In the scorching heat of the San Fernando Valley, Pierce Brosnan is shooting Spinning Man, a new thriller from director Simon Kaijser (Stockholm East) and writer Matt Aldrich (Renny Harlin’s Cleaner), based on a novel by George Harrar. It’s being sold in Cannes by Film Bridge International and Deadline has come to set, a couple of weeks before the festival, to witness an interrogation room showdown between Brosnan’s tough detective, Robert Malloy, and Guy Pearce’s professor Evan Birch, who becomes the subject of Malloy’s investigation when a young girl goes missing and he struggles to find an alibi to clear his name.
Produced by Ellen S. Wander and Keith Arnold, the film also stars Minnie Driver, as Evan’s wife Ellen, who is also dragged into the high tension cat and mouse game. During a gap in shooting, Brosnan explains more.
How did Spinning Man come to you?
It just came to me through my agent. Guy was already attached and I like Guy very much; I love his work. Minnie Driver and I are old friends; we did GoldenEye together. Our families know one another. Simon Kaijser has proven himself to be a fine director back in Europe, and he’s got great Swedish sensibilities.
The script was intriguing and had such a mystical sense of foreboding, and it was elliptical and not everything seemed what it should be. I liked the character of Molloy. This kind of worn out guy who’s been in the department for so many years, battling with alcoholism, battling through life. And, you know, he’s not really going to seek any more promotion, and he’s probably got as far as he can. It’s in this non-specific kind of California town, and it’s a mystery. It’s a dissection of a marriage, which I certainly play a hand in. Small town, professor, wife, kids. The professor’s a bit of a naughty boy. He has an eye for the girls, and the girls have an eye for him. And one particular day, well, when the curtain goes up and these beautiful girls go missing and then I come in to investigate it.
So there’s something of a cat and mouse game with Guy’s character?
I know that there’s something not on the level with this guy. I know what’s gone on before, I know why he’s moved to this town. So, all roads point to his being the prime suspect. And yet, you know, I have doubts. It’s this kind of slow erosion of a marriage or an investigation of a marriage. Because the girl’s missing, and because of my involvement as a police officer. It throws both of the characters, Minnie’s character, Ellen, and Evan into great turmoil.
It’s more than a two-hander really. It’s a three-hander. Three principals, so it really occupies a lot of the stage.
But, it’s nice just to chip away at his psyche. I just keep showing up. He has his own, kind of, methodical way about going for the truth. It’s all about truth. What is the truth, how do you get to the truth? The truth lies in arguments, analysis, reason. Of course, he’s a philosopher, and I’m just a working guy. Malloy has plodded his way through life. Had a good education, studied law. He could’ve been a lawyer but he wanted to carry a gun. To do mighty things on the streets.
You haven’t worked with Minnie since GoldenEye, have you?
No, but it was easy. We just kind of picked up where we left off, really. We live nearby to one another, but we don’t see each other all that often. She’s a seasoned woman now. When she was there all those years ago, she was a slip of a lass, and I was a fledgling James Bond. We met on the very first day, the very first scene I did in GoldenEye, was with Robbie Coltrane and she was in the Russian club singing “Stand By Your Man” in Russian.
How would you describe Simon as a director?
He’s very prepared and passionate about the work. He moves fast, and I like that. It’s loose, and he’s allowed me to do my thing. We’ve found the character together. Put the costume together; too tight, too short, big shoes, frumpy. The detectives I’ve seen all like to have this mustache and stuff like that. The accent is kind of American, kind of my accent, something mid-Atlantic.
You’ve been prolific in the independent film world in recent years. Do you like helping these projects across the line?
I’ve always worked in the independent world. I always have, you know, I’ve been an independent actor. A commercial factor certainly comes with Bond, and other movies that I’ve done. You just weave your way in and out of business. If I was to sit on my ass and wait for the big one to arrive I’d be a very old man. Work begets work, you have to find good projects. You want good scripts. There’s so much shite that comes across my desk. There’s so much crap. So you can be dormant for the good part of the year, and then suddenly you have a flurry of projects that come along that have meaning to them. And the people behind them have a pedigree of fine workmanship. It’s not great maths to work, it’s just common sense, really. Them’s the times, you know. You’ve got to adapt, stay on your toes, stay relevant, find the work, and make sure it’s good work. It might not pay like the old days, but you have to make a living somehow. You have to have joy and a good attitude, and be excited by it. This is what I do. I don’t know what else to do at this time in life except this.