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Thread: BOND... JAMES BOND.

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  1. #11
    Earlier, in talking about your childhood in the boarding house run by Eileen, you mentioned specifically "a green curtain." Tell me about that curtain.

    The green curtain. Oh, God bless her, Eileen. Well, because the room had lodgers—she had these lodgers, working men who would come up from the countryside to work in town—there were three beds. And it was just a little kind of wrought-iron bed with a horsehair mattress and a green, shiny curtain around it. And she would pin the newspapers to it so the light wouldn't come through. And that was my room; that was my bed for a number of years. And they were really happy times, because she had a son and a daughter, and for the first time in my life, I was surrounded by a family that was really loving and fun. And it was in a place called St. Finian's Terrace. And very poor, and yet alive with humanity. And Eileen had a dog named Chip, and Chip became my dog, and I suddenly had friends. Whereas, when I lived across the river, there was no one there. There was just the house, the little bungalow. And the friends there were nuns; I used to go down to the convent and help make butter with the nuns, milk the cows.... That was another side of life. And my grandmother used to give the field to the Crutchee family—there was a woman called Old Ma Crutchee and she had two sons; they were tinkers—and they were my friends when I was on that side of the river. They were amazing. And she was incredible; she had the horse and the cart, a beautiful old wagon that she painted, and the boys would go into the woods; they made the best bow-and-arrows, they made great catapults in a tube of tires, catch frogs, catch fish. So I had the tinkers over here, and the nuns, and then I went into the town and had all the lads up in St. Finian's Terrace, who were a great tribe of kids. But the bed, the curtain—that sounds lonely, but it was heavenly. I was very comfortable.

    Well, I think you make the best with what you've got, you know? Sometimes you have very little. And you just always try to rise to higher ground, because you're going to suffer one way or the other, so you just hope that you have strength and perseverance and good friends and faith, some kind of faith, to endure and move on to greener pastures. I don't know. I don't know. I love what I do as an actor. The life of an actor, it's been great to me. America, you know, was my savior. Came here thirty years ago, got off the plane, felt lucky, was lucky. I managed to stay employed. Ever since, I've always had.... You know, "What am I going to do?" "How am I going to make a living?" "How am I going to get by?"—and I've managed it.

    Is there anything in your possession from those years ago that still means something to you?

    There are boxing gloves. My mother gave me boxing gloves; I wanted boxing gloves. I liked to box. So I still have them. They're still in my bookcase, very old, tattered, and they were cherished. When I got them that Christmas, my grandmother was dying; I was living in Kells. My mother couldn't come home that Christmas because she had to work as a nurse. But the boxing gloves were a brilliant distraction from the pain in the heart.

    Do you look at them every day?

    Oh, I look at them. I see them. They're there. Just: the gloves are on; the gloves are off. In November Man, the gloves are off. It's like, "Come on; let's shake it up, here." Because when the curtain fell unexpectedly on James Bond and, to my surprise, there was this kind of void that was left: this itch of unfinished business. And so that's where November Man came from. I wanted to create an action hero character. I could do all the things that I didn't get to do in Bond, so to speak. Because when I played Bond, it'd been dormant for six years; it was a huge undertaking on the part of everyone involved to get it right. And so I was kind of caught somewhere in between the Roger Moore and the Sean Connery of it all. And both men, I adored as James Bond. But it never felt—I don't know—real. I felt like I was in a period-piece sometimes.

    When you were doing it, it never felt real?

    When I was doing it, yes. Because I could hear echoes or sensations of Connery or of Roger, which I didn't try to censor; I'd just allow them to come in. But I never.... Anyway, they were successful, and in doing the GoldenEye, that was the ticket and the key into creating my own company, Irish DreamTime.

    Would you change anything about those performances?

    No. I don't allow myself. I haven't gone over that terrain, really. All I know is that GoldenEye came out and it was a wonderful film; I think it still stands up, there. I haven't seen it in a long time, but...

    Are there hurts that have shaped you? Personally or professionally?

    Oh, yeah, yeah, there are numerous blows to the heart, the psyche, and the spirit. And Bond figures significantly in some of those disappointments.

  2. #12
    ^^^ (Cont'd)

    When it ended?

