Oct 8, 2013

Tradecraft: Busy Pierce Brosnan Spies Another Day

It looks like there will be more espionage in Pierce Brosnan's future after The November Man! Deadline reports that the former Bond star is among the impressive ensemble cast of Survivor, a new spy thriller directed by James McTeigue (V for Vendetta, Ninja Assassin). Milla Jovovich (The Fifth Element) stars as "a State Department employee newly posted to the American embassy in London where she is charged with stopping terrorists from getting into the U.S." She quickly finds herself at the center of an international conspiracy. Discredited and framed for crimes she didn't commit, and pursued by assassins, she's forced to go on the run and attempt to clear her name while preventing a large-scale terrorist attack on New York's Times Square New Year's Eve celebration. I love it! The plot sounds very, very Ludlumy. (Particularly similar to The Aquitaine Progression.) Hm, perhaps that's no coincidence. Irwin Winkler, who is currently adapting Ludlum's The Sigma Protocol, produces, with Charles Winkler, and Phil Shelby wrote the script. Could this be the same Philip Shelby who penned some of the Ludlum-inspired Covert One novels? (That's a paperback series published under the Ludlum brand with his name splashed across the cover in huge letters even over a decade after his death, but written, obviously, by other authors.) I wonder. Brosnan and his Love Punch co-star Emma Thompson round out the cast, along with Angela Bassett (Alias). I absolutely loved one McTeigue movie so far, V for Vendetta, but felt quite the opposite way about his follow-up, Ninja Assassin (review here). Hopefully he'll be in V form for Survivor! Shooting is scheduled to get underway January 20 in London.

Before then, Brosnan will shoot The Coup in Thailand, with cameras scheduled to finally roll later this month on a project we first heard about over a year ago which was originally supposed to film last fall. Owen Wilson stars in that one, as a father trying to get his family to safety when the Southeast Asian country they're living in erupts in a violent coup. Brosnan plays some sort of mysterious government operative... and you know I love it when Brosnan plays government operatives! Lake Bell joined the cast this week as well, according to The Hollywood Reporter. At some point between those two movies, Brosnan will also find time to squeeze in the dark comedy How to Make Love Like an Englishman, in which he plays a womanizing professor who finally meets his match. His After the Sunset co-star Salma Hayak just signed on this week to play that match (according to Deadline); Jessica Alba and Kristen Scott-Thomas also star. And some time in the future (presumably after Survivor), Brosnan will also star (Deadline reported last week) in I.T., a thriller he's co-producing through his company Irish DreamTime for Voltage Pictures. In that one, Pierce plays a successful book publisher who finds himself the target of a young disgruntled I.T. consultant who uses his tech savvy to ruin the publisher's life. Meanwhile, the busy Brosnan has two other films already wrapped and awaiting release (the aforementioned Love Punch and A Long Way Down, which reunites him with his Die Another Day co-star Rosamund Pike), made a scene-stealing surprise appearance in one of this summer's best comedies (due out on DVD this fall), and starred in the really wonderful Swedish romantic dramady Love Is All You Need, which just came out in America on DVD and Blu-ray. (Seriously, check this one out. It's surprisingly good.) And he found time to star in a Bondian pictorial (pictured) promoting fall 2013 menswear for Hackett of London shot by frequent 007 photographer Terry O'Neill! (That's also worth checking out, as it finally pairs a modern Bond with a modern Bentley, a match I've wanted to see for years.) Whew! That's quite an active schedule. Go Pierce!


Quiller said...

Hi Tanner,

It may not be a fair comparison, given where each of the five men was in his career when his Bond tenure ended, but nonetheless I think Brosnan is having the best, richest, and most varied post-Bond career of any actor to play the role save Connery. (And don't get me wrong, I suspect Daniel Craig will impress us once he hangs it up, too.) It's an amazing run, even before his formal departure: Tailor of Panama, Evelyn, Seraphim Falls, Mamma Mia! , Married Life, The Ghost Writer, The Greatest, Remember Me, Love Is All You Need, and with Love Punch, A Long Way Down and November Man yet to come. Were they all gigantic box office hits? No, but Brosnan entered a very different post-Bond world than Connery did in 1971, and in my opinion he's done very, very well indeed.

Regarding Phil Shelby: I'd say it's better than even money that it is indeed the same Philip Shelby who co-wrote Ludlum's Covert-One novels. The reason is that the logline of Survivor is all but identical to the plot of Shelby's 1998 novel Gatekeeper. I thought that Gatekeeper was probably the best of the thrillers Shelby wrote in the late '90s, but it was all too clear by then that he had his formula and was sticking to it: implausibly beautiful female government employee with tragic past + handsome male government agent + fearsome international assassin with spooky nickname + high-level international conspiracy = bestselling page turner. The heroine of Gatekeeper is a low-level drone at the U.S. Embassy in Paris who does get framed for a crime she didn’t commit, does go on the run, and does end up trying to stop a terrorist attack at the Statue of Liberty. And the male lead works for a secret government agency that surveills and tracks the world’s most notorious free-lance assassins and tries to prevent them from entering the U.S. Mind you, I’m not complaining: there aren’t nearly enough non-franchise government/political/conspiracy thrillers being made these days, and with that cast, this is something I’ll definitely see.

Becky said...

I LOVED Pierce Bronson as James Bond, and I hope that he continues to make movies for many years to come. In fact, there is a great political thriller book, "No One Can Know" by Adrienne LaCava, that takes place during the time of the JFK assassination, that I would love to see made into a movie, with him as the main character. The book takes a unique hook around a still riveting, real mystery- It would be such an amazing movie, especially if he played in it.


Tanner said...

Thanks for the additional intel, Quiller! Yes, it certainly does sound like that's the same Shelby. I haven't read any of his work. Well, repeating the same formula worked out OK for Dan Brown! If it's so similar to Gatekeeper, I wonder why it's not just an adaptation of Gatekeeper? (And can you think of a part from that that Brosnan might be playing?) Hm. Either way, it sounds good and I'm excited about it!

I would certainly agree that Brosnan has had a robust and varied career since leaving Bond. (Though my favorite of his, The Tailor of Panama, was made during his 007 tenure.) Save Connery, yes, for sure. But I think he's still searching for his Man Who Would Be King, Untouchables or Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in terms of post-Bond box office success AND critical accolades combined. And I hope he gets it! I'm glad that he's keeping things so varied.

adriennelacava said...

Hi Tanner, I'm glad to find your blog because I've loved 007 since Goldfinger in 1964-which happens to be the year my historical novel is set with, coincidentally, a spy at its heart. Becky, I'm late to this conversation but had to say thanks for the shout out for, "No One Can Know." Since the launch last month she's continued to draw strong reviews (twelve 5-star on Amazon out of 18 so far). Almost every reader says they feel they can see the action, that their sense of place is strong, and so I see your tie-in here. I'm smitten with the sixties (adriennelacava.com), and spies of the times. Tanner and Quiller, my book is a crossover action and character, and I'd love to send either of you a copy in exchange for comment. In all cases, Becky, I know you have tons of options and I am grateful when any reader invests in a new author! We have to get discovered after all and your comment helps me out, besides putting a smile on my face. Happiest of blessings to all of you and yours for Thanksgiving. ~Adrienne