Geoffrey Rush, who just scored his third Oscar nomination for his work as the Marquis de Sade in Quills, had some choice things to say about working with James Bond star Pierce Brosnan in The Tailor of Panama at the film's premiere last weekend in Berlin.
In Tailor, which is based on John Le Carré's best-selling novel about a cynical spy's manipulation of Panamanian politics and American paranoia, Brosnan plays a very different sort of British spy than the incorruptible James Bond, and Rush plays the tailor of the title, a Brit living with a new identity in Panama.
Director John Boorman, who came to the Berlin Film Festival with Le Carré and Rush, says, "[We] were ready to change a cow into a bouillon cube" — Le Carré's phrase for adapting a book into a film — and "we had to do that without catching mad cow disease."
Le Carré Talks About Berlin, Then and Now Le Carré built his reputation in the '60s with Cold War classics like The Spy Who Came in From the Cold that were set in divided Berlin. Asked how he felt about returning to this new Berlin, he answered, "When the wall came down, it was a charming romantic fantasy that spies would stop working, political conflicts would end, and politicians would tell the truth. Tailor of Panama is my first novel with no ideological content. It spoke to my own disappointment; there was no energy for the re-creation of the world when the Cold War ended.
"I first saw Berlin in 1949 … and back in '61, I was here as a young diplomat and saw the wall go up. My feelings, in a sense, are those of every German, and I longed for the reunification of Germany and of Berlin itself. I find it extraordinary being back in these circumstances."
What's Better Than Kissing Kate Winslet? Rush was also here with Quills and said he thought that kissing Kate Winslet in that film was a highlight of his career. Until, that is, he found something to top it. "In Tailor, I got to dance with Pierce Brosnan, and I thought, 'My career is really on a roll,'" the Australian Oscar winner joked.
He had initially turned down the part because he can't drive, but fortunately, that was an obstacle that could be worked around.
However, Rush really did have to do a bit of tailoring and learn how to cut cloth for a man's suit. Said Boorman, "That one shot where Geoffrey does mark up accurately and correctly a jacket, it was sheer hard work he learned that, just as he was able to learn a bit of Rachmaninoff in Shine."