    But more than anything, it is the gift that keeps giving, and it was just a really incredible decade of life. You know, when it happened and it didn't happen and then it happened and it didn't happen, you know, it always came in and out of my life with great trauma. In 1986, Remington got canceled, they offered me the movie James Bond, and then I couldn't get out of the contract, and they played it out until the sixtieth day. They had sixty days in which to resell the show, and I was assured that everything was going to be just fine, but it wasn't. And on the sixtieth day as I was walking out to the beach with a bottle of Cristal Champagne to my late wife, the phone rang and I thought, "Hmm, better answer it." It was Fred Specktor, my agent, saying, "The deal's fallen through. It's not gonna happen." Because Cubby [Broccoli; the film producer who owned the Bond franchise] had said to them, "Look, it happened for six episodes. Then no more; then he's mine." And the network came back on the sixtieth day on the eleventh hour and said, "We want the option of twenty-two." And Cubby said, "No way. Deal's off." And that was it. So that was a blow.

    How do you navigate that? How do you not let that crush you?

    Well, your mind works fast, you know? You take the blow and you move on.

    Some people don't.

    Well, you know: the gloves are on, the gloves are off. You take the blow, you've got to come in with the next blow. You've got to think ahead of the game, you've got to jump ahead and say, "OK, I've lost it. Fuck 'em. Fuck 'em all. But I'm gonna work. I know how to work. I know how to work." As I'm walking out with a bottle of champagne, about to tell my wife it ain't happening. And we had relocated our children to school in England; I mean, we had moved, in our minds, out of L.A.

    You'd made moves.

    It's all going according to plan: I've come to America, beautiful hit show, respected show, it gets canceled, and now I go off and become an international movie star. This is just the way it should go. But it wasn't meant to be. So in those awful heartbeat moments, you just think ahead. And you get on with work. And I think the next thing I did was a miniseries called Noble House. I read it, I liked it, the price was good; I went straight to work. Straight to work. Kept working. And then it came back around, and then I did my full contract, which was for four movies; they invited me back, and I remember distinctly being in the beach house in Malibu and the phone rang, and Michael and Barbara [Cubby's heirs] said, "We'd love you to do the fifth." And I said, "I'd love to." I put the phone down; I said to my wife, Keeley, I said, "OK. Go build your dream-house. Because I'm doing a movie. They've just invited me back." And then I went off to do a movie in that interim time, After the Sunset, and one day I was going out onto the set, and the phone rang, and it was my agent, and they said, "Listen. They've started negotiations on the film." I said, "OK, what does that mean?" He says, "Well, they don't want to negotiate anymore. They'll call you next Thursday." I said, "OK." So I waited a whole week, and then the next Thursday came, and I was in the Bahamas—I think I was staying at Richard Harris's house with Richard and his family; there's an interconnectedness there. And Michael and Barbara said they'd rethought the character and were putting it on hold and we said goodbye. And that was it. Alright. You were a good Bond. So that's how it went down that time. And that certainly dug into the solar plexus of life, just because it was pretty gut-wrenching and because it had been somewhat heralded that I was coming back. So, it's just business. And you're the one caught in the crosshairs. And, you know, my press agent at the time said, "You should resign. You should resign." And I said, "No, I don't want to do that, because that's a lie. It's a lie onto myself; it's their decision. Let it be their decision, and however you want to look at it, however it will be defined, then let it find its own course." So you get on and you work. You just get back in the ring, and try to define yourself and not let there be angst over it. Head up, shoulders back. So yeah, there's those kind of blows. And then it's well-documented: the loss of my wife and my daughter. Those are deep. Those leave you rudderless, adrift, and gasping for air, that pain.

    What do you believe?

    What do I believe? I believe in God. I believe in my God; I believe in the God in myself; I believe in myself as a man, as an actor. It gets tested and tried often, and sometimes I lose the way. But I believe in my children.

    Are there words you live by?

    Are there words? Just "Be kind." "Be good." "Do good things."

    Well, kindness. Kindness, I think, goes along way. Being kind to yourself and being kind to others. Give it away. Just give it away; all that's not given is lost. So that's as good as it gets.

    Did you ever see your father again after he left the family?

    I did meet him, in the end. I met Tom. I met Tom Brosnan. He came to visit me when I was Remington Steele. Came out of the woods looking for me. It was kind of too late, really. Too late. We sat and had a cup of tea. It was on a Sunday. Talked about this and that, and downstairs, I met a few first cousins who I didn't know, had pints of Guinness and he got on the minibus and drove away and...

    That was it?

    That was it. Ah, well. Sic transit gloria mundi.

  3. #13
    ^^^ (Cont'd)

    When it ended?

