He's been licensed to thrill cinemas for 40 years and 007 James Bond shows no sign of fading away. Neither does Pierce Brosnan who's been playing the suave spy for seven years and who turns 50 next year. With the release of much hyped 20th film Die Another Day last Wednesday, November 20, Eileen Condon finds out that Brosnan has a message for the young pretenders after his role - hands off.
THE name's Brosnan - Pierce Brosnan - and don't forget it because the super suave star has no intention of hanging up his golden gun just yet. Despite constant rumours that he won't be making any more James Bond movies, the actor says he fully intends to renew his licence to kill.
'I definitely want to do one more film. I think I could go again - and let's face it, the money is a big draw,' he grins.
The debonair Irishman is about to be seen in his fourth Bond outing in Die Another Day, which is full of the sort of eye-popping, dazzling action we've come to expect from everyone's favourite secret agent, but it's diff icult to believe that Brosnan will turn 50 in May next year.
So just how has the dark-haired, blue-eyed star managed to maintain the energy and looks of someone 20 years younger?
'What can I say?' he smiles sheepishly. 'I try to be as disciplined as I possibly can. I try to live a fairly kind of clean life. I do yoga. I do the bike and road work, do weights and swim. I do whatever it takes. I work at staying in shape - that's the bottom line.
'I do it for my job - it's what my profession is about. Anyone who is worth their salt as an actor should try and keep some discipline. In America they go for that more than we do in Britain and Ireland.
'I love my pint as much as the next man but if you are going to set yourself up as a leading man and play romantic roles, well that's it. Maybe after I turn the big Five O, next year, I will let it all go and be a slob,' he adds with a laugh.
Brosnan, who was born in Navan, Co Meath, also credits his two little children for helping him stay young. He married his longtime girlfriend, American journalist Keely Shaye Smith, in Ireland last year. The couple have two sons, Dylan Thomas and Paris Beckett and it's clear they know how to melt 007's heart.
'I'm a family man f irst and foremost' he smiles warmly. 'My family is my sanctuary. It's what I work for.'
That goes too for the three grown-up children from his first marriage. Sean, his son by Cassandra Harris, who died of breast cancer and Christopher and Charlotte, her two children whom Brosnan later adopted.
'Being a father is a huge responsibility but a very satisfying one. Family is my stability and comfort,' he explains.
Despite his devotion to his extended brood. Brosnan admits he always has a ball with his stunning array of Bond girls.
In particular he's full of praise for this year's leading lady, stunning Halle Berry. The Oscar winning actress plays sexy under-cover cop Jinx who wastes no time in getting up close and personal with Bond. And it's clear Brosnan relished every moment.
'She is luscious in every sense of the word,' he beams. 'There's a scene where Halle is coming out of the surf and it's way up there. She has a strong sense of her own self as a woman and an actress and her sexuality. But she can also play an action hero with the rest of them.'
He may be on the threshold of his half-century but Brosnan too, is still pretty impressive with the action scenes, even though he took one or two nasty knocks during the Die Another Day shoot.
'I did my meniscus - a part of the knee - and there was no recourse but to have an operation,' he explains. 'It happened during a scene when Bond has to run like the clappers. I didn't warm up. It was just a foolish mistake on my behalf in not stretching. Doing a 200 yard dash full out with six cameras, 500 extras, hovercrafts, squibs, explosions. You can't do it without warming up.'
It's because of incidents such as this, however, that Brosnan knows there'll come a time when he has to take things a bit easier.
'There are some things that I just can't do,' he says, 'And I wouldn't be allowed to do them. And I would not be mad enough to try.
'God willing, I would like to grow old gracefully.'
But for the moment, the star is working harder than ever to make sure his particular brand of Bond will live to see another day.
'I slip right into the role but that doesn't mean the job is easy. I still give 110% all the time,' he stresses.
'The challenge now is to continually make it better than the one before and that's tough because we've set the bar so high.'
He was almost the Bond that got away. In 1986 he had to turn down the part because he couldn't get out of his Remington Steele TV contract. But he was ready to take on the part when he was offered it again in 1994 - and has reinvigorated the old spy, looking a lot more comfortable in the part than predecessor Timothy Dalton.
As the latest Bond outing marks the 40th anniversary of the overwhelmingly successful franchise, it's clear the man who many critics say is the greatest 007 since Sean Connery has plenty of reason to celebrate himself.
'I couldn't be happier to be around at this time of the Bond legacy,' he says with a satisf ied smile. 'I'm proud of Bond and proud to have been in four films. There are really only upsides to this whole experience of playing Bond.'