Critics saw the show as longer on style than substance, but its style holds up; the show is a perfect retro-’80s stream, a Champagne bubble bath for your brain. Ratings were good and the gig ran for five seasons. Brosnan splurged on art supplies, which went into a cupboard. “I was on American TV and I was earning a lovely wage and I thought, now is the time to paint. And all I did was work.”
Harris got sick around 1986. One night the following year, Brosnan says, “Carrying the weight and pain and the fear of that illness, I took out the paints. And started painting. With my fingers. With my hands, actually.”
That canvas will be in the show. “That’s how we start – heavy. But beautiful, beautiful.”
Remington Steele got the attention of the legendary James Bond producer Albert Broccoli, who, the story goes, saw Brosnan’s photo and said, “If he can act, he’s my guy.” US network NBC got wind of this and kept Brosnan under contract for another curtailed season; the next Bond would be Timothy Dalton. But Brosnan would be the next next Bond – he took over the role, starting with 1995’s GoldenEye.
For the record, Brosnan has never had a few drinks and played the Nintendo 64 game GoldenEye 007 – has never played it at all, in fact, except once, on TV, with Jimmy Fallon. The game might be the most fondly remembered aspect of the Brosnan Bond era, but the movies get a bad rap – they’re the last Bonds with a touch of camp, an echo of Roger Moore’s arched eyebrow.
Around 2004, the Bond producers rang him in the Bahamas to let him know they were going another way. He was briefly pissed off – “It’s bloody frustrating that the fuckers pulled the rug when they did,” he told Playboy in 2005 – and then relieved to be free. His successor, Daniel Craig, glowered through five films, a haunted-badass Bond for increasingly dismal geopolitical times. Now Craig’s time is over, and another reinvention is imminent. Brosnan answers the question he knows is coming: “Who should do it? I don’t care,” he says.
“It’ll be interesting to see who they get, who the man shall be,” Brosnan continues, in a tone that indicates it’s maybe not actually that interesting. “Whoever he be, I wish him well.”
“I saw the last one,” he says, “and I saw Skyfall. I love Skyfall. I’m not too sure about the last one.” A pause. “Daniel always gives of his heart. Very courageous, very strong. But…” he says. The thought goes unfinished.