Pierce Brosnan isn’t afraid to poke fun at himself or his age — or his time playing James Bond and Thomas Crowne — in the pursuit of a good laugh. Plus, going for those laughs opposite Emma Thompson doesn’t hurt. Brosnan and Thompson play bickering exes in writer-director Joel Hopkins’ “The Love Punch,” about an ordinary couple who get carried away with a jewel heist as revenge against the callous French banker who tanked their retirement fund.
It’s hard to believe this is the first time you’ve teamed up with Emma Thompson. How was it working with her?
Oh, it was out of the box great. Such a memorable summer it was. We hit the ground running Day One, scene one, like we’d been working together forever. We’d wanted to work with each other for many years. There’s just a real fondness for each other, and from my point of view she’s just such a gifted lady — beautiful, gifted, kind, gracious, affable. If she was here I wouldn’t get a word in edgewise. She is just wildly entertaining.
This film sneaks in some fun nods to your time as James Bond and other previous work.
I certainly got the jokes within the jokes — dressing up in a wetsuit, scaling a rubber mountain, stealing a diamond. Of course. If not now, when? [Laughs] Joel and I had talked often about this kind of humor and this kind of film. So all of the ingredients were just ripe for the doing.
It is odd, though, to see Timothy Spall in a wetsuit.
It’s quite a sight to behold. They gave him the wrong size wetsuit. They had to slit it up the back — you can actually see it in the film if you freeze it. [Laughs] Poor Timothy, he was miserable. And they gave him a three-ply, and it was a summer’s day. It was so hot.
The locations did seem fairly pleasant.
Bliss, utter joy. It started in the South of France at the Carlton Hotel. I woke up, it was a gorgeous morning, I fed the seagulls that came to my little balcony suite that I had at the top of the hotel. I went down and we all met each other and we started the play. They had lovely French lunches where there’s wine — they actually sat us out front on the Croisette. Then we went back to work and continued our day, and that’s how the shoot went. So it was very civilized, very otherworldly romantic. I mean, it’s a retro-type film and a retro-type shoot, really.
How do you get the right tone for a screwball comedy like this?
It has to start with sincerity and honesty and a good story. It has to be founded within the truthfulness of character and storytelling so that you can then go off the rails but always come back to it. And in this case, this man is middle-aged, divorced, playing the field with women that are too young for him — that man-boy type mentality. There was a good, strong foundation in that. So for me it was always that, and then … wetsuits. [Laughs]
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