Pierce Brosnan looked relaxed enough at a Los Angeles hotel room talking up his latest film, Laws of Attraction. Brosnan was more than happy to take on an unBond-like role in this battle-of-the-sexes comedy, in which he and Julianne Moore play a pair of hugely successful, yet sparring divorce attorneys who eventually find themselves inexplicably in love and in Ireland.
Brosnan's Daniel is self-effacing, charming and in love with the idea of marriage and commitment. Are actor and character alike?
"Well, not really. I mean, it's the advantage of having your own company where you can tailor-make the part to fit you," the laid-back Irishman concedes. "Director Peter Howitt brought a lot of heart to the piece which it was in need of because it was very cynical and they were just at each other the whole time and it didn't make sense," he says.
The one thing Brosnan and his character do have in common, is their pro-marriage attitude.
"I strongly believe in marriage and that people should stay together. I don't think that it's easy... you're always going to encounter obstacles and I think you have to hang tough with your partner."
Brosnan is enjoying his second marriage to television journalist and writer Keely Shaye Smith, whom he married four years ago, nine years after the death of his first wife Cassandra. He maintains that the secret to the success of a long and happy marriage is simple.
"I think ultimately it's solving problems, because you're always going to have them in a marriage, whether it is money, in the bedroom, the in-laws, too much work or not seeing enough of each other... It's stressful at times because I want to have my cake and eat it. I want to have family life. I have two little boys now who I absolutely adore, and I have older children who have set sail in life. Also, my wife and I want to travel, so right now, without her, I think that I would be dead in the water because there's so much happening."
The actor admits "she has sacrificed a lot in the last number of years here certainly with my being Bond and it's been pretty hectic. Also forming a company like Irish Dream Time means that you're always looking ahead a year or two. You just have to keep working."
One of the lingering characters in Laws of Attraction is Ireland. The film may have been shot in Brosnan's native land for mainly economic reasons, but the actor clearly loves returning.
"Ireland wove her magic around us... everybody had the most fabulous time there once you got over the anxiety of trying to pull off making a film in Ireland with a story set in New York. There are parts of Dublin town... the old world aspect, that lends itself to the story."
Brosnan has been an established actor for some two decades, but how much does he try to distance himself from 007 when seeking out new scripts?
"I suppose there's that element in there, but I don't pick up each script thinking; 'Now I have to get away from Bond.' It's not at the top of the list. It's a message that was sent to a certain part of my brain a long time ago that I have to be aware of the roles that I play."
Why Laws of Attraction? "I wanted to do a romantic comedy and this was as good as it gets with the scripts that we looked at," he says. "I loved the premise and I loved that it made me smile... I don't really kind of worry about the 'Bond thing'."
But the Bond thing still comes up in interviews, time and time again. You would think the actor is tired of discussing the franchise.
"It's going to take a while, unless in the next five or ten years, I put down some good work and do something that surprises people. I mean, [Sean] Connery is still Bond and he'll always be a Bond, so I think that once you play the character, it's always part of your life."
Brosnan has remained cagey about the future of his participation in the Bond films, and this interview was no exception.
"You'd have to ask the producers. There seems to be a certain amount of paralysis that has set in here, paralysis of producers, producing paralysis," he says smilingly.
"I haven't signed for another 'Bond' as my contract is up after four movies. But I would love to do another one and they know where to find me. If it's meant to be, then great, and if not, that's fine."
As to bowing out with a seventh Bond, Brosnan says absolutely not.
"I'm fifty years of age now and I think that there comes a point where you just say, 'I've been there, and I've done it.' The ones that I've done have been very successful and I think that if you look at them, there's been a progression within my work there, as well an assuredness and a confidence. So, if there's to be a fifth, then great."
Certainly, Brosnan shows no signs of slowing down. When we spoke, he was getting ready to go to Mexico to shoot The Matador, co-starring Greg Kinnear and Hope Davis. Again, Brosnan is producing.
"There are bulls involved, but it's really a metaphor. I'm a hitman who's having a nervous breakdown."
Brosnan has also wrapped on After the Sunset, where he plays a thief who has retired to an island paradise after a successful last score.
As the interview winds up, Brosnan ponders over his greatest achievements.
"I think my greatest professional accomplishment is just longevity in the game and having kept up," he says. "My personal achievement is really keeping a family together, keeping our children on track as much as possible, finding love a second time around and having a good life."