Pierce Brosnan's portrayal of James Bond has been praised by movie critics.
Brosnan's first wife, Cassandra, always told him that she would like to see him play Bond rather than just be an assistant on the films, but she died before this could become a reality. Brosnan persued this as a tribute to her.
In 1986, with Roger Moore's retirement from the role, Timothy Dalton was offered the role of James Bond once again after previously having turned it down when Sean Connery vacated the role in 1967. The 1986 film adaptation of Brenda Starr, however, kept Dalton from being able to immediately accept the role. A number of actors were then screen-tested for the role, notably Sam Neill, but ultimately were passed over by Cubby Broccoli. Brosnan (whose Remington Steele series had just ended), was offered the role, but publicity revived the Remington Steele programme and forced Brosnan to back out of the role due to his contract with the show.
Dalton then became available and accepted the role. Dalton's second turn as 007 Licence to Kill (1989), was a disappointment at the American box office, and legal squabbles about ownership of the film franchise resulted in cancellation of a proposed third Dalton film in 1991 (rumoured title: The Property of a Lady) and would put the series in a six-year hiatus. During that time, Dalton acted upon a clause in his contract and resigned, which left the door open for Brosnan, in 1994.
Brosnan's appointment as Bond brought things full circle for the actor, who stated in interviews that the very first movie he ever saw was Goldfinger and that Sean Connery's performance as Bond inspired him to enter show business. Aware of the danger of being typecast as James Bond, Brosnan asked EON Productions, when accepting the role, to be allowed to work in other projects between Bond series films. The request was granted, and for every Bond series film, Brosnan appeared in at least two mainstream films, including several he had produced. Brosnan played a wide range of roles in-between his Bond film appearances, ranging from a nerdy scientist in Tim Burton's Mars Attacks! to Canadian conservationist Grey Owl, in the biopic of the same name.
Brosnan was signed for a four-film deal and first appeared as agent 007 in 1995's GoldenEye to much critical praise. GoldenEye more than doubled the gross of Dalton's previous film in worldwide ticket box office sales. Pierce returned as Bond in 1997's Tomorrow Never Dies and 1999's The World Is Not Enough to virtually the same success. In 2002 Brosnan appeared for his fourth and final time as the super suave secret agent in Die Another Day; while controversial to fans as being perhaps one of the weaker entries in the series, the movie shattered all previous Bond films in terms of worldwide box office gross and is currently the highest grossing Bond film ever (excluding inflation).
In early 2004, Brosnan starred in the James Bond video game Everything or Nothing, generously allowing his likeness to be used as well as doing the voice work for the character.
Shortly after, the media began questioning whether or not Brosnan would reprise the role for a fifth and final time. Brosnan kept in mind that aficionados and critics both were unhappy with Moore playing the role well into his 50s, but he received popular support from both critics and the franchise fanbase for a fifth. For this reason, he remained enthusiastic about reprising his role after his initial contract expired, despite earlier reservations about doing so. Throughout 2004, Brosnan was rumoured numerous times to have been "fired" from the role to make way for a new and younger actor. This was denied by MGM, EON Productions, and even Brosnan himself.
In October 2004, however, Brosnan had been quoted as saying "it's absolutely over" and that he considered himself fired from the role. Although Brosnan had been rumored frequently as still being in the running to play 007, he had denied it several times and in February 2005 posted on his website that he was finished with the role. In spite of this, rumours continued to circulate that he was in negotiations with the producers up until Daniel Craig was signed and announced on October 14, 2005. After the announcement of Craig as the next 007, Brosnan's Bond wax figures at all Madame Tussauds — including London, New York City, and Las Vegas — were removed.
Brosnan was the first James Bond actor to be born after the April 13, 1953 publication of the first Bond novel, Casino Royale.
- GoldenEye (1995)
- Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
- The World is Not Enough (1999)
- Die Another Day (2002)
James Bond and James Bond Incarnations