Pierce Brosnan will be on hand for the world premiere of the ambitious new AMC series.
This weekend, our cover guy Pierce Brosnan will make a return to trip to Austin — where, last year, he filmed most of the upcoming AMC series The Son — for two special premiere presentations of the drama’s first two episodes. But wait, there’s more: He will be accompanied by Philipp Meyer, executive producer of The Son and author of the best-selling novel on which it is based; and showrunner and executive producer Kevin Murphy.
The three men will be on hand for an on-stage Q&A after the SXSW Film Festival's world premiere screening of The Son at 7 pm Sunday, March 12, at the ZACH Theatre. The following day, there will be an encore presentation of the two episodes during An Evening of The Son at the University of Texas’s LBJ Presidential Library. Meyer will conduct a book signing at 6 pm Monday, prior to the 7 pm screening, and join Brosnan and Murphy for another post-screening Q&A.
Brosnan dominates much of the series’ 10-episode premiere season as Eli McCullough, the powerful and ruthless paterfamilias of a Texas clan who earned a lot about eliminating enemies with brutal dispatch when, during his childhood, he was kidnapped and indoctrinated into a tribe of Comanches in 1849. Decades later, Eli is determined to maintain, and maybe expand, his oil and cattle empire — by any means necessary.
In our April 2017 issue, we chat with Brosnan about The Son. Among the highlights of our conversation:
Cowboys & Indians: You’ve been away from weekly television for nearly three decades, since the end of Remington Steele. What was there about The Son that made you want to return?
Pierce Brosnan: Basically, the work itself. The writing by Philipp Meyer, and the scripts that were sent to me that came out of left field. I had a movie that fell apart, which is not unusual, and I said to my agents, “Look, I want to work.” The next day these five episodes, the first five episodes, came in. So I sat down one day and I read them. They just enthralled me… I sat with the producers the next day at [my agent’s] office, and they talked me through it — and I said yes, and the deal was done by the end of the week. So it was the writing — and the character, and the scope of the thing… See, in this golden age of TV, you go where the work is. And right now, the best work is on TV.
C&I: How did you get inside the mind of Eli McCullough?
Brosnan: Again, I read the scripts, and the book. You know, you get a lot from the script if you follow the chords, the beats. As for the particulars of the man — well, I’m a father, and I've lived a fair bit of life as a man, as an actor, as a father. I've had my losses in life, so you draw on all of that. I know something of the world — not particularly the world of 1915, but you read the scripts, and the rest is your imagination. You bring it home to yourself. You let your own self be the character. And then, I don’t know, you step onto the set and something happens. You begin to move in a different way. I mean, this man would strap on a gun every day of his life.
C&I: And he knew he might have to use it every day of his life.
Brosnan: That’s right. You have a weapon strapped to your side. Eli’s entire life is violence. And he was the last man standing too many times to count. His life has been surrounded by war. He also knows that you cannot just wish violence away, you have to control it. If you feel there is going to be a fight, you throw the first punch. If there's going to be a war, you don't leave any survivors. So, he's a brutal character. But he also loves people. He loves mankind. But he was just born in that era, you know? Born into a lifetime of war.
C&I: At the same time, though, he’s not so bound by the past that he can’t see the future. Early in the first episode, he states that the age of the cattle baron is over — and in order to survive, he must drill for oil.
Brosnan: Yeah. And he does. If there's anything that defines Eli, it's a kind of flexibility in how he deals with the world, and a total lack of sentimentality. He is a forward-thinking man. He’s a man who’s constantly pushing himself, and still learning. And his mind is open to the world. Or at least he hopes it is.
The old days, did he like them better? You know, those days when there were no fences around, and there was lots of game, and you could run a hundred miles without seeing a man's footprint. He loved those times. Of course he did. He knows that he was lucky to have seen those days, and he feels a sorrow for those who didn't.
But he knows those days are not coming back, and he's not a man to waste time and energy on bullshit.
Read more our Q&A with Pierce Brosnan — and our accompanying feature about the production of The Son, which debuts April 8 on AMC — in our April 2017 issue, now available wherever fine magazines are sold.