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From Bong to wholly Ghost

When it comes to the perils of typecasting, the best thing an actor can do is a lot. Which seems to be the approach Pierce Brosnan has decided to take, ever since he handed in his 007 badge with 2002's Die Another Day. That he left the Bond franchise in a cloud of uncertainty over his departure -- some claiming it was Brosnan's demands for a bigger slice of the franchise he had once again made highly lucrative -- saw the world's most famous Navan man putting his head down. And the pedal to the metal.

"Whenever you've got a little uncertainty in this business, it's always best to just get on with the work," nods the 56-year-old actor and producer. "It doesn't really benefit anyone to sit around contemplating what you might have done differently, or how you got to a certain point. Look to the future is always a good position to take . . ."

Right now, Brosnan's future looks pretty darn rosy. With hits such as The Matador, Mamma Mia! and the recent Remember Me under his belt, the curse of being Bond would seem to be well and truly beaten. And now Brosnan has The Ghost coming our way, a smart thriller based on Robert Harris' acclaimed novel, and directed by one Roman Polanski. Who, of course, due to unforeseen circumstances, couldn't be with us today.

PAUL BYRNE: You seemed to have shaken off the international man of mystery tag, as far as Hollywood is concerned, but I'm guessing it's still a big draw on the streets . . .

PIERCE BROSNAN: Sure, people will always recognise me from the Bond movies, and that's okay with me. Very proud of the work we did, and how we took the franchise back to the top in many ways. I think it certainly takes a lot of time for people to forget such a role, but that's okay . . . Being famous for a role that you're very proud of is a good complaint to have though. . .

BYRNE: You're certainly giving people plenty to choose from. Besides The Ghost, you have Remember Me in cinemas right now, and The Greatest is heading our way.

BROSNAN: It's just a case of following good work, and keeping busy. That three of the films I've made over the past two years should all come out at the same time is just a coincidence, but it is fun to see how different they are for people. It's good to mix it up.

I pretty much said to my agent that I wanted to get out there and try my hand at a few diverse projects. I narrated the environment documentary Oceans recently, and I took a part in the Percy Jackson movie. So, I've been very busy. And I'm happy to play a supporting role too -- it's not about being the star, it's about trying my hand at new things.

BYRNE: You co-star with Robert Pattinson in Remember Me and with Carey Mulligan in The Greatest, both hot young stars. Coincidence, or are you keen to get down with the kids?

BROSNAN: I think both Robert and Carey are exceptional when it comes to young actors, in that they're more than just pin-ups or flavours of the month. You can sense in both of them a strong desire to do good work. I don't think either one is trying to get by on their looks; they're both looking for work that's a little more challenging than that. And it's always a wonderful feeling, being around people who are completely in love with what they're doing.

BYRNE: Having lived with fame for quite some time now, did you have any advice for the beleaguered young Robert when it came to dealing with all those screaming teens?

BROSNAN: I think Robert knows that there's very little he can do right now except put the head down and work. It's not exactly fun, having that kind of crazed attention. It might be flattering at first, but the novelty soon wears off.

BYRNE: In The Ghost, it's said that your character, Adam Lang, is more than a little inspired by Tony Blair -- someone you've slammed for his "arrogance" and "mild stupidity". Did you take all that on board when it came to playing him?

BROSNAN: I wouldn't want to be seen to imitate just one person. Roman was adamant, too, that I not play Adam as Tony Blair.

BYRNE: Polanski won the Best Director gong at the 60th International Berlin Film Festival, and the reviews have been generally positive for The Ghost. I'm guessing you're happy with it too?

BROSNAN: As an artist, often the only thing you can see are the mistakes . . . but I'm certainly happy with how the movie came out overall.

BYRNE: The victory parade for The Ghost was rained on somewhat by Polanski's arrest on the sexual assault case from 1977. You said in December, "what happened was wrong in every way, but I wish the man well and closure for this time in his life". People are divided on this one.

BROSNAN: It's a difficult situation, absolutely, and one that shouldn't be taken lightly, but I do think that Roman Polanski has suffered enough at this stage. I just find the whole thing incredibly sad.

Byrne: The box-office bonanza enjoyed by Mamma Mia! sparked rumours of a sequel. If there is another outing, would you be tempted to get singing lessons?

BROSNAN: Are you suggesting my singing in the original wasn't up to scratch [laughs].

BYRNE: Well, you did win a Razzie for Worst Supporting Actor for your performance . . .

BROSNAN: I'm happy to take any award I can get! I think the real charm of a movie like that is the simple fact that we're not a bunch of professional singers.

The Ghost hits Irish cinemas April 16