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Tri another day

Tri another day


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

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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