The alternate history of Hollywood franchises like the James Bond series is enough to fuel entire books filled with stories of what could have been. In a franchise that almost saw Burt Reynolds play England’s greatest super spy, as well as Sean Connery co-writing a James Bond movie that never happened, the fact that Quentin Tarantino once got drunk with Pierce Brosnan and pitched a James Bond movie is still a pretty big standout.
As you might know, once upon a time in Hollywood, Quentin Tarantino went on record as wanting to make his own version of Casino Royale with Pierce Brosnan, and have it be R-rated to boot. But little did anyone know prior to the recent Goldeneye watch-along commentary with Brosnan, on behalf of Esquire UK, that the two parties had actually met to discuss the potential of such a project.
When asked about whether or not he’d still want to make a spy thriller with Quentin Tarantino, Pierce Brosnan was inspired to tell the following story of how we could have gotten a fifth Bond film with the actor in the lead.
The Two Martinis That Started A Night Of (James) Bonding
The beginning of our story, as told by Pierce Brosnan himself, takes us back to those crazy days of 2004. It was a time when Quentin Tarantino was promoting a very different film, and the Bond series was in limbo between the fallout of Die Another Day’s and the eventual reboot that came with Casino Royale. As Brosan recalled:
It was after Kill Bill Vol. 2, and [Quentin] wanted to meet me. And I went up into Hollywood one day, from the beach, and I met him at the Four Seasons. I got there at 7 o’clock. I like to be punctual, I’m always punctual. 7:15 came round, no Quentin; he was upstairs doing press on Kill Bill. And someone sent over a martini, so I had the martini. I waited, it was 7:30, I thought, ‘Where the heck is he?’ Word came down, ‘Apologies’, so I thought, ‘Well, I’ll have another martini.’
Right there, Pierce Brosnan has fulfilled the two martini qualification any good business meeting requires. And if this were any other story, there would have been a possibility that Brosnan and Quentin Tarantino would have passed like two ships in the night, with nothing but a fun story to tell.
Enter Tarantino, Quentin Tarantino
But this is Quentin Tarantino we’re talking about here, and that ending would have been a stone cold bummer. No, this story continues in quite a fantastic manner, as the Once Upon A Time In Hollywood director made his presence known after wrapping up his press duties on Kill Bill Vol. 2. That’s where the night really started to take off. Brosnan continued:
Eventually he came down, and he started ordering apple martinis. Well… we were fairly snockered. I was fairly snockered, but he did. He was pounding the table, saying, ‘You are the best James Bond! I wanna do James Bond with you!’ and it was very close quarters in the restaurant. I said, ‘Quentin, please, calm down, calm down.’ But, you don’t tell Quentin Tarantino to calm down.
Just imagining Quentin Tarantino and Pierce Brosnan slinging martinis of their choosing is a story worth telling. Which only makes Tarantino’s table pounding and passionate proselytizing that Brosnan was the best 007 serve as the proverbial mini-apple a good bartender would slip into the perfect appletini.
Pierce Brosnan’s Number Is Up As James Bond
After a very productive meeting of the minds, it was now up to Pierce Brosnan to bring this news home to the powers that be in charge of the James Bond series. As history and the capper to Brosnan’s entire anecdote have told us, this story ends with an unfortunate result. As Brosnan put it:
Anyway, he wanted to do James Bond. I went back to the shop and told them, but it wasn’t meant to be. No Quentin Tarantino for James Bond. What a shame. That would be a good one to watch.
That same year, Pierce Brosnan would eventually be given the sad news that his time as James Bond came to a close. While shooting the 2004 heist comedy After The Sunset, Brosnan got the fateful phone call that he and the franchise were on their separate paths.
In the two years that would follow, Daniel Craig would be named the new James Bond, and Casino Royale would reboot the legendary film franchise into the killer blockbusters they are today. But even with the success of Craig’s Bond films, and Pierce Brosnan’s approval of those adventures, it’s still kind of sad that we didn’t get a more mature reinvention of the series under Quentin Tarantino’s steady hand.
But, as Sean Connery once proved to the world, one should never say never again. When answering whether or not he’d still make a spy thriller with Quentin Tarantino, Brosnan made the following proclamation:
Yes. I’d love to think so. Quentin, you know where to find me.
If Quentin Tarantino hasn’t settled himself down with the idea for his final film, maybe he should consider reuniting with a familiar drinking buddy, and hatching their own James Bond knock off. Now there’s an idea to raise a toast to!
If you’re interested in getting the full Pierce Brosnan commentary experience, queue up the commentary video, along with a copy of Goldeneye. If you don't have your own copy, you can currently stream the film on Netflix, Prime Video and Hulu.