NEW YORK – James Bond's latest flick, Die Another Day, is full of beautiful women, fast cars, death-defying stunts — and product placement.
Omega Watches is paying for the impressive hotel suite Pierce Brosnan and I are sitting in, so it's not surprising that the dashing 007 is singing the praises of his fancy timepiece. What is surprising is how candid he is about the role of product placement in a valuable franchise.
Brosnan's new film Die Another Day is one of his favorites (no surprise) and yes, he will be back for a fifth time. After that? Picking the new guy isn't his job.
Bill McCuddy: Are you still having fun playing James Bond?
Pierce Brosnan: I have to say yeah, I'm still having fun.
McCuddy: You have to say it?
Brosnan: (laughs) To answer the question, yeah, I'm still having fun.
McCuddy: Do you get the script and say, 'This one better be more interesting, they better ratchet it up.'
Brosnan: Well yeah, once you sign on the dotted line for a contract then you've invested yourself. So you better pay attention and you better give it everything you've got — 110 percent, 120 percent — because there's a huge audience out there waiting to see this movie. I have great respect for the film. I've got great respect for the character. And I've enjoyed it enormously. It's allowed me to go off and form my own company, Irish Dream Time, it's allowed me to make movies like The Thomas Crown Affair, Evelyn, which is coming out this Dec. 13.
McCuddy: Sean Connery grew to loathe the James Bond character, though. Will you ever regret that you'll forever be this generation's Bond?
Brosnan: (pause) No, I don't think so. Why would I? It's allowed me to have the most incredible lifestyle, to take care of my family. It's allowed me to travel, see the world in the most splendid fashion, it's allowed me to, as they say, to create my own company, make my own films. I have nothing but fond memories of the last six years. Is it hard work? Of course. Does it come with a lot of [expletive] — yes — of course it does. But you rise up above that, and you make the best film you possibly can. GoldenEye set the precedent for a new generation of a Bond audience.
McCuddy: Will there always be a Bond, do you think?
Brosnan: I don't know. I couldn't answer that question. But if it's lasted 40 years, I'd have to say you could get another 20 years after this. There will be someone after me waiting in the wings to take this role.
McCuddy: Who do you like? Johnny Carson watched Jay Leno come up. Who do you ...
Brosnan: No, that's not my job.
Brosnan: Not my job. My job is to just play Bond. It ain't up to me. I'm not the producer, it's up to them to figure who is the next guy.
McCuddy: What would you like to see in the next one?
Brosnan: I don't know. I don't think about things like that. My mind is on other aspects of my life right now. As far as I'm concerned Die Another Day is a great film, it's one of the best Bond films that I've been involved with, and I hope and I pray that it will be extremely successful and as good as the last three that I've done.
McCuddy: One of the things that's grown in the franchise is product placement. How important is that in getting a film made these days? And is it getting too intrusive?
Brosnan: I think it can be a very important part in any feature film. And certainly in the Bond films — if you look back to Connery's days there was always product placement. There were spin offs. This is a family business that was started by a man named Cubby Broccoli who was a wonderful entrepreneur. He knew how to put a spin on things and tell a great story. I think though, they can over extend themselves — and they have. And they've had their heads chewed off for doing it.
McCuddy: Driving blatantly through billboards in the '70s?
Brosnan: Billboards, sure. But I think there's a great tastefulness within the Bond franchise. I think in the relationship between James Bond and Omega watches it seems to be a marriage made in heaven. The watch — Omega — makes fantastic watches. And the Seamaster is a classic piece of hardware.
McCuddy: Are you a gadget guy? Someone that likes the 'Q Branch' stuff?
Brosnan: Not really, no. I'm not a gadget guy. I'm trying to become a gadget guy. I got myself a new laptop. I'm about to get myself a new digital camera. So I'm trying to enter into that world. It's about time.
McCuddy: You need a 'Q.'
Brosnan: I don't need any of those guys. I'm my own man. I can deal without them.
McCuddy: Of course you can. You're James Bond.