Pierce Brosnan


  1. Ciaran Hinds, Excalibur, 1980.      Seen but not hired. The reason he wanted the film, as he said, 20 years later about making John le Carré’sThe Tailor of Panama with him,“was John Boorman, John Boorman, John Boorman.” His role, said critic  Roger Ebert, wasa nasty real-world James Bond. “No gadgets and no scruples.”
  2. Kevin Kline, Chaplin, 1981.  Peter Sellers’ dream role for decades… UK director Richard Attenborough had eleven possible Charlie Chaplins (from Jeff Bridges to Nicolas Cage!!!) –  but just two for his fellow silent movie icon, Douglas Fairbanks Sr. Kline  has first been considered for Charlie, bu the Klines were pregnant. After a month’s paternal leave, he took on Senior Doug.  In 1998, Attenborough chose Brosnan as the Native American imposter, Grey Owl. (Never released in the US).
  3. Michael Nouri, Flashdance, 1982.      Potential Nick Hurleys were: Brosnan, Kevin Costner (runner-up to Nouri), Live Aid creator Bob Geldof, Richard Gere, Mel Gibson, Tom Hanks, Burt Reynolds, rocker Gene Simmons, John Travolta… plus such surprises as Robert De Niro, Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci! At 36, Nouri was double the age of the flashdancing Jennifer Beals.
  4. Mel Gibson, Lethal Weapon, 1986.      In all, 39 possibilities for the off-kilter, ’Nam vet cop Martin Riggs – not as mentally-deranged as in early drafts (he used a rocket launcher on one guy!) Some ideas were inevitable: Alec Baldwin, Michael Biehn (shooting Aliens), Jeff Bridges, Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Al Pacino, Sean Penn, William Petersen, Dennis Quaid, Christopher Reeve, Kurt Russell, Charlie Sheen, Sylvester Stallone, John Travolta, Bruce Willis. Some were inspired:  Bryan Brown, Nicolas Cage, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum (he inherited Gibson’s role in The Fly), William Hurt (too dark for Warner Bros), Michael Keaton, Michael Madsen, Liam Neeson, Eric Roberts. Some were insipid: Jim Belushi, Pierce Brosnan, Kevin Costner, Kevin Kline, Stephen Lang, Michael Nouri (he joined another cop duo in The Hidden), Patrick Swayze. Plus TV cops  Don Johnson, Tom Selleck… three foreign LA cops: Austrian Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dutch Rutger Hauer and French Christophe(r) Lambert. And the inevitable (Aussie) outsider Richard Norton.
  5. David Soul, Appointment With Death, 1987.  Or: Save The Cannon Group!  The Go Go Boys  – Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus – were facing bankruptcy…They had, somehow, won the rights to the Agatha Christie book and hoped for  an instant co-production deal with (Lord) John Brabourne and Richard Goodwin, producers of the EMI Christies: Murder on the Orient Express,Death on the Nile, Murder Under the Sun andThe Mirror Crack’d. Never happened! Director Michael Winner (who kept quiet about cheaper shooting in Israel) managed to win an EMI-ish cast: Lauren Bacall, Carrie Fisher, John Gielgud (”a rather absurd part,” he said),  Piper Laurie, Hayley Mills, Winner’s current  lover Jenny Seagrove, TV’s Starsky and Hutch cop, David Soul and (the highest paid, $450,000) Peter Ustinov in his third and final  outing as Hercule Poirot.  But Winner  lost not only Brozzers but Ava Gardner, Michel York  and an ill Laurence Olivier.  “Another loser from Winner,” said Film Review. The SOS failed.  Cannon was bankrupt by 1990. 
