After running the gamut from establishing his action star bona fides as James Bond in four films to playing a singing architect in the romantic comedy musical 'Mamma Mia!,' Irish-born, London-bred actor Pierce Brosnan stars in Roman Polanski's 'The Ghost Writer,' a Hitchcockian political thriller about an exiled Prime Minister, his potentially criminal actions and the titular ghostwriter assigned to write his memoirs.

As Prime Minister Adam Lang, Brosnan imbues the Tony Blair-esque figure with a combination of dignity, self-righteousness and pathos, simultaneously attracting and repelling the viewer in equal measure. With 'Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief' already in theaters and 'Remember Me' landing in them next month, 2010 has already proven a remarkably busy year for the actor.
After running the gamut from establishing his action star bona fides as James Bond in four films to playing a singing architect in the romantic comedy musical 'Mamma Mia!,' Irish-born, London-bred actor Pierce Brosnan stars in Roman Polanski's 'The Ghost Writer,' a Hitchcockian political thriller about an exiled Prime Minister, his potentially criminal actions and the titular ghostwriter assigned to write his memoirs.

As Prime Minister Adam Lang, Brosnan imbues the Tony Blair-esque figure with a combination of dignity, self-righteousness and pathos, simultaneously attracting and repelling the viewer in equal measure. With 'Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief' already in theaters and 'Remember Me' landing in them next month, 2010 has already proven a remarkably busy year for the actor.

It's hard not to see shades of Tony Blair in Adam Lang. Are you concerned with how the political message in the film will be received or do you see 'The Ghost Writer' as a suspense film with politics in the background?
When I read the book and then the screenplay, all roads seemed to lead to Tony Blair and I asked Roman Polanski on our first meeting if I was playing him and he said "No, you're not." And I understood in word and gesture that I wasn't. However, I had to hang my hat on someone. I did look at Mr. Blair as a political figure in his time in history, but didn't try to play him. Having said that, many weeks later, we did a photo shoot for the cover of the [book] jacket for Adam Lang and Roman sent me six or seven photographs with different expressions of Tony Blair. So you're in the hands of a mischievous fellow.

Was it a conscious effort to try and separate Lang from Blair?
When I played him, I saw him as this huge sculpture of a man. I couldn't see the face, but I could see the shadow and feel the bulk of the man. I came to it through the performance of a Shakespearean or Jacobean tragedy; a man whose youth has slipped away and middle-aged life is in crisis. He's politically adrift, emotionally adrift, spiritually adrift, so I came to him as someone who I really empathized with and felt when the curtain goes down, you're so ambivalent that you miss him. You can't help but like him.

This was your first film with Polanski. How did his style differ from other directors you've worked with?
Just his intensity as a filmmaker and the baggage that he comes with. I didn't have any expectations. I began to read his biography, but I put his down because I didn't want to know that much. I knew as much I knew about the tragedy in his life and the case that is ongoing, and I didn't really want to get into it, actually. It was none of my business. But just the cinematic intensity of the man and approach to the work was so hands-on and all-prevailing you are really in the 'House of Polanski' when you walk on set. You feel it. He's not a very tall man but he's operatic in his intensity. I heard actors abhor the way he works and actors glorify the way he works. I just went with the flow.

It was an intense experience though. The name alone conjures up so many images of a turbulent life and he stands alone on the cinematic stage as a genius and a tortured soul. Many labels can be given to him I suppose. I just loved the drama of working with this cinematic director whose work I really admired and was fascinated by from 'Knife in the Water' all the way through.

Are you concerned that external events in his life will overshadow the film itself?
I think the film stands alone because the book was such a popular page-turner and I think the current events, with the Chilcot investigation [where Blair was forced to explain his claim that Iraq had WMDs] with Mr. Tony Blair will only add to it. Though you cannot escape the history of Mr. Polanski, so the film stands right there in the vortex of both issues and both men in their time.


As someone very much in the public eye, did you bring any personal experience into the role?
I don't think so. I don't think I, Pierce Brosnan, live in any bubble [like Lang].

But you can't walk down a street without getting recognized.
Oh, I get recognized and you position yourself just to get on with your life. I enjoy the company of my fellow man and woman and I do not wish to be sequestered away in any type of bubble.

There's been rumors for a while about a sequel to 'Thomas Crown Affair.' What's the status of that?
We have a script and a structure that is good and I I hope we can do it, but it's not a definite.

Have you seen 'Casino Royale' or 'Quantum of Solace' and if so, were there any parts where you said 'I would've done that this way' to yourself?
(Laughs) I haven't seen Daniel Craig's Bond movies. I have stayed away from them. I tried to watch 'Casino Royale' once on a plane but it broke down on me twice. I had to take leave of it. It was such a huge part of my life, but they certainly got the right man for the job, and I think his brilliance, from what I hear and the small parts that I've seen, will certainly stand the testament of time.

CATEGORIES Interviews