Pierce Brosnan: “I got a platinum album for ‘Mamma Mia!’ – so fuck the begrudgers!”

007 himself talks bands, 'Black Adam' and why he can't stop singing ABBA bangers

Before we’ve even got in the room to interview Pierce Brosnan, he’s out in the hotel corridor chatting. “I used to read the NME religiously,” he says wistfully, looking like a classic rock dad in black jeans and tan suede boots, polka-dot cravat tucked beneath his denim jacket. “I was big into my bands.”

Brosnan, now an elder statesman of Hollywood, spent his early years in County Meath, Ireland before his mum moved the family to London so she could work as a nurse in the ’60s. It was there that he pursued art. Fast-forward to 2022 and he’s racked up more box office receipts than most actors you can think of. There was heist thriller The Thomas Crown Affair, action blockbuster Dante’s Peak and, of course, four James Bond movies. Oh and don’t forget ABBA smashes Mamma Mia!, and Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!

Now, the silver-haired sexagenarian is taking on another challenge: his first superhero movie Black Adam, which he’s meant to be promoting. Though when he finally lets us sit down to talk, it becomes apparent he’d much rather tell us about his fave rock stars instead…

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Black Adam
Dr Fate (Pierce Brosnan) and Hawkman (Aldis Hodge). CREDIT: Warner Bros. Pictures

Hey Pierce, you’re a big soundtrack nerd – tell us about Black Adam‘s music

“Oh I love soundtracks, yes. Lorne Balfe made the amazing music for Black Adam. I love composers too, Jóhann Jóhannsson for example. I listen to Max Richter‘s ‘Sleep’ album to paint to. When I paint I fall asleep [laughs].”

Have you always been into music?

“I used to go down the Lyceum in the late ’60s. I saw Nick Drake, and not many people can say that. My son, Dylan [who is a musician], was very impressed. But there you go, the New Musical Express, still going!”

Yup, we’re still here! Did your son get his musical talent from you?

“Oh no. I tried to play the guitar and failed miserably. I didn’t want to be in bands. But I love music. Music is an essential part of my creative process and my life. I listened to John Peel late at night [as a kid]. John was my guru. I was 11 years of age when I left Ireland and came to London. It was the promised land. My buddy and I, Stuart Turner, who lived down the road from me in Fulham, would go to gigs together.”

Pierce Brosnan
Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan in ‘Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again’. CREDIT: Alamy

What’s your greatest gig memory?

“I remember seeing Pink Floyd with Syd Barrett. Syd was sitting on the side like a gnome. The light shows were just beautiful. They played ‘Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun’ [from their 1968 album ‘A Saucerful Of Secrets’]. It was mind-blowing. I wasn’t into any drugs, I wasn’t smoking. You didn’t really need it. The thought of doing mind-altering drugs really terrified me, having been brought up a Catholic in Ireland [chuckles]. I remember we’d go back to [my friend] Stuart’s place. He wanted to be an artist and I wanted to be a painter. We had an old projector and you could put oil paints on slides. Then you’d put them up against a hot light bulb and, Bob’s your uncle, you’d have your own light show!”

Have you ever met Pink Floyd?

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“Yes I have. The drummer Nick Mason. There was a time when we got to know each other in the late ’80s. He’s utterly charming. He didn’t try and teach me the drums though.”

Have you met any other famous rock stars?

“I’ve met Roger Daltery. We met through a mutual friend. It was one summer in Malibu, California, and we kept seeing each other, having dinners and then hanging out in London a little bit. He’s really lovely and we got on well – a solid guy. He’s been around the block and seen everything that’s possible.”

Pierce Brosnan
Pierce Brosnan in 1988 thriller ‘Taffin’. CREDIT: Alamy

Have you been offered to play a musician in a biopic?

“No, Mamma Mia‘s the closest I’ve got to singing and I love it. I did get a platinum album for my singing you know, so fuck the begrudgers! [chuckles again] I got to sing with Meryl Streep! It was the last thing I expected but I kind of got it. I understood the joke, the karaoke of it all. They didn’t employ me for my singing but I loved it anyway. I don’t have any desire to play anyone in particular. I mean Elvis, but he’s been taken [by Austin Butler in Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis], beautifully so.”

And finally, are you aware of the internet fandom that’s grown up around you 1988 action-thriller Taffin?

“Yeah I’ve heard it’s become a cult film. I made it in Ireland many moons ago with the lovely, beautiful Alison Doody. And Francis Megahy, who has now left us, directed it. There’s some line in it that I shout out. I can’t remember what the line is but it’s just crazy isn’t it? That’s the glory of still being at the table and doing what I love. So yes, Taffin lives on. Who would’ve guessed?”

Black Adam’ is in cinemas now

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