Pierce Brosnan’s next film is of the small, art-house variety, but the role was closer to his heart than anything he’s ever done before.
Brosnan – who turns 60 in May, believe it or not – plays a grieving, rich widower who falls in love with a hairdresser with cancer in Love Is All You Need. The film is by Susanne Bier, the Danish writer/director who won an Oscar in 2010 for her foreign language film In a Better World.
Brosnan lost his first wife Cassie to ovarian cancer in 1991. They were parents to a son, and Brosnan also adopted her two children from a previous marriage. The pain of losing his 41-year-old wife stays with Brosnan to this day, he says, and he used his experience to infuse genuine passion into the role.
“I went through it all, very publicly,” Brosnan told the Daily Mail on Sunday. “Such things draw a mark across your heart and it’s always a part of your life. To watch someone you love have their life eaten away – bit by bit, by this insidious and horrid disease – becomes an indelible part of your psyche.
“It certainly did for me and, of course, when I received this script, the challenge of playing this part was not lost on me.”
Brosnan feels fortunate that he was eventually able to start a new life with Keely Shaye Smith, an American journalist who he married in 2001. They have two sons together, and Brosnan says Keely makes a point of always remembering Cassie.
“I know there’s hope and that you have to learn to get on with it. Ups and downs are what life is all about. But the memory of Cassie and her fight against cancer is never forgotten,” he says.
“Keely has always been kind and compassionate and encouraged me to mourn Cassie. I think of Cassie all the time – my son Sean is also her son, of course, and he’s 29 now.
“Cancer is a very sad thing but you can always take something from every experience. This film is proof of that. I’ve always been a positive thinker. I suppose Keely is my North Star, always looking out for me.”
Brosnan has two other movies scheduled for release this year, and then he’s off to Thailand to film The Coup, an action flick that co-stars Owen Wilson.
“I’m very busy, but I work hard at finding all this work. At the moment, I seem to be traveling, ever the gipsy,” he says.
“Shooting in Paris, I just had the strongest desire to maybe move there. I told Keely and she groaned that we’d just finished [our] house in Malibu.”
Love Is All You Need opens in limited release on May 3.