  6. Timothy Dalton, The Living Daylights,  1987.
  7. Michael Keaton, Batman, 1988.
  8. Richard Gere, Internal Affairs, 1989.      ‘Tis the season of cops.  Three  a row turned up…. UK director Mike Figgis said Paramount wanted Mel Gibson or Kurt Russell (big hits in ’88’s Tequila Sunrise) as the badass cop-cum-hit man. “If we’d hired a movie star to play Peck,” noted producer Frank Mancuso Jr, “we might not have been able to so successfully explore the darkness of the character.” Some 19 other stars- Brosnan, Alec Baldwin, Tom Berenger, Jeff Bridges, Kevin Costner, Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, Ed Harris, William Hurt, Don Johnson, Tommy Lee Jones, Michael Keaton, Nick Nolte, Al Pacino, Christopher Reeve, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, John Travolta and four outsiders Richard Dean Anderson, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Ron Silver – all passed Peck to Gere for a double whammy comeback with Pretty Woman. “I’ve never been away,” snapped Gere. Oh, but he had. Almost to Palookaville.
  9. Kurt Russell, Tango and Cash, 1989.     Next…  Sylvester Stallone was Raymond Tango – without question. But who would he accept as his equally frame cop pardner, Gabriel Cash? After Patrick Swayze ran (to solo billing in Road House), the list was long… Brosnan, Michael Biehn, Kevin Costner, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Mel Gibson, Don Johnson, Michael Keaton, Ray Liotta, Liam Neeson, Michael Nouri, Gary Oldman, Robert Patrick, Bill Paxton, Ron Perlman, Dennis Quaid, Gary Sinises…Plus two  later Sly co-stars: Bruce Willis and James Woods. They lost out on the debatable pleasure of four directors! From the Russian Andrei Konchalovsky to, secretly, Stallone..!
  10. Patrick Swayze, Next of Kin, 1989.     Finally…. country bumpkins v the Mafia. Again. For the hero of his respun Raw Deal, 1985, UK director John Irvin went from The Obvious Aces: Kevin Costner, Tom Cruise, Clint Eastwood, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Mel Gibson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis… to the Tango and Cash possibles: Michael Biehn, Jeff Bridges, Pierce Brosnan, Kurt Rusell… plusThe Also-Rans: Tommy Lee Jones, Kris Kristofferson, Dennis Quaid. And even French Christopher Lambert, Swedish Dolph Lundgren and Belgian Jean Claude Van Damme… for a Chicago cop!

  11. Harvey Keitel, Thelma & Louise, 1990.
  12. Kevin Kline, Chaplin, 1992.      The role suited  him well: Douglas  Fairbanks Sr.  But Pierce was nursing his wife, Cassandra Harris, dying of cancer.  UK director Richard Attenborough had eleven possible Charlie Chaplins (from Jeff Bridges to Nicolas Cage!!!) –  but just two forhis fellow silent movie icon, Douglas Fairbanks Sr. Kline  has first been considered for Charlie, bu the Klines were pregnant. After a month’s paternal leave, he took on Senior Doug.  In 1998, Attenborough chose Brosnan as the Native American imposter, Grey Owl. (Never released in the US).
  13. Don Johnson, Tin Cup, 1995.    Commander Bond was first offered the titular burnt out golfing wreck. Costner played him well, said Chicago critic Roger Ebert: unshaven, creased, weather-beaten, in need of a bath. “That’s more or less how he looked in Waterworld, too, but this time there’s charm.”
  14. Tim Allen, The Santa Clause, 1994.   The guy who accidentally kills Santa (it wasshootinghim, but Disney wasn’t having that) and take over his duties was penned for for Bill Murray. “Not my kind of humour,” he retorted.  Next in line:Allen, Rowan Atkinson, Jim Carrey, Richard Gere, Steve Guttenberg, Tom Hanks, Robin Williams.  Plus eight Batman candidates:  Brosnan, Alec Baldwin, Jeff Bridges, Michael J Fox, Mel Gibson, Kurt Russell, Patrick Swayze and the winning Michael  Keaton.
