Watch CBSN Live

Brosnan Under Siege in Polanski Film

Pierce Brosnan is back on the big screen turning on the charm and wit, and although he still has that debonair demeanor from his "Bond" days, he's evolved as an actor.

Brosnan is currently in theaters co-starring in the blockbuster fantasy "Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Lightening Thief."

On Friday, he returns in something completely different, playing a former British prime minister in Roman Polanski's mystery thriller "The Ghost Writer," based on a novel by Robert Harris. This marks Polanski's first film since "Oliver Twist" in 2005 - and according to Brosnan, the film shows "Polanski at his best."

Photos: Pierce Brosnan
Photos: Roman Polanski
Polanski's New Film Debuts in Berlin

Brosnan sat down with Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith to discuss his exciting new roles.

In "The Ghost Writer," Brosnan doesn't play Tony Blair per se, but somebody who is very Tony Blair-like.

"All roads seem to lead to one man in the book, in the screenplay, and Tony Blair was the man I hung my hat on," Brosnan said.

In the film, Ewan McGregor plays Brosnan's ghost writer hired to complete his memoirs on an island off the U.S. east coast, while Brosnan is essentially under siege from all corners. His wife, the public, the courts and the press are all angry with him.

Brosnan watched real footage of Blair as prime minister to draw inspiration and then came up with his own version of the character. Co-star Olivia Williams, who plays his wife in the film, also helped him with the character development.

"She's kind of like a Lady Macbeth-type figure that permeates her way through the piece," he explained. "So then I began to think of tragedy, Shakespearean tragedies. No specific characters, but treated it with that kind of atmospheric ambience."

The weather played a pivotal role in "The Ghost Writer," which is reflective of Polanski's directing style. The film was shot in Germany for the weather and isolation, event though it's supposed to take place in the U.S.

"Mr. Roman Polanski loves the weather and when you look at his films, he waits for the weather and uses the weather in a very foreboding way in this film," Brosnan added.

When Brosnan was offered the job, he went to Paris to meet Polanski for the first time.

"The meeting was great. I was in London promoting 'Mamma Mia.' Got the offer, read the book. Went over and met with Mr. Roman Polanski. You know what he looks like and then you sit there opposite the man and he was very pleasant," he said of the popular director, known for taking the reins on "Rosemary's Baby" and "Chinatown."

Over their three-hour lunch, the two discussed movies, life and children.

Despite Polanski's ongoing legal troubles (he is under house arrest at his chalet in Gstaad, awaiting a Swiss decision on whether to extradite him to the U.S. to face possible further sentencing in a 32-year-old sex case), he didn't bring his worries to the set.

"No, nothing was spoken about the troubles of his life, the problems of his life. It was always work, work, work. Once you went on to the stage, you were in the domain of Roman Polanski - his passion for filmmaking, his passion for the day's work."

Brosnan has had a fulfilling career, most notably for his role as "James Bond." He acknowledges that "Bond" opened many doors for him along the way.

"Oh God, you could second guess yourself so many times in a career. I'm very grateful for 'Bond.' It was a magic time in my life. It allowed me to make my own films like 'The Matador,' 'Thomas Crown' or 'The Greatest,' which is coming up with Susan Sarandon," he said. "So it was all meant to be, you know. You just go with the flow."

Taking on the role of "Percy Jackson" in the more youth-oriented film "Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Lightening Thief" has made Brosnan more hip with his brood at home.

"My boys, they loved it. My 8-year-old said, 'Dad, that's the best movie you've ever made.' He hasn't seen them all, mind you, but that was the Oscar right there for me," he gushed.

"Percy Jackson," the country's No. 2 movie, took in $38,750,000 in its first four days.

"The Ghost Writer" opens Friday in New York and Los Angeles and on March 19 nationwide.

View CBS News In