The leap from secret agent James Bond to troubled Tony Blair-type ex-Prime Minister is a big one, but Pierce Brosnan has made it with ease. And in so doing, thinks he's finally rid himself of the Bond ties, even though his last 007 role was in 2002's Die Another day
"After Bond, the character continued to live with me," says Brosnan, who is co-starring with Ewan McGregor in director Roman Polanski's political thriller The Ghost. "Bond permeates your life so you have to break the shackles of that
"Only a small group of men have played the role and it's a rather elite club," he says. "But I'm a working actor trying to define my career."
In The Ghost, he's an ex-Prime Minister working on his memoirs with a suspicious ghost-writer, Ewan McGregor.
Although set in Massachusetts, it was filmed in Germany as Polanski is under house arrest in Switzerland over a 30-year-old rape case and cannot enter America freely. Brosnan has sympathy with the director.
"I'd like to see closure for the man, his family and the woman involved, who's forgiven him," he says. "The passion with which he makes movies is exhilarating. I had a wonderful experience and the film is mysterious, spellbinding and mildly macabre.
"The Prime Minister was led to believe he was a great politician, though he was a hollow man. He signed papers for a war that was untimely and unjust," he says. "It's not about Tony Blair... but it's all about Tony Blair."
Brosnan, 56, features in four other films this year. He's Rob Pattinson's dad in Remember Me and a centaur in Percy Jackson & The Olympians. He produces and stars in The Greatest, as a dad coping with a son's death, and he narrates the ecological documentary, Océans.
Though in constant demand, Brosnan seems to not quite believe his good fortune.
"There are many things I'm thankful for," he says. "I'm a family man within this crazy, egotistical profession and it's my sanctuary. It makes what
His older children call him Gentlemen's Relish, after a condiment he favours, but he admits his cool, suave style is from vintage films.
I do all the more meaningful."
"I watched old Cary Grant movies and the next thing I know I'm Mr Sophistication," he chuckles. "But I created something for myself.
"I've been blessed to be able to afford the good things of life," he says. "I don't know if it would have happened if I hadn't had Bond in my career.
"I'm in a good place creatively. It's a fertile time... finding parts, acting, testing myself in roles and shaking up what went before," he adds.