  15. Patrick Bergin, Lawnmower Man: Beyond Cyberspace (aka Jobe’s War), 1995.  Because held finally gained of 007, Brosnan fled the sequel to his surprise hit which had nothing to do with the Steophen King book it was supposedly based on. (Same goes for the original and this sequel).  Producer Ed Simon was annoyed but, understanding. Well, almost… “Pierce has always wanted to play Bond and the last thing I want is to engage an actor in a film he doesn’t want to be in.” How kind. Then he  cracked his nuts bv suggesting special effects made The Lawnmower Man a hit, not Brosnan.  Oh really!   So how come #2 flopped with him subbed by another Irishman? Probably something to do with, as the Austin Chronicle critic Joey O’Bryan put it, “an overwhelming lack of respect for the moviegoing audience”
  16. Paul McGann, Doctor Who (The Movie), TV, 1996.
  17. Val Kilmer, The Saint, 1996.      Roger Moore was producing in the 80s, but Brosnan passed. Not the right role for a “short-assed, fat-faced Irishman.” In the later frame were the awful Kilmer, George Clooney, Kevin Costner, Daniel Day-Lewis, Johnny Depp, Ralph Fiennes, Mel Gibson, Hugh Grant, even Arnold Schwarzenegger.   Plus a certain James Healey, the Irish-born Aussie who actually rejected Mad Max for its sparse dialogue (!) in 1978, leaving the superstar route clear for Gibson.  Later, Kilmer admitted to Moore: “We really screwed that up, didn’t we?”
  18. Billy Zane,Titanic, 1997.
  19. Robert Carlyle, Angela’s Ashes, 1998.      It was an Irish book  by an Irish writer and his Irish childhood and naturally, a proud  Irishman like Brosnan wanted to play father Malachy.   He phone author  Frank McCourt  “to throw my hat in the ring, and he said: Nope. Too handsome. Too handsome!”  Worse still, Carlyle is Scottish! That’s the movies.  “You’re either too short, you’re too tall…  too this, you’re too that,” said Brosnan. 
  20. Gerard Butler, Timeline, 2002.     Another Irishman. And the first 21st Century, Dracula inherited Michael Chrichton’s time traveller. Brosnan and Butler made Butterfly On A Wheel together in 2007.

  21. Edward Burns, Confidence, 2002.    No, Mr Bond, I expect you to join Mr (Dustin) Hoffman. He could not; besides, Mr Burns was much younger.
  22. Edward Burns, A Sound of Thunder, 2004.      Brosnan quit a second time-travel number when his director, Renny Harlin was dropped for upsetting – ie. rewriting – Ray Bradbury. For his scientist leading millionaire hunters on safaris to kill dinosaurs, new helmer Peter Hyams chose actor-director Burns… about as bad as the “special” effects. The production company went belly-up and Hyams’ ham-fisted result was not seen until 2005.
  23. Clive Owen, The Pink Panther, 2004.      The ha! ha! guest role of ha! ha! 006   inthe ha! ha! re-make was naturally written, ha! ha!, for 007. However, his Eon contract banned him from appearing as a spy in a tuxedo for at least five years after leaving the Bond  franchise. Owen was the #1 rumour to replace Brosnan in Casino Royale, 2006 – firmly deniedby Owen. And Eon.
  24. David Morrissey, Basic Instinct 2, 2005.       Pierce found the shrink role had “distasteful elements” and he had been dark enough, thank you, in Tailor of Panama.   Nothing personal, he added, “everyone wants to see Sharon at her finest.”   “I let myself down,” said Morrissey. “When it came out… I didn’t want to leave the house.It was a very bruising experience… I’d do it again  tomorrow. But I’d do it differently because I’d have different tools in my armoury.”
  25. Daniel Craig, Casino Royale, 2006.  
  26. Michael Douglas, Ant-Man, 2014.     The micro-superhero had been rolling around Hollywood ever since New World’s 1988 plan was tossed because Disney was into Honey, I Shrunk The Kids. Well, now Disney was Marvel and, started prepping in 2006 with the great (Ant Man fan) Edgar Wright writer-directing.  By 2013, the script was done, effects tests shot and Douglas (or his Oscar) chosen over Brosnan, Sean Bean (008 in Goldeneye), Steve Buscemi, Gary Oldman, for Hank Pym, the original  Ant-Man,  mentoring Paul Rudd as his successor. Then, Marvel maven Kevin Feige shook Film City by replacing Wright (for being Edgar Wright!)  in 2014 with obedient Peyton Reed. 
