Pierce Brosnan steals the show in new History series on heists

Pierce Brosnan has staged robberies on the screen, but he's now turning his attention to some real-life thefts.

The former James Bond and Remington Steele returns to television as the new History series "History's Greatest Heists With Pierce Brosnan" - premiering Tuesday, Feb. 7 - inserts him digitally into the settings of such famous crimes as the 1978 Lufthansa heist at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, the 1990 Gardner Museum art robbery in Boston and the 2003 diamond theft in Antwerp, Belgium. Interviews with relevant individuals are combined with dramatic re-creations, archival footage and Brosnan's hosting and narration.

"I had a good time making this," the ever-gentlemanly Brosnan says. "It came to me at just the right time, when I was between making films, and I got to make it more or less in my own backyard. And the work that History does is always engaging and extremely well-made, and fulfilling as entertainment."

The stories encompassed by "History's Greatest Heists" were "on the front page" when they happened, recalls Brosnan, "and the narrative is so well-rendered by the writers here. It has a sense of rhythm to it, and you can feel the story unfolding around you."

One of Brosnan's most successful movies, the 1999 remake of "The Thomas Crown Affair," cast him as a wealthy thief who secretly stole valuable paintings. "I knew as soon as I read (the series concept) why they were coming to me," the actor-producer allows. "I do love heist movies, and I made that one which I'm forever proud of. I think it will stand the test of time, since it holds a place in people's hearts."

Brosnan appreciates the "clever technique" that places him in "History's Greatest Heists" locations, "and it's something that certainly drew me in. The computer house they used is really cutting-edge ... and these people who stage these outrageous offenses usually are so charismatic and beguiling, they have an allure that they top off with sheer courage and bravado. There's something captivating about that. You want them to get away with it ... but when there's a body count involved, it becomes a whole other ball of wax."

As he continues performing in movies such as the recent "Black Adam," Brosnan also is concentrating on his efforts as a painter - with the first gallery exhibition of his work slated to open this spring in Los Angeles. "It's on May 13, and on May 16 I'll turn 70," he notes. "It's been on my mind for some years now, so if not now, when? My wife, Keely, has always had a great love of my work in art, so it's a very personal endeavor in some respects."

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