Wednesday, 19 September 2012

When The Incredible Suit Met James Bond: Episode One In A Series Of Six (With Any Luck)

Until yesterday, I'd never met a James Bond. I'd met a Tracy Bond, which was nice, but not quite the same. Somehow, of the six actors who've played the character that I've become unhealthily fixated on for the last *cough*ty years, none have ever crossed my path.

Yesterday, though, I met James The Fifth: Pierce Brosnan, and it was possibly one of the most exciting things that's ever happened to anyone anywhere. I realise that some people meet film stars all the time, and some people never meet any, so how relevant or interesting the rest of this post is to you is out of my control. In all honesty I'm writing it more for myself so that when I'm a hundred and seventeen years old I can look back at this and think: "That was a good day. Also, where did this massive pool of piss come from?"
The excitement began when some friends alerted me to the fact that Brosnan was filming just down the road from where I work, and had been seen mooching about in a nearby café. I ummed and aahed about whether to go and stalk him or not, then decided that I had nothing a) to lose and b) else to do, so off I went with a spring in my step and a slightly increased heart rate.

On approaching the area it was clear that this was a fairly relaxed location shoot: all those guys with puffa jackets and clipboards and rolls of gaffer tape hanging off their belts were there, but I could happily walk through them all without hindrance. Then I noticed a crowd of people on some steps, all taking photos of someone or something I couldn't quite see. My detective skills led me to suspect that this could well be where I might find The Broz.

I rounded a large man in a paramedic's uniform (detective's analysis: he was either a paramedic or an actor dressed as a paramedic), and there he was. Pierce Brosnan was sat in a chair six feet from me, next to a man I didn't recognise. I assumed he was the director. I was wrong, but more on that later. They were deeply interested in the other man's phone, oblivious to the amateur paparazzi, so I took the chance to crack off a few action shots:
ACTION

ACTION

ACTION

After a while the other man's phone must have lost its attraction, because both men stood up and sauntered through the crowd of amazed onlookers and into the café. In case you find this difficult to believe, here's a shot of Pierce Brosnan standing up.
At this point I had two options:
Option 1. Go back to work with my photos of Pierce Brosnan and a strange man and feel quite pleased with myself.
Option 2. Take a deep breath, walk into the café and attempt contact with James Flipping Bond.
I chose Option 2, because 117-year-old me would never have forgiven me if I hadn't.

Mildly terrified, I stepped into the café. It was tiny. There were about eight people in there and it was full. But there, right in front of me, looking straight at me, was six foot two of fifty-nine-year-old Irishman in a long black overcoat, dark blue jeans and a blue silk scarf round his neck. As handsome as ever, his blue gimlet eyes twinkled in the depressing fluorescent light of a London snack stop. It was all I could do not to run at him in slow motion and hug him, thanking him for the good times and politely ignoring Die Another Day.

With herculean willpower I resisted that temptation, and instead plumped for the second thing that came into my head, after "FFFUUUUUUUUUU":

"Hello", I said, and thrust my hand out.

"Hello", PIERCE BROSNAN said, to ME, and SHOOK MY HAND. He smiled the smile of a man who doesn't know if he's just met a script supervisor or an assassin.

"I just wanted to say hello", I continued, which was a lie. I wanted so much more. I decided to explain why I was harrassing him when he was just trying to get a latte. "I'm a massive Bond fan", I said, knowing full well that he couldn't care less. It's no secret that while he's grateful for what Bond did for him, he left the series under a cloud and would probably much rather someone approached him and said "I'm a massive Grey Owl fan. Your portrayal of the Canadian fur trapper turned conservationist was inspirational. I'll leave you alone now."
This actually exists

But leave him alone I did not. Also I've never seen Grey Owl. He looked into the distance, perhaps wistfully, perhaps wondering why his coffee was taking so bloody long, and said: "Ah, yes. They are good, aren't they", in much the same way that you or I might talk about washing machines.

He turned to look at me again, probably wondering how much longer this torture would end, and it was at this point that I completely lost my shit. I honestly believed I was above embarrassing myself in front of celebrities, but that turned out not to be the case. Totally involuntarily, the words "Sorry, I'm just so excited" tumbled out of my face like fizzy froth spurting out of a shaken lemonade bottle, and I actually clamped my hand over my mouth before any more inane cockwaffle spilled out.

Despite all the justification for doing so, Pierce Brosnan did not run away. He merely eyed me with a small amount of sympathy and waited for my next ejaculation. I gathered myself and asked him what he was working on.

