​Pierce Brosnan re-ups for the spy genre

His name is Brosnan ... Pierce Brosnan. And he played secret agent James Bond in the 1997 movie "Tomorrow Never Dies" and three other films. A few days before this weekend's storm clouds gathered, our Lee Cowan traveled to Brosnan's island retreat -- for a Sunday Profile:

If you could pick a spot for a former James Bond to sit back and relax, you'd be hard-pressed to find a hideaway more perfect than Hawaii. A little surf, a little sand, perhaps a little martini -- shaken, not stirred, of course -- and if Pierce Brosnan is lucky, a little privacy, too.

When asked his favorite activity on the islands, Brosnan replied, "Just hang! Play golf, play tennis."

And how is his golf game? "Miserable. Tragic. Humiliating, but I love it."

Ever since his role as 007 made him a superstar, Brosnan has made Kauai his part-time home. It's the reward for a life lived as the world's most recognizable spy, and he's happy to share the beauty of it all -- he even let Cowan borrow his paddle board.

"It's a very elegant sport," Brosnan said. "I mean, you don't have to work that hard at it."

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Pierce Brosnan (right) and correspondent Lee Cowan on the water at Kauai.
CBS News

But while it may look like retirement, Brosnan is hardly resting on the laurels from his days in MI6.

"There's still a hunger, there's still a need and a desire to go out there and get better and to find that definitive role," he said, "where you do (click) I've nailed it. That's mine. All mine."

"And you don't think you've found that yet?" Cowan asked.

"Oh, you do, but you know, it doesn't last long on the taste buds. You want to do it again."

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Pierce Brosnan in "The November Man."
Relativity
And do it again, he has -- he's made seven films just in the last two years.

His latest, "The November Man," has him back in familiar territory playing a gracefully-aging agent -- lured back into the CIA for one final mission.

"This kind of gave us the opportunity to do what I wanted to do within the Bond movies," he said, "and certainly where I was going in the last Bond movie -- just to have a hard-nosed, badass character. Somebody who pulls no punches. Somebody where the blood is real."

"Did it take a little convincing to get back into the spy genre again?" Cowan asked.

"No, not a all," Brosnan replied. "It just seemed like a good idea to go into the espionage game again, to go back into that genre, that terrain."

And does he find it any easier, in his early 60s? "Oh God, no. The bones ache a little more."

Understandably so. For 10 years, over the course of four Bond films, Brosnan took all manner of punishment -- and dealt a few punishing blows, too. He admits he's a bit weary of talking about his life of theatrical espionage, but when the subject comes up it's hard to hide that unmistakable twinkle.

"It's all glorious, you know?" he laughed. "It's such a celebration. It's such a gift for any man ... It's such an iconic role, it's such a loved and cherished role.

"You can't please everyone, but you can certainly have a good time trying to do so."

Fans all have their favorite 007 -- it's a long and distinguished list of actors who've played him.

But they all have one thing in common: As hard as it is to fill James Bond's shoes, it may be even harder to leave them.

"Coming out the other end, you're going to have to be tough as ol' Boots to shake off the shackles of Bond, or redefine yourself as an actor. Try to."

Cowan said, "It's a bit of a deal with the devil, I guess, to play Bond."

"But a great one. It's a good deal if you get it right."

The silver screen's dapper Englishman is actually Irish. Brosnan was born into a Catholic household along the banks of the River Boyne. But his was a solitary childhood.

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