Some years A few days ago, some of Dylan Brosnan’s closest friends showed up at his house in Malibu for his 21st birthday party, and there they met Dylan’s father, who turned out to be Pierce Brosnan. Dylan had never mentioned it.
Dylan laughs. “I don’t tell anyone that, under any circumstances,” he says.
It’s a hot but blustery Wednesday afternoon at the same Malibu estate owned by Dylan’s parents, Pierce and his second wife, Keely Shaye Smith, who were married in 2001, for more than 20 years. Dylan is on a couch in the living room, looking out the window at a blue gradient of sky and sea, explaining how it was for him to grow up in a place where everyone knew his father’s face.
“I always thought he had a lot of friends growing up,” says Dylan, “because people would come up to him on the street, and he’s like the nicest guy, so he talks to everyone for a long time.”
Dylan is 25 years old, born in 1997. His early childhood coincided with the height of Pierce’s box office mojo: the years of 007 and Thomas Crown. He would later talk to his father about these experiences. Remember your friend, that guy who dressed weird and hung out at the movies every day? – and only then would he learn that these enthusiastic friends on the street were mostly fans, all of whom were strangers.
Pierce Brosnan walks into the living room. “I was shopping for the dog,” says Brosnan. “He ran away. He slipped out of my back pocket.
He’s wearing khaki shorts and an old white T-shirt: a silver-haired dad with nothing on the agenda except this conversation. When he’s done, he plans to pour himself a cocktail and watch the pelicans brawl on shore. Next year he will be 70 years old. Time has softened his face, blunted his severity.
However, he is still ridiculously handsome. Later I will feel compelled to ask him: Pierce, when did you know you were a very handsome man? He will laugh long and hard at this question and then politely refuse to answer it, because what could he say? This face is something she was born with, like the birthmark on her left arm: “It was a scarlet birthmark. My grandmother always said, He’s a lucky boy. He is a lucky son.”
Brosnan shrugs. “So far so good.”
Dylan went to high school and college in Los Angeles, but before that, he and his 21-year-old brother Paris commuted back and forth from here to the family’s Hanalei Bay home on Kauai. Hawaii provided them with a comparatively normal existence that Dylan compares to Stay by me.
“A bunch of kids running through a forest, looking for something to do, riding bikes down the street, going to caves, swimming, surfing and stuff,” he says. “I would be there and then I would come here for a few days.” He says all those transfers made him a transpacific man of mystery at school: “Kids would be like, ‘Oh yeah, you’re that guy. I went to fifth grade with you for a week and then you left. ”