Pierce Brosnan on Working With Jackie Chan, Breathing Fire, and Being a Former ‘Sexiest Man Alive’

Pierce Brosnan
 Ray Tamarra / Contributor / Getty Images

The Foreigner star’s gone home with Charles Bronson’s dirty laundry and blew up his mouth on The Muppets. Let him reveal how.

Is it true you’ve often been mistaken for Charles Bronson?

They’ve always gotten me confused with Charlie Bronson. I actually knew Charles, huge fan of the dude, Death Wish and all.

They used to accidentally give me his laundry when I’d go to pick up mine in Malibu all those years ago.

I’d get it home, and it would be just the wrong attire. I don’t know if he ever got my laundry, I never asked him. I should have. “Charlie, have you seen some of my aloha shirts? C’mon, Charlie, give us some aloha!” He was very serious.

Word on the street is you have fire-breathing skills.

I do, though I gave my final performance on The Muppets, as James Bond.

It worked in rehearsal, blew them all away. Then we went for a take, and the prop guy said, “Hey, man, I’ve got this [fuel], it’s clean, it doesn’t smell, it doesn’t taste.” I said, “Shit, that’s great. Let’s use that.”

So we went into the song, “Hot Hot Hot”. I blew the flame, fucking thing came back into my mouth and blew my mouth up. It was crazy. It was like rocket fuel.

And there were kids there, moms and dads. It’s on YouTube.

GoldenEye 007 on Nintendo 64 is considered one of the best video games in history. Ever play it?

I tried to play with my boys when they were little, and I think I shot myself in the foot.

I did play on Jimmy Fallon once. I don’t remember who won, but Jimmy cheats anyway, so don’t trust him. Underneath all that bonhomie and laughter there’s a mean-hearted, competitive soul—just wants to win, win, win. Love you, Jimmy!

Do you have any killer stunt showdowns with Jackie Chan in your new film, The Foreigner?

He’s actually chasing me the whole time, so we have no real fight sequences—it’s more of a thriller.

But Jackie was just amazing to watch. Now, I did the fight sequences in Bond: So many hits to the neck over the years, I got spurs in my neck; I hung and swung on wires, did driving, motorcycle, and water work.

But nothing like Jackie—when he releases the Kraken, it’s like, wow, man! You’re in the presence of a grandmaster. He was a real joy to be around.

As a longtime environmentalist, what issues are you particularly concerned about these days?

All of them, really. Though my wife, Keeley, has a movie called Poisoning Paradise, a documentary about what’s happening with pesticides and GMO here in our home of 15 years, Kauai.

An assault on the land has been taking place in secrecy, unbeknownst to the community.

In 2001 you were named People’s Sexiest Man Alive. Was it all a new life after that?

It certainly wasn’t.

It’s all a game, a merry old dance, mate. A lot of “Oh, thank you very much!” You just take it lightly and move through the fair, get on with your life.

When I had my photograph taken, I looked like an Irish farmer. That’s all I remember, thinking, “Oh, dear.”

The Foreigner premieres October 13.