Monday, February 8, 2010
Roman Polanski and Pierce Brosnan Talk Love, Loss and Sharon Tate, A Review of Valley of the Dolls and More
He has said of Cassie: "Cassie has made me the man I am, the actor I am, the father I am. She's forever embedded in every fiber of my being."
Roman has seemingly been as impressed by his time with Sharon. He never forgets her and remembers always how special she was.
Pierce Brosnan: Well, I was in London, I think wrapping up Mamma Mia! or doing something like that on that movie. My agent said, "Roman Polanski would like to meet you. He's doing a movie." And I said, "Great!" And I hopped on the train over to Paris. I was with my son who's 26, Sean, and my mother, and I said, "Do you want to come to Paris for the weekend?" And that's how it happened. I got over there on a Saturday morning, my son and my mother went off 'round the city, and he and I sat and had the most long, long, long lunch and we talked briefly about the movie and established that I wasn't doing Tony Blair, and once we established that, then we talked about everything else but the movie.
Wow, what's it like to be a fly on the wall during a lunch like that?
I was under the impression that in the book, your character Adam Lang was supposed to be a thinly veiled version of Tony Blair. I thought yours had a twist of George W. Bush in there as well.
PB: Well, I certainly didn't go to Bush within it; I kept front and foremost Tony Blair and [David] Cameron and those people, and the rest was just me and my imagination – what if I were a Prime Minister and first and foremost, the great pretender, the great [performer]? And the vortex and the crisis that this man is in at this point in his life and the sham of his life and his leadership – that's what intrigued me.
Once I was off the hook, and I realized that I wasn't going to be doing a Tony Blair impersonation or trying to be like Tony Blair – Michael Sheen had already done that – you know, I just had great fun with it. There was a real sense of irony to the character, and there was humor, and I'd like to think there was some heart to the man, and that his life was a bit of a sham, really, and he knows it and he knows that he's absolutely hamstrung without his wife, and to... have so little to really fight for, that's what kind of I tried to bring to the work... Once the camera starts rolling, the performance starts pouring out of him -- the populist [who] wanted to be charming, wanted to be loved and to be witty, but absolutely has no f*ckin' idea how to run a country. Absolutely none whatsoever. A total puppet. A total puppet.
What's interesting is that it's a very timely movie politically but it has an old Hollywood drama and moodiness to it from the very first shot. Did you feel that tension on set? Everything was very gloomy, and everything was very dramatic.
PB: Well, you know, Roman comes with a lot of legend, and baggage with legend written all over it – as a filmmaker, as a man, as a controversial figure in life. And it was fairly palpable on the set... We wanted bad weather, we got bad weather. The style of filmmaking is a throwback – in style, in composition, in pacing -- to the '70s, maybe. He hasn't made a thriller – he's never made a political thriller – so here he is doing his first political thriller, and getting away with it beautifully. And it's evident up on the screen. It's very elegant and claustrophobic and tight. There's no wriggle room for the characters or for the audience, really. The set was a very happy one, but Roman is Roman, and he is the director, capital letters. He knows what he wants and how he wants it, and he's a great actor. In his world, he's a great actor, and he knows how to act, he knows how to put on a performance, and he does. But he was very happy, I think, in making the movie, and nothing was really discussed on a day-to-day basis. You know, it was very workmanlike.
What was your reaction when you heard about Polanski's arrest? Were you concerned that the movie would never see the light of day?
PB: No, I wasn't, actually. I wasn't concerned for that. I was concerned for him, as a man and as someone who had become a friend. And, you know, I hoped for closure, I still hope for closure for him and for all parties concerned. I think what happened back then was wrong in every way, and I think he certainly would like to have closure. And again, I never had discussions with him, but it's certainly adds a controversial spotlight to the movie.
Do you think people will be able to see The Ghost Writer on its own terms, despite how they might feel about Mr. Polanski?
PB: I don't know. It's not an easy question to answer, really. I can't tell what other people will react [to]. He is heralded in Europe as a magnificent director and very much appreciated here in America within the community of filmmakers as a fantastic, magnificent director. You know, but the media will certainly wring this for every ounce of blood that's in the story because it's very controversial. So I don't know how [people] will react. All I know is I came to this to work with one of the great directors of cinema.
So to wrap things up and come full circle, what's your favorite Polanski movie?
PB: Chinatown. Rosemary's Baby. Knife in the Water. I'd never seen until I started working with Roman, and it just blew me away. It just blew me away, that film, and anyone who's a lover of films, they must see that film by that young man all those years ago.
Here is a review of Valley of the Dolls:
Actress Kim Cattrall talks about Polanski: