Bond Series: Pierce Brosnan is the Fifth 007

“The name is Bond, James Bond.” These were the magical words that Sean Connery first uttered in his sexy voice in 1962, when Dr. No introduced the legendary Agent 007 to the world, launching the longest, most successful film series in history.

And now, 33 years and 16 Bond movies later, a new actor, Pierce Brosnan, the fifth James Bond, carries the torch–with understandable mixture of anxiety and excitement.

Ian Fleming’s sensational pop creation, James Bond, wants to be back with gusto and energy in order to entertain a new generation of moviegoers.

In l986, this handsome young Irish actor had caught the imagination of Bond fans and almost captured the part. But the winner was British actor Timothy Dalton, who went on to make only two Bond pictures, The Living Daylights and License to Kill.

Eight years later, Brosnan again topped public opinion polls in the search for a new 007. Perhaps more importantly, he was the unanimous choice of the filmmakers. In June l994, producer Albert R. “Cubby” Broccoli announced that film and TV favorite Pierce Brosnan would be the next James Bond.

“It was something that came in and went out of my life in l986,” Brosnan recalls, “And though I certainly didn’t just wait in the wings for it to come back, it did come back.” With a big smile on his face that will soon become his trademark, the modestly charming actor says, “When something happens in your life a second time, it carries a certain significance.”

Brosnan is fully aware of the “historical baggage” of the role and the big responsibility he’s carrying. “It’s not a job that you take lightly,” he says, “there’s an audience out there, 33 years standing.” Brosnan says he’s been a “loyal member” of that audience for many years himself, having seen the third Bond picture, Goldfinger as a child, in l964. “I was a 10 year-old lad from the bogs of Ireland and there was this beautiful god lady on a bed–naked. It made quite an impression on me, and now, here I am in Goldeneye.”

“If you look back at all the various actors who have played Bond,” says director Martin Campbell, “they’ve all brought entirely different characteristics to the part.” To Campbell’s mind, “Pierce has all the right qualities. He’s not only a very fine actor, but is wonderful with humor and fantastic at action. He is a terrific looking guy, with a real classiness to him.”

Producer Michael Wilson concurs: “Pierce was absolutely the right choice. He has the looks, the charm, and the sophistication that the part requires. But Bond also has to be a veteran–an experienced secret agent–and Pierce play that perfectly.

Brosnan is by no means an unknown quantity. After training on the London stage, Brosnan soared to prominence on television and went on to earn widespread praise for his feature films. Recently, he proved a perfect foil for Robin Williams as Sally Fields’ suitor in the hit comedy, Mrs. Doubtfire. He then co-starred with Warren Beatty and Annette Bening in the romantic drama, Love Affair.

But what really catapulted Brosnan to stardom was the title role in the hit TV series Remington Steele. The mid-l980s series gained a loyal following for its perfect blend of crime-solving adventures with light romantic comedy. Brosnan delighted millions with his consummate portrayal of the pseudo-detective. He earned a Golden Globe nomination for the 13-part BBC series, Nancy Astor, and also starred in such top-rated mini-series as Around the World in Eight Days, Noble House, and The Manions of America.

As Fleming’s inimitable Agent 007, Brosnan brings his combination of action, style and wit to the big screen. The script for Goldeneye gave Brosnan an added incentive to tackle the role. “The dialogue is very tight, very sharp, and very funny. And it has intrigue, betrayal, and great action sequences–in short, all the ingredients that make a Bond movie tick.”

Brosnan says he likes the changes made in the story: “Goldeneye is firmly set in the present day, with changing political patterns turning old enemies into new best friends–and old allies into deadly enemies.” These changes were inevitable due to the new political development all over the world, but especially in Eastern Europe.

Indeed, in the six years since the last Bond adventure the world has undergone quite a bit of upheaval. Times have changed. The Iron Curtain has fallen, giving way to a new world order. The old power games–and political players–have been replaced with new ones–but the warrior remains the same. His name is Bond, James Bond. However, producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli felt that Bond had already endured through the tumultuous 60s, 70s and 80s. “James Bond has always been a contemporary character who lives for the present,” Wilson says, “He will always be dealing with the here and now.”

Though the 16 previous Bond films had pretty much run the gamut of titles from Ian Fleming’s novels and short stories, the filmmakers still wanted to pay homage to the man who created the legendary secret agent. The title Goldeneye is taken from the name of Fleming’s home in Jamaica, where he first began writing the James Bond saga in 1952.

The Bond films have several time-honored traditions. Three of the most beloved ones are Agent 007’s colleagues: M, Q, and Miss Moneypenny. In a break with tradition, however, Bond’s boss, known only as M, is being played for the first time by a woman, esteemed British actress Dame Judi Dench. As M, she utters a line to 007 that is destined to become a Bond classic, “I think you are a sexist, misogynist dinosaur.”

“She just nails him,” Brosnan says laughing. “It adds a distinctly different slant to Bond’s relationship with M. As an actor, working with Judi Dench was certainly one of the highlights of the movie for me. She’s a magnificent actress, a great lady and a wonderful person.”

No James Bond adventure would be complete without its beautiful leading ladies. The most memorable moments in the Bond series have always been provided by the incomparable “Bond girls” and the diabolical villains that Agent 007 has to face.

Goldeneye introduces worthy additions to both categories. Says Brosnan: “I think the women in this film are far stronger than they have been in the past, and certainly not as dependent on James Bond.” The movie features two very talented, very beautiful actresses, Izabella Scorupco and Famke Janses. Both play women who’re quite capable of looking after themselves. Together, they present a new challenge to James Bond–and Pierce Brosnan.