Actor Pierce Brosnan appeared in four James Bond films, ending with the highest-grossing entry in the franchise (at the time), Die Another Day. And yet, to his shock, he was told that his services would no longer be required.
In an interview featured in the Some Kind of Hero: The Remarkable Story of the James Bond Films, by Matthew Field and Ajay Chowdhury, the actor said that he was shocked when Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson told him his tenure was up.
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“I was in the Bahamas, working on a movie called After the Sunset and my agents called me up and said, ‘Negotiations have stopped. [Producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson] are not quite sure what they want to do. They’ll call you next Thursday,’” he recalled. “I sat in Richard Harris’s house in the Bahamas, and Barbara and Michael were on the line —‘We’re so sorry.’ She was crying, Michael was stoic and he said, ‘You were a great James Bond. Thank you very much,’ and I said, ‘Thank you very much. Goodbye.’ That was it. I was utterly shocked and just kicked to the kerb with the way it went down.”
According to the book, negotiations broke down because Brosnan wanted too much money to return for another James Bond film. The producers eventually decided to reboot the character with a grittier approach, and hired Daniel Craig as Bond. Craig will complete his tenure as the iconic British spy this year, with No Time To Die, his fifth film as Bond.
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In a 2004 interview to the Toronto Star, Brosnan confirmed that he didn’t quit as Bond; he was fired. “It’s over. It’s over. It’s absolutely over,” Brosnan said. He continued, “They (the producers) invited me back right before I went to present that film (Die Another Day), before I went on the road with Halle Berry to sell the movie. They said: ‘We’re so happy with the success. We want you to come back!’ I went on the road a happy man, you know? I thought we’d get a fifth and no more. That would be it, really. I’d done it. You get bored. You get older. You give of yourself to something and then you have no more to give. But I thought a fifth would be good. And then one day the phone rang— I was here in the Bahamas —and my agents told me that the goalposts had moved and that they had changed their minds.”
Brosnan added, “It’s very hard to find the truth in that town [Hollywood] or in this business at times. But it was their prerogative to change their minds. They can do it.” And they might have done it ‘to go younger’, Brosnan added. “It was disappointing. It was surprising. And I accepted the knowledge after 24 hours of being in shock.”
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