  27. Josh Brolin, Deadpool 2, 2017.   With Ryan Reynolds reigning supreme as the wise-cracking, cancer-ridden, super smart-ass hero, who could oppose him as Cable, the heftily armed cyborg? (“You’re dark – sure you’re not from the DC Universe?” our Marvel hero asks him). Deadpool creator Rob Liefeld wanted Russell Crowe – and even after Brolin signed, pushed for Jon Hamm. Other Mr Impregnable ideas included Alec Baldwin, Pierce Brosnan, David Harbour, Stephen Lang, Ron Perlman, Brad Pitt (he shot his Vanisher cameo in two hours), Michael Shannon and the wrinkly brigade (yawn) Mel Gibson, Dolph Lundgren, Kurt Russell, Arnold Schawarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Willis.Already Marvel’s villain Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War, Brolin had a four-film deal, to reveal more about Cable and, doubtless, extra gags about his stepmother Barbra Streisand’s 1982 Yentl.
  28. Robert De Niro, The Irishman, 2017.   On a another but rather tired  visit to his gangster well, Martin Scorsese had real Irishmen Brosnan and Liam Neeson as first reserves in case (a) De Niro proved unavailable  for their first film in 23 years  or (b) took over Russell Buffalino from the “hey, I’m retired!” Joe Pesci.    (De Niro changed Joe’s mind about that).
  29. Liev Schreiber, Across The River And Into The Trees, 2020. 
    It took almost 50 years to cross the river  and film the Ernest Hemjngway novelHis great pal, John Huston, scripted it in 1976  for another mate, Robert Mitchum, and Maria Schneider. Then, directors as diverse as Robert Altman, Martin Campbell, Joseph Losey and Valerio Zurlini promised us… Pierce Brosnan, Burt Lancaster or Roy Sheider as the veteran soldier suffering from two world wars… Audrey Hepburn, Greta Scacchi, Maria Valverde as his teenage inamorata, Renata (it means reborn)… and Julie Christie or Isabella Rossellini as her mother, the Contessa Contanini.   It took a woman, Spanish director Paula Ortiz, to finally get the job done – with Josh Hutcherson and The Undoing’s Matilda De Angelis. (And, to complete the circle, Danny Huston, John’s son, is Captain O’Neil). Based on his unconsummated infatuation for an 18-year-old, this was the first Hemingway novel to be derided by critics for repeating his usual themes: love, war, youth, age and facing death. Some called  it Death in Venice II.  Tennessee Williams championed it as “the saddest novel in the world about the saddest city… the best and most honest work that Hemingway has done.”

  30. Clint Eastwood, Cry Macho, 2020.   Clint (“a national icon,” says Spielberg) delivered his usual producer-director-star magic.  And wrote one of the musical themes –  Time Lapse. Perfect title for the on-off history of N Richard Nash’s 70s’ script and novel (in that order) about Mike Milo, a damaged rodeo champ rescuing his former boss’estranged young son from Mexico. Yes, similar to A Night in Old Mexico, 2012, with Robert Duvall; and indeed to a more  gentle Japanese film I always felt Clint should have re-tooled, Takeshi Kitano’s   Kikujirô no natsu – with the worst  theme music in movie history.  (Nothing new.  A Fistful   of Dollarsderived  from the1960  Japanese Yojimbo).  Milo was a role made for Clint…. even if it was once aimed at Burt Lancaster, even Pierce Brosnan.   It took Clint and  co-producer Albert S Ruddy (The Godfather, no less!)  several decades  to finally make  it  – when they were both aged 91. Their struggle went thisaway…  1998: Ruddy first offered Milo to Eastwood. “I’m too young,” Not quite, Clint was 58, the novel’s Milo, 38.   He Dirty Harried in  Dead Pool instead but agreed to  direct Macho with, why not, Robert Mitchum. “But it went by the wayside.” 1991: Production actually began with Roy Scheider and… stopped. 2003:  Arnold Schwarzenegger chose  Milo for his comeback after governating California, except the was re-elected until 2011. 2022: “I always thought I’d go back and look at that.,”: said Clint. “It was something I had to grow into.” To tune up the old script, he contacted Nick Schenk, scenarist of his Gran Torino and The Mule (and it shows!).  A happy Ruddy spoke for us all. “Clint  is the essence of the American hero, of all the things we think we all are, or would like to be.”





 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  30