan says.
Smith stayed in Los Angeles to deal with the family's other endeavor: their new, eco-friendly house.
"She's a remarkable woman and has been an environmentalist since the day she was born," Brosnan says.