Being Pierce Brosnan on James Bond, working with Robin Williams and singing with Meryl Streep

Every generation has its own James Bond. For people who came of age in the ’90s and early ’80s, Pierce Brosnan is pretty much indistinguishable from 007. For GQ’s Iconic Characters series, Brosnan addressed his biggest roles — none of which, of course, are more iconic than Bond.

Brosnan explains that he took over the role from beloved previous Bonds to star in the 1995s Gold eye required a careful blend of respect and innovation…”For me, it was trying to walk a line between Roger [Moore] and Sean Connery and not being afraid to take time off from their jobs,” Brosnan says. “I have allowed myself the grace to try and get the sense of humor that both men brought to the role.” Along with the mental pressure of playing James Bond, his iteration had an added physicality. “You get chipped, you get sprained, you pull muscles, you get stitches,” Brosnan explains.

When Brosnan wasn’t playing an international spy, he was busy in Hollywood. Collaboration with Robin Williams in Mrs Doubtfire provided a highlight. “He leads with his heart and soul and every fiber of his being,” Brosnan says of his late co-star. “I went to work on this film every day and I’ve always worked with Mrs. Doubtfire. It wasn’t until the end of the film that I met Robin.”

Brosnan’s career took another surprising turn as fans watched as he sang to the heart of the one and only Meryl Streep Oh mom. “It was scary doing those songs,” says Brosnan. However, the actor found solace in his co-stars Stellan Skarsgård and Colin Firth on the day they recorded the soundtrack. “[They] Looks[ed] like rabbits in headlights. They were horrified. We were all scared.”

In 2010 he played a former British Prime Minister with a complicated past in Roman Polanski The Ghost Writer. Brosnan recalls Polanski insisting, “‘No, no, it’s not about Tony Blair,’ but all roads lead to Tony Blair, so I looked at Tony Blair.”

You already know Pierce Brosnan: the legendary Irish actor – a Bond. Maybe the most charming man in the world. Now meet his model-musician-filmmaker sons Dylan and Paris, two of the only people in the world who can resist his charms.