Tri another day

Pierce Brosnan leaves 007 way behind as a “trisexual” hit man in the saucy new comedy The Matador

BY Lawrence Ferber

December 05 2005 1:00 AM ET

iconic words
“Bond, James Bond” over the course of four
films (and a couple of video games) including
1995’s GoldenEye and 1999’s
Tomorrow Never Dies. But it’s only now
after Brosnan officially vacated Bond’s shoes
that he feels like he’s beginning to reach a
peak—while uttering some very different words indeed.
Such as? “The margaritas always taste better in
Mexico—margaritas and cock.”

In
writer-director Richard Shepard’s The Matador,
Brosnan plays Julian Noble, a debauched
“trisexual” (because he’ll try sleeping
with anything, says Shepard) hit man teetering on the
edge of burnout. While in Mexico City to fulfill a
contract, he meets—and seems to make a pass
at—a flustered businessman (Greg Kinnear). Mayhem,
friendship, and a bevy of opportunities ensue for
Brosnan to pervert his suave Bond–Remington
Steele–Thomas Crown image—via racy dialogue
like the above and ego-free behavior like painting his
toenails.

“Pierce
was particularly good at painting his nails,” Shepard
says with a gleeful nod. “And we ended up
having to reshoot the scene, so we got to watch him
paint his nails two days in a row.”

Actually, The
Matador
represents a sort of return for Brosnan. His
first feature film gig, in the 1980 gangster classic The
Long Good Friday,
entailed playing a sexy
Speedo-clad IRA hit man who seduces (and stabs to
death) a gay target at the baths. “I was trained in a
style of performance to be audacious, brave, and not
to be afraid of anything,” Brosnan says.
“If you can get away with being tall, elegant, suave,
and sophisticated, and they pay you, why the fuck go
against the grain? But you reach a certain point in
your career and think there’s got to be more to
it than just dressing up in suits and looking debonair.
The Matador came at the right time.”

Born in Ireland,
Brosnan moved to London at age 11. While in school he
encountered an out gay man who left an indelible impression:
Quentin Crisp, who was employed as a model for
Brosnan’s art class. “He was in his
crushed velvet hat and his lavender cravat,” he
recalls. “I still have the sketches somewhere
in storage.” Gays continued to make an impact
in Brosnan’s life—author Tennessee Williams
and director Franco Zeffirelli were two early
champions, casting him in their high-profile stage
productions of The Red Devil Battery Sign and
Filumena, respectively.

Since then,
Brosnan has proved adept at drama, comedy, and even horror
in productions including Remington Steele,
1993’s Mrs. Doubtfire, 1996’s
Mars Attacks!, and 2004’s After the
Sunset,
which saw Brosnan share homoerotic moments and a
bed with costar Woody Harrelson. “I’m
just feeling myself these days,” Brosnan
shrugs. “Feeling florid and letting it all hang
out.”

In 1996 Brosnan
and Beau St. Clair cofounded a production company, Irish
DreamTime. This enabled Brosnan to actively nurture projects
that would stretch him as an actor. When The
Matador
arrived in 2003, submitted by Shepard as a
writing sample for an open assignment, it fit the
bill.

After watching
Brosnan deliciously subvert his Bond persona in The
Matador,
one wonders whether the next 007 will ever take
the trisexual plunge and bed a young male
hottie—a “Bond Boy,” if you
will—to accomplish a mission. If the Bond film
producers should ever take that bold, modern step,
whom would Brosnan recommend for the Bond Boy job?
“Ewan McGregor,” he volunteers after brief
deliberation. “Bless his cotton socks. Yet I
don’t think he’s a ‘boy’
anymore. Orlando Bloom’s a lovely lad, though.
But I don’t play the role now, so whoever gets it can
pick.”

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