He may be Bond, James Bond, but it doesn't sound like Ilana Glazer was at all intimated about working with venerable actor Pierce Brosnan on her new pregnancy horror film, False Positive, which just dropped today on Hulu. In fact, it sounds like it may have been the other bloody way around.
While speaking recently via video with Brosnan and Glazer's co-writer and the film's director John Lee, SYFY WIRE learned all about the former Bond's early bond with star/co-writer Glazer, which began with her greeting him while totally naked and covered in blood. We won't get into why the Broad City creator/star was so sanguinely attired, as that would veer into spoiler territory, but we will say that you can view much of Brosnan in this movie between Glazer's two propped, soon-to-be-delivering legs.
See, Brosnan plays Dr. Hindle, a world-renowned fertility specialist, who's ostensibly trying to "help" an NYC power couple — Glazer's Lucy and Justin Theroux's Adrian — get pregnant. But as tends to be the case in pregnancy horror movies, the good doctor doesn't exactly deliver upon the expecting couple's expectations. Or audience expectations, for that matter, which is part of the fun of Brosnan's performance: flipping those expectations around like the OB-GYN tools of the trade that he performatively wields throughout the flick.
In our discussion with Brosnan and Lee below, besides finding out about that bloody first encounter, we also learn where Dr. Hindle developed such twisted forcep skills and hear about the veteran skill it takes to act between two bare legs. We also learn why this isn't just another pregnancy horror movie, but also a scathing and satirical look at how the patriarchy can be horrendous in medicine, particularly pregnancy medicine.
**SPOILER WARNING: Some light spoilers are discussed in the Q&A below**
Why was Mr. Brosnan the right man for the job?
John Lee: Because, from the beginning, whether you're a woman or a man, you want Pierce Brosnan to be your doctor, right? Like, his bedside manner, and he's dreamy, to the point where you kind of don't like him but you know you should trust him. And then even after this movie, if you knew the truth about him, you're still kind of like, "Yeah, but his voice is so kind and warm. I'll give in, sure."
So that reason, and we really loved that he was from across the pond, so to speak, we like that idea of having a character that sort of represented a global domination, like a larger spread of seed, so to speak. That's why he seemed perfect.
Pierce Brosnan: There you go: No acting required. N.A.R.
Why did audience expectations help with this role, Mr. Brosnan?
Brosnan: Well, I think it's everything that John's just spoken of. There's that rather charming, comforting: "Oh there's Pierce Brosnan, we like Pierce Brosnan." You half-like him, you don't like him, whatever, but it's him. "We know his stuff, we know his schtick." And then the worm turns. And you have those unexpected twists and turns.
You know, my research into this world was very enlightening, and so I had good background material to work with. And then you just trust your own instincts within voice and performance, and keeping it as simple as possible just to tell the story. And the script, the words, the scenes... had balance, and they had nuance. So it's all of those ingredients.
For some reason, James Mason came into my world, [especially] his voice in Lolita. So I took that. You take these little bits of inspiration. And then of course you meet your cast.
Was it at all distracting having to act between two legs?
Brosnan: [Laughs.] Well, I've been doing this a long time. What can I say, it's dark and lonely work, but someone has to do it. That's a line from a movie actually, it's a line from The Tailor of Panama.
But you know, Ilana was so generous. And she wore her heart on her sleeve for this role, and she knew it was a mighty undertaking and a challenge, and one that was deeply personal to her as a woman, and to every woman. So we hit the ground running.
I was so excited to work with her and John, and when I met her, the first night I met her was down in Brooklyn, and I went down to visit the set, to say, "Hello, I'm here." And there she was on set, completely naked, covered in blood from head to toe. And that's how she greeted me actually; I went into the dressing room and she was butt naked: ‘Hello!' And I looked her in the eye, and my eyes stayed locked with hers, and I said, "I'm looking forward to working with you."
Lee: That's a challenge right there, she's saying: "I'm willing to do this, what are you willing to do?"
Brosnan: So yes, I mean, those scenes where I'm doing the gynecological procedure, there was just a trust there between everyone.
Do the tools of the doctor's trade... the way you held them, and the way you used them to your advantage, did that come about naturally?
Brosnan: There's a joke in there. It's funny. It's disturbing. It's me. It's Pierce. It's an audience. You know your audience, and you know people are going to see it, and that's the last thing they expect me to do. And it's a rather disturbing, gross kind of procedure in some ways, in the context of this movie.
I went to a gynecologist, and I did speak to her, and I did investigate. And she gave me these implements. And I went home from that meeting with a whole array of gynecological implements... so yeah.
Lee: And I think your research into the characters lets you understand the pleasure that some of these doctors took in how they torment women. You and I understood the character, we didn't want to hide that from anyone, we're not trying to trick anybody in this movie, but we're trying to point out the kind of dark, satirical nature that exists in that kind of ego.
And you, Pierce, really embraced it. Whether it's from just putting your hand out and not even looking so the nurses just put it in your hand, because we worked on how orchestrated the nurses were with you, how much like timing... like once Ilana says, "Yes," Gretchen Mol [Nurse Dawn] comes in the door. Once she agrees to this, she's immediately already there. And then as you're sitting down, Sabina Gadecki [Nurse Rita] brings your stool in.
This is a performance in many ways, as a doctor and also as an actor, and to skirt that fine line and to find the pleasure in that was really the part that's really enjoyable. I think your research helped you enjoy that as much as it could be enjoyed.
Brosnan: Exactly. And your script. When a script is well written, you just have to follow the score. You follow the score, you use your imagination, you do your research, and then you just... let it fly.
False Positive births on Hulu today, June 25.