Interview by Maranda Pleasant piercebrosnan.com
Maranda Pleasant: I love the accent. I forgot you had an accent.
PB: Thank you. Well, I have some kind of accent, I’m not sure what it is, Mid-Atlantic, Irish, English.
MP: We support Sea Shepherd. I saw that you’re on his board.
PB: Yes. He’s been a friend for many years. He’s become a superstar of the seas, but he’s still a radical man. A warrior, for sure. He’s come into close contact with annihilation a few times. He does remarkable work for the oceans and the great creatures out there.
MP: What are the things that make you feel most alive in this world?
PB: Being here by the ocean in Malibu. Living in this beautiful house that we built, that took so long to build. Being in my art studio, painting. Packing my bags tomorrow to go home to Kauai where we have a house. Which all sounds very grand, and I suppose it is, in some respects, but nothing comes from nothing. It all comes from hard work. Being with my wife and children in Kauai, seeing old friends there, being on the beach, painting, paddleboarding. Sitting under a Kauai moon with a bonfire going, buddies around. Those are the things that kind of make my world turn.
MP: Now I really want to fly to Hawaii and start a bonfire. That’s really going to make my day very difficult, thinking about that. So thank you for that. What does love mean to you?
PB: Love means that everything is right with the world. Love and only love. Love means that you are content within your own heart and in the presence of the person that you love, who fills your day and makes you stronger and wiser, and gives you the confidence to go out into the world. Love is just the most beautiful, joyous feeling. It can come from many places. Hopefully, the one who is beside you, the one who is there on the pillow beside you in the morning—my wife. We’ve been together nineteen years, we’re celebrating our nineteenth year on April 4. We’ve done a lot of life together. It’s been a great journey, a great road, and we still have lots of plans and desires and wants and wishes and plans. She’s my north star, somebody who has been a constant companion. And we seem to do well at being together and being in love and more importantly, liking each other. The like factor is a great thing. Love cannot burn constantly. It’s very hard for it to be so intense. But it’s wonderful. I tell her I love her everyday. It’s important to say that.
MP: Well, if every woman in America wasn’t in love with you already, they will be after this interview.
PB: I’m Irish, for gods sake. I’m a romantic.
MP: The accent, the looks, and he’s a romantic! And he cares about the planet!
PB: Stop it, Maranda! Who else is listening to this?
MP: What makes you feel vulnerable in life?
PB: Sickness of my family, sickness of friends. Sometimes the limited time you have. The news. Listening to the world, hearing the madness, seeing the madness of mankind and our leaders. The fragilities of our societies, the fragility of our ecosystem. The sheer shameful neglect of our leaders not to collectively get together and try to sort this planet out. China, North Korea. All of the above.
MP: Are there causes or things happening on the planet that you’re sensitive to or you’re passionate about? Organizations or causes that you’re behind?
PB: On my website there are a number of organizations that I have supported, from the NRDC to Sea Shepherd to Jane Goodall to Save the Elephants. All of these players are significant human beings and organizations. The slaughter of the elephants—it seems to have a dreadful inevitability to it, which is just absolutely shocking and appalling. You don’t see it on the news at night, you don’t hear the drum loudly enough through the static of other issues. So the demise of that creature will come with such a death knell, if we don’t really collectively pull together and try to stop the trade that’s going on and the slaughter for the Asian market. That has to be done through the young people, really, because those are the ones that will stand up and say, No, this is unacceptable.
MP: Do you have a daily routine, a way that you keep your center and your balance?
PB: Play tennis in the morning after dropping the boys at school. Then I go to the gym and I come home. Make a cup of coffee, go up to my studio, and paint for a while. Read scripts, answer phone calls, have lunch with Keely. Then I go back to the studio and paint for a while. Pick the boys up from school. That’s about it, really. It’s very simple. I live a very simple existence when I’m not on the road. Because when I’m on the road making a movie, I’m away from home. The next destination is Croatia. Last year I was in Sorrento, Mallorca, London, Tokyo. When I’m home, I’m home.
MP: About the film, Love is All You Need—is there something about it that you connect with on an emotional level?
PB: It’s a movie about a woman with cancer. There’s a man who watched his wife suffer and endure the greatest emotional havoc and physical havoc from cancer. That leaves an indelible mark. So the film connected to me initially on that level, but it’s not all about that—it’s about love. It’s about this woman who has breast cancer and is fighting the good fight with family, a son and daughter and a husband—who’s an idiot. The daughter’s getting married in Sorrento and she bumps into a very grouchy guy like me. They fall in love. It’s about a wedding, really. Susanne Bier directed it. She makes very intricate, complex, human stories. It’s like a Mama Mia! Luckily, I don’t sing. There’s no singing. The world is safe. You don’t have to endure my dulcet songs. But it’s a beautiful film. I love this film. It’s like a warm embrace. And so for any man or woman who is suffering through all of the onslaught of cancer or anything like that, this is a delightful film. It’s not sad, it’s joyous. It’s about family. And it looks ravishing!
MP: It looks ravishing! I love the way you say that.
PB: You’re just having a good old chuckle here, Maranda.
MP: I just interviewed Ram Dass yesterday, and he was like, “Do you ever stop laughing?”
PB: Oh, he’s a good one.
MP: He’s so great. He was like, “You need to love everyone.” I’m like, “I can’t do that.” He said, “Maranda, I need you to love everyone.”
PB: You need to love everyone, Maranda, you do.
MP: Oh no, Pierce and Ram Dass tell me in one week!
PB: You do, darling, just keep loving and hold that thought.
MP: It’s a constant meditation. I didn’t realize you were a painter. I financed this magazine through my artwork. What do you paint?
PB: I paint in oils, I paint in acrylics. I paint figurative and landscape portraits. It’s all in my own kind of style. I’m self-taught. I was a commercial artist when I left school, but luckily I became an actor. I’ve painted for many, many years. Now the last few years it’s gotten more serious. Thinking about and hoping I will put on an exhibit and make a book shortly. Maybe next year.
MP: Now he’s a painter, oh god. Put that on the list.
PB: He paints like he sings and he acts like he sings. It’s all a game, Maranda. It’s all a game. The thing is to get away with it! Get away with it, great!
MP: I have a PhD in getting away with it!
PB: So there you go! Wonderful. Thank you so much.
MP: Anything else you want to say about the film?
PB: I love the film and I think anyone who sees it will have a wonderful evening in the theater. Any woman and any family who is enduring such rigors of cancer, breast cancer, will come away a little bit happier, stronger, and full of life. There you go.