Playing a British Prime Minister, Pierce Brosnan Tries to Escape the Shadow of Tony Blair
02.18.10 by REELZ
In Roman Polanski's political thriller The Ghost Writer, Pierce Brosnan plays a former British Prime Minister who is writing his memoirs amid growing controversy over possible war crimes committed while he was in office. It's a role that has more than a passing similarity to the situation of the real former Prime Minister, Tony Blair. In fact, Robert Harris, who wrote the book on which the movie is based, has hardly been coy about just how intentional those parallels are.
Nonetheless, in an interview with UGO, Pierce Brosnan tried to put a little distance between his performance as Prime Minister Lang and the man who inspired the role.
Roman and I established right off the bat that this wasn't going to be Tony Blair. I read the book and I knew what was put down, but I wanted to make sure we didn't go down that road and we didn't discuss it ever again. It's a man who is an actor playing a Prime Minister, basically.... A man who knows his life is over as he knows it. A sham of a man holding on to a thread, and he has no qualms asking what to do in the company of lawyers or anyone. But he can still make speeches with an oratorical voice.
Fair enough. Brosnan doesn't try to assume Blair's personality for the role. But in other interviews he's intimated that the situational similarities were always fairly near the surface, and perhaps something more as well.
Earlier, Brosnan confessed to the LA Times that his decision to play the Prime Minister as "a tragic, lost, broken man" was in part inspired by some photographs of Blair that the director had shared with him, including one in which he had, as Brosnan puts it, a "clenched-teeth, chipmunk-style, little-boy-lost-in-the-woods, 'I didn't do it, I didn't do it'" expression on his face.