Interviewing Pierce Brosnan is like talking with an old friend. He speaks with sincerity and takes a genuine interest in others and what’s going on around him. During the course of our chat, for instance, it comes out that his wife, Keely Shaye Brosnan, and I grew up just a few miles apart from one another. “It is a small world!” he exclaims delightedly. It’s almost hard to imagine that this humble man is part of a very elite group of actors who have portrayed one of cinema’s most iconic and most debonair roles—James Bond. But Bond is only part of Brosnan’s artistic legacy. His acting resume boasts a roster of varied and diverse characters. He’s also used his talents to draw attention to important social and political issues, such as the documentary he made with Keely, Poisoning Paradise, about chemical companies setting up test sites in Hawaii. In recent years, his passion for art, his first love, has come to the forefront. In 2018, his painting of Bob Dylan sold for $1.4 million at a charity auction.
With so many accomplishments to be proud of, it would be easy for Brosnan to rest on his laurels. Instead, he continues to challenge himself. The little boy who was raised in part by his grandparents in Ireland, then moved to London at age 11 to join his mother and stepfather and find his way in the changing world of the 1960s and ’70s, is never too far away. Brosnan is keenly aware of his origins and continues to give back. (As an example, he remains a patron of Ovalhouse, the theatre company that helped him discover his passion for acting.) Perhaps most tellingly, he remains grateful and humble about a career that has allowed him to support his family and that he still enjoys.
By Elisa Jordan
Portraits by Brett Erickson