You might know the Irish actor Pierce Brosnan from his stint in the Bond universe or his titular role in the detective series Remington Steele. Or you might simply know him as Robin Williams’ antagonist in Mrs. Doubtfire. However you know him, chances are you know that he is one fine hunk of man, and this has been true throughout the entirety of his very long and surprisingly robust career.
But what you might not know is that Brosnan got his start in quite a sexy way. His first onscreen role wasn’t as a British detective or a Cold Way spy, but as a sultry IRA agent-cum-honey trap in the groundbreaking British gangster film The Long Good Friday.
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John Mackenzie’s 1980 gangster flick was important for a few distinct reasons: not only was it the film that put rising actor Bob Hoskins on the map, it was one of the first features that earned serious acclaim for its production company, ex-Beatle George Harrison’s Handmade Films. Originally started as a kind of lark in order to help his pals, the men of Monty Python, get financing for their Biblical send-up Life of Brian, Handmade Films quickly made good on its promise to produce risky, exciting, gritty British films that the major studios were too conservative to take a chance on.
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One of those films, of course, was Friday, the story of Harold Shand (Hoskins) a British Tony Soprano figure trying to expand his crime empire into America. But his Thatcherite vision is quickly pulled up short after he gets embroiled in a series of hostilities with the IRA.
That’s where our friend Pierce Brosnan comes in. See Shand has in his employ a gay gangster who we’ve seen picking up hotties in the first scene. His queerness is treated with an unexpected tolerance, considering that this was 1980, a time in the UK when onscreen queerness wasn’t cast in the kindest light. And of course, our friend doesn’t get to live his happy gay existence for long, as one of the film’s first and most memorable sequences involves his death at the hands of a criminally hunky Brosnan at the public pool.
Emphasis on “criminally,” of course, as Brosnan only exists in this movie to lead our gay friend into peril. The problem is, he looks really sexy while doing it. Posing in a black speedo, Brosnan makes eyes at his mark, luring him into the private showers.
We get a lovely butt shot before heading to the showers…
Where Brosnan knifes his unsuspecting friend in the stomach.
Talk about a demon twink! And that’s not the last we see of Pierce, either. In the film’s final sequence, he reappears, gun in hand, a reminder to never, ever f*ck with the IRA.
Brosnan doesn’t have a ton of screen time in The Long Good Friday, but he certainly makes it count. Even in this early appearance, you can see the makings of a bonafide star, along with the makings of a Grade-A hunk.
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