How Pierce Brosnan Drew From His Personal Life to Play a King in the New Cinderella

For Brosnan, this revitalized Cinderella is a film that will stand the test of time.

Millions of moviegoers remember swooning over Pierce Brosnan as the suave James Bond, but he’s never been as attractive as he was talking to us about why he thinks the new Cinderella is a much-needed refresh.

“The film celebrates gender equality and the empowerment of young women,” Brosnan tells KCM. “We’re at a time now in society, in the world, where we really just have to embrace each other, celebrate our differences, and not be shameful of each other,” he says. “It’s just common sense.”

In the new Cinderella movie, written and directed by Kay Cannon (Pitch Perfect), he plays a relentless King Rowan — a.k.a. the prince’s father — who learns a thing or two about gender equality as the story unfolds.

Filled with pop song renditions, the new Cinderella is a refreshing and, dare we say, relatable take on the original story — and it challenges the gender norms the original relied on. Instead of a meek and repressed Cinderella, Camila Cabello shines as an empowering, goal-oriented (still slightly repressed) goofball. And Billy Porter, who won the Tony Award for Best Actor in Kinky Boots in 2013, wows as “Fab G” — her fairy godmother.

Amazon Prime’s Cinderella pays extra attention to the marriage of the king and queen (played by Minnie Driver), and the king and prince’s relationship (which follows the classic father-son, “Do what I say!” trope). 

Pierce Brosnan stars as King Rowan, alongside his queen, played by Minnie Driver, in the new Cinderella (Amazon Prime).

Brosnan related to both of these relationship dynamics — having celebrated 20 years of marriage this year to his wife Keely Shaye Smith, and being a father to four sons.

“I’ve been a father joyfully so, and sometimes not joyfully so, because there’s trials and tribulations with being a father to young men,” he explains. “So, I thought the film had sincerity and was well-written in that respect.”  

The film also dives into the king and queen’s marriage, showcasing how easy it is for romance to fade. As Brosnan points out, “King Rowan is a narcissistic, self-centered man, who wants to go chase the sea monster, and who wants his son to be married off to the neighboring kings so he can possess the land.” But in pursuing this, he risks destroying his marriage and losing his wife. 

So, what advice would Brosnan give to King Rowan about keeping the spark alive? “Embrace the one you love and be grateful that she has stayed with you for so long,” Brosnan says. “She has helped you endure so many years together. Keely and I — we still like each other and we bicker well. We actually live a really simple life.” 

Part of that simple life he leads is painting. “I’m an artist and a painter. Between jobs, that keeps me alive,” Brosnan says.

He set up his own painting studio on the set of Cinderella. Drawing from his regal role while filming, he painted six pieces, “which are self-portraits of confused, angry, and foolish kings,” he says. Once you see his performance, you’ll understand the connection between those visions and King Rowan.

Straddling two worlds is a common theme in Brosnan’s life. When he took on the role of James Bond in 1995, he says, “Sean [Connery] was my James Bond. Roger [Moore] was my James Bond. I was caught between those two worlds and somehow I tried to traverse that reality and find myself within it.” 

While the next James Bond is yet to be named, Brosnan says, “I couldn’t really tell the next man what to do. He has to find his own path. Simple as that.” 

In the end, for Brosnan, ultimate success (whether it’s for the next James Bond successor, or in his own acting pursuits) is found in “good writing — it starts right there,” he says. And he found that to be true in his latest film. “At this moment in time in cinema, in storytelling, and the #MeToo movement, Cinderella is a film that has been dusted off and revitalized. It’s ultimately just great entertainment and it’s a wonderful night for the whole family.”