Speaking about his new action-thriller "The November Man" in Beverly Hills, Pierce Brosnan is rested and breezily elegant in a blue chambray shirt, more than eager to talk about the challenges of playing a very different kind of spy. Brosnan's not only the star, he's also the executive producer of the film — and he was determined to make sure his work as rogue ex-CIA man Peter Deveraux was grittier, grimmer and very different from his past outings in the cloak-and-dagger field.
You've been doing comedies lately, including "Love Punch" and "A Long Way Down" -- so what brought you back to action?
It just seemed like fertile ground — if not now, when? I had my days as James Bond, and they were glorious and wonderful and productive; we brought ([Bond] back after six dormant years ... so it was invigorating to be a part of it. Then when the curtain fell — surprisingly and unexpectedly, while I was looking the other way — it was just over. And I had a certain void, a vacuum. So when we set sail in developing "The November Man," it just seemed to hit now with the geopolitical happenings going on.
We talk about your earlier work in the espionage genre, but I don't recall Mr. Bond, like Deveraux does in this film, mortally wounding an innocent girl so he can delay his enemies and better make his getaway. Was that scene important, to establish Deveraux as that dangerous, that driven?
Well, it's a shocking act, on paper and on-screen. It's one that, really, you roll the dice on and you hope that you don't disconnect with your audience. But I think that the story, by that stage, you already know that anything can happen — and it does in the most graphic way. I love that scene. I think it's something that defines the character, that keeps the audience off-center.
In an age of computer-generated marvels, is it nice to take part in an action film that's about real car chases, real explosions, real effects?
Well, it worked for us ... It worked for this film. We had so much money, we had so many days — so we knew we weren't going to have this monolithic graphic overture of CGI or anything like that. It's a handmade, hand-wrought film, and everything's in camera. And that was the pleasure of it — to be in the streets, to shoot from the hip, to make a movie that was tangible and real and to be blowing stuff up in the streets. It was magnificent. [Laughs] It was great.
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