    But more than anything, it is the gift that keeps giving, and it was just a really incredible decade of life. You know, when it happened and it didn't happen and then it happened and it didn't happen, you know, it always came in and out of my life with great trauma. In 1986, Remington got canceled, they offered me the movie James Bond, and then I couldn't get out of the contract, and they played it out until the sixtieth day. They had sixty days in which to resell the show, and I was assured that everything was going to be just fine, but it wasn't. And on the sixtieth day as I was walking out to the beach with a bottle of Cristal Champagne to my late wife, the phone rang and I thought, "Hmm, better answer it." It was Fred Specktor, my agent, saying, "The deal's fallen through. It's not gonna happen." Because Cubby [Broccoli; the film producer who owned the Bond franchise] had said to them, "Look, it happened for six episodes. Then no more; then he's mine." And the network came back on the sixtieth day on the eleventh hour and said, "We want the option of twenty-two." And Cubby said, "No way. Deal's off." And that was it. So that was a blow.

    How do you navigate that? How do you not let that crush you?

    Well, your mind works fast, you know? You take the blow and you move on.

    Some people don't.

    Well, you know: the gloves are on, the gloves are off. You take the blow, you've got to come in with the next blow. You've got to think ahead of the game, you've got to jump ahead and say, "OK, I've lost it. Fuck 'em. Fuck 'em all. But I'm gonna work. I know how to work. I know how to work." As I'm walking out with a bottle of champagne, about to tell my wife it ain't happening. And we had relocated our children to school in England; I mean, we had moved, in our minds, out of L.A.

    You'd made moves.

    It's all going according to plan: I've come to America, beautiful hit show, respected show, it gets canceled, and now I go off and become an international movie star. This is just the way it should go. But it wasn't meant to be. So in those awful heartbeat moments, you just think ahead. And you get on with work. And I think the next thing I did was a miniseries called Noble House. I read it, I liked it, the price was good; I went straight to work. Straight to work. Kept working. And then it came back around, and then I did my full contract, which was for four movies; they invited me back, and I remember distinctly being in the beach house in Malibu and the phone rang, and Michael and Barbara [Cubby's heirs] said, "We'd love you to do the fifth." And I said, "I'd love to." I put the phone down; I said to my wife, Keeley, I said, "OK. Go build your dream-house. Because I'm doing a movie. They've just invited me back." And then I went off to do a movie in that interim time, After the Sunset, and one day I was going out onto the set, and the phone rang, and it was my agent, and they said, "Listen. They've started negotiations on the film." I said, "OK, what does that mean?" He says, "Well, they don't want to negotiate anymore. They'll call you next Thursday." I said, "OK." So I waited a whole week, and then the next Thursday came, and I was in the Bahamas—I think I was staying at Richard Harris's house with Richard and his family; there's an interconnectedness there. And Michael and Barbara said they'd rethought the character and were putting it on hold and we said goodbye. And that was it. Alright. You were a good Bond. So that's how it went down that time. And that certainly dug into the solar plexus of life, just because it was pretty gut-wrenching and because it had been somewhat heralded that I was coming back. So, it's just business. And you're the one caught in the crosshairs. And, you know, my press agent at the time said, "You should resign. You should resign." And I said, "No, I don't want to do that, because that's a lie. It's a lie onto myself; it's their decision. Let it be their decision, and however you want to look at it, however it will be defined, then let it find its own course." So you get on and you work. You just get back in the ring, and try to define yourself and not let there be angst over it. Head up, shoulders back. So yeah, there's those kind of blows. And then it's well-documented: the loss of my wife and my daughter. Those are deep. Those leave you rudderless, adrift, and gasping for air, that pain.

    What do you believe?

    What do I believe? I believe in God. I believe in my God; I believe in the God in myself; I believe in myself as a man, as an actor. It gets tested and tried often, and sometimes I lose the way. But I believe in my children.

    Are there words you live by?

    Are there words? Just "Be kind." "Be good." "Do good things."

    Well, kindness. Kindness, I think, goes along way. Being kind to yourself and being kind to others. Give it away. Just give it away; all that's not given is lost. So that's as good as it gets.

    Did you ever see your father again after he left the family?

    I did meet him, in the end. I met Tom. I met Tom Brosnan. He came to visit me when I was Remington Steele. Came out of the woods looking for me. It was kind of too late, really. Too late. We sat and had a cup of tea. It was on a Sunday. Talked about this and that, and downstairs, I met a few first cousins who I didn't know, had pints of Guinness and he got on the minibus and drove away and...

    That was it?

    That was it. Ah, well. Sic transit gloria mundi.


 
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