"It's a Nick Hornby film called A Long Way Down", he said. This triggered something in my mind so, in an attempt to prolong the life of this clinically dead conversation, I replied: "Oh yeah, I read something about that this morning... somebody's just been cast... a woman?" I had literally no idea what I was talking about. I'd actually seen a press release on Monday announcing the start of principal photography on A Long Way Down, but it said nothing about anyone being recently cast. I was babbling.

"Sorry?", Brosnan enquired, correctly ascertaining that I was beginning to collapse from the inside out. "Uh... I read that, er... a lady had been cast in it. Quite recently", I wittered. Jesus Christ.

At this point Brosnan, mercifully, decided to engage PR mode, and began to reel off the cast members who had, no doubt, been tied down for some time. "Yeah, we've got Sam Neill, Imogen Poots, Toni Collette...", he explained. I mumbled some vague interested noises while the small part of my brain that still functioned slowly realised that the moustachioed phone-wielding man Brosnan had been sat with was in fact DOCTOR ALAN GRANT OFF OF JURASSIC PARK. Under normal circumstances I would have gone and pestered him too, but these were not normal circumstances. I had a mission to accomplish. I wanted photographic evidence that I had met James Bond, as further proof to my elderly future self.

"Have you got a second for a quick photo?", I asked, and the fluorescent lights of the café were suddenly extinguished by a cloud the colour of Guinness. Pierce Brosnan did not answer. He looked at me with an expression that conveyed exactly how much he wanted to have his photo taken: not at all. But he didn't say no, and I'd come this far. I wasn't about to give up, and he could see it in my manic, goggling eyes and beetroot-red cheeks. "Go on then," he said, with all the enthusiasm he might have used if I was a dentist about to remove all his teeth.

I attempted to take a photo of the two of us myself, with my phone. The task was complicated by the fact that pointing the phone at myself meant I couldn't see where to press, not to mention that my hands were shaking like one of those paint-mixing machines in B&Q. None of this escaped Brosnan's notice. "Good luck", he said, with no small amount of pity.

The photo didn't work. This was excruciating. As thrilled as I was to be in Pierce Brosnan's presence, I had pissed him off and wanted nothing more than to leave him alone with his latte and his paleontologist chum. But I was determined, running on adrenaline and vaguely aware that I had personally contributed quite heavily to Brosnan's fame and fortune, so by crikey I was going to get this goddamn photograph.

I nervously explained to Brosnan that the attempt had failed and asked if he wouldn't mind if I got someone else to take it. Again, that look. Time - and his patience - were running out. But again, he acquiesced. I grabbed a nearby crew member and asked him to take the photo, which he did with minimal fuss, thank Christ. "There you go", said Pierce Brosnan. "Thank you very much," I replied, as he started to sidle away. "I appreciate your time". For some reason I gave him a friendly pat on the upper arm as he left, like we were brothers or something. He mumbled some words as he wandered away which could equally have been "You're welcome" or "You'll be hearing from my lawyers". I didn't care. I had the photo. I'd met James Bond. And he was almost as excited as I was.



Further reading

17 comments :

  1. You soooo should have gone for Dr Grant instead. I bet he would have at least smiled. Fucking miserable Brosnan. Bet he's still whining about how he and 'QT' should have made 'Casino Royale'. Sorry Broz, after 'DAD', you should be grateful they didn't erase your Bond from the history books!

    Great piece though Neil, wonderfully expresses the total prats we can make of ourselves over... well, total prats.

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  2. I am absolutely collapsing with laughter - this is amazing! I felt like I was on the nervous, awkward journey with you.

    I particularly like how you've 'X'ed Brosnan off the list at the bottom - because nothing screams POTENTIAL FANATIC SERIAL KILLER / LAW SUIT like a red cross hacked across a man's chest. Brilliant.

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  3. This has made my day, brilliant!

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  4. Laughed my ass off (in a good way), thanks for sharing!

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  5. It's just a shame he didn't fire off a Bondian one-liner: "Any more photographs and I might have SNAPPED."

    "I thought this would be done quick as a FLASH."

    Man, I could totally write a Bond film.

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  6. And you didn't think to mention BlogalongaBond and get some kind of ringing endorsement from the Broz?
    Fail.

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  7. I was on a Victoria line train the other day and sitting opposite me was Jonny Buckland. He was wearing casual clothes and loafers of the kind that look simple but cost a fortune. He had on the trade mark peaked cap and for the most part was bowed forward in his seat hoping, I supposed, that he could make it to his destination without being recognised as the lead guitar for Coldplay. I'm a big fan and would have liked to say hello but instead made sure I didn't catch his eye when he cast a glance upwards now and then at the route map above my head. If I reach 117 I will look back with satisfaction that like Charlie Bragg (Timothy Hutton) in Lymelife (2008) I had my prey lined up in my sights but did not pull the trigger. Why, Incredible Suit, did you not say "Hi Brozzer, you should have won a Grammy for your singing in Mama Mia!"

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  8. "I am absolutely collapsing with laughter - this is amazing! I felt like I was on the nervous, awkward journey with you."

    Felt the exact same way. I always imagined what it would be like if I ever met one of the legendary six. My mind was racing when I met Brit Ekland (from The Man With the Golden Gun) back in May, but I think my heart would explode if I ever met a Bond. Great article!

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  9. Oh, I forgot to say your Philip Roth candour is as funny as Portnoy's Complaint. I was squirming with embarrassment for you as I read your hilarious non-Bonding with Brosnan.

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  10. And of course both Pierce and Sam auditioned for Bond in '86. Wonder if they were discussing this.

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  11. I'm laughing and cringing. Great story.

    That recent lady cast would be Rosamund Pike. Maybe he was afraid to mention it otherwise you'd start babbling about DAD.

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  12. so you pissed your pants infront of james bond..imagine if it was daneil craig LOL.

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  13. Absolutely excruciating Neill. I mean...fair play. Look at his big sad face!! If it's any consolation I read that book A Long Way Down and thought it shit.

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  14. Loved your story! I would've been the same way, I'm sure. LOL I actually just moved to Los Angeles, and knowing the street lives on in Malibu, I drove down when I had friends in town for Thanksgiving. Crazy thing happened, as we drove down the street, there he was, standing right in front of his house!!! I was so nervous that I couldn't stop to say hello, because he kind of glared at us as we drove slowly by. I wanted so badly to stop and say Hi and ask for a picture, but knew he probably wouldn't like that being that it was right in front of his house, with his son and his son's friend there. :/ I'll be making visits to Malibu in hopes of running into him someday, though!!

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  15. Incredible Suit that was an incredible story...everything I ever imagined meeting Brosnan would be like and more! I commend u for your bravely and persistence!

    i am now thinking what u could have said to him that may have impressed him or something abit better (as im sure you also did afterward) ...obviously bond is a touchy subject as its too obvious (& he wanted to go on and do more but they rebooted)..maybe you couldve brought up the lost Quentin Tarantino Casino Royale like oh man that wouldve been so awesome but then that mightve annoyed him as it wouldve been such a huge deal and hed have been in a QT film and all that wouldve entailed (plus its not as if the Craig CR was bad - everyone knows it was beyond awesome and everyone was blown away by Craig - and it totally blew away the last 2 brosnan films)...maybe u couldve brought up Skyfall which was due then? but then that mightve pissed him off he wasn't in it and that Craig was doing so well...

    maybe bringing up something obscure that he wouldn't normally get asked about (like Moore with The man who Haunted Himself) ...but what? Grey Owl? how could u go into depth about that? mars attacks? no one digs it really..those post bond films like Matador? Meh.. what about Taffin?.LawnmowerMan? Doubtfire? Mia? (I don't see how anyone could strike up a converse about those unless it was in a bar and abit of a joke but meeting Brosnan full on sober as you were would be no joke!) ...what about Remington Steel? Considering it cost him being bond ten years before he was hed have probably throttled you

    no i think u did the correct thing talking about the film he was working on..and also that u said u were a bond fan so at least he knew instantly what he was dealing with/put him at ease and that ud inevitability ask for the obligatory pic (so he could put on his best Bond expression especially for you )

    funny he was with S Neil - an almost Bond. In fact before Brosnan was bond id always thought those 2 were quite similar. just think if youd had a few drinks inside you/more confident maybe you could've got talking to him too and convinced them to hit the bars and clubs with you after they were done filming

    *beep* man you were in a coffee shop talking to James *beep* ing BOND! (who had just talked to Alan Grant)

    EDIT - ive just checked out some of ur site (great site i will need to check it out more) and see uve since met Craig and Moore in official ways....you got to meet the others somehow!(hopefully in similar situations to The Broz!)

    i just realised the closest ive ever come to meeting a bond was being in the same building as Moore once (but it was a huge building and i never saw him )...but i knew people who had met or come into contact with bonds and listened to their tales in awe..almost as if they were recalling some mystical event...(but ur Brosnan tale is THE best ive ever heard/read)

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  16. I thought Brosnan reacted fine, by the sounds of it. And it's your fault for not recognizing Sam Neill - I mean, it's Sam Neill! Also, Pierce has made plenty of good films - After the Sunset, Dante's Peak and The Thomas Crown Affair is my 2nd favourite film ever after North By North West - so you kind of got what you deserved. It's not like you're a real fan, anyway, you just watched his Bond films.

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