Pierce Brosnan returns to TV in "The Son," AMC's sweeping drama about life in South Texas

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04 April 2017

AMC, Premieres Saturday, Apr. 8, 9/8c

By Lori Acken

Pierce Brosnan sits across from me at a bistro table in the California sunshine. He wears an impeccably tailored gray suit that complements his salt-and-pepper hair. His blue eyes gleam. That voice — Brosnan doesn’t just answer questions, he orates. And all I can think is Bond. James Bond.

That may soon change to McCullough. Eli McCullough.

Brosnan plays the wily Texas rancher and oilman in AMC’s new period drama The Son — his first starring role in series television since Remington Steele made the debonair Irishman a household name in the ’80s. Culled from Philipp Meyer’s best-selling American epic, The Son, which premieres Saturday, intertwines two tales. One reveals McCullough’s experiences as a brutally orphaned boy learning a cruel brand of survival at the hands of Comanche captors. The other follows along as Eli — now a granddad — battles for his family name and dynasty during the Bandit War of South Texas.

“It felt fitting for me at this age and this time in life, as a man who has traveled down the road a fair ol’ bit and knows something of success and loss,” Brosnan reflects. “I loved it — because of this prototypical American hero, the brutality and savagery of this man who is self-made and goes on to create an empire, and of the storytelling of the history of Texas. Before I knew it, I was sitting on a horse in Austin!”

The series title references McCullough’s birth — he came into the world the day Texas became an independent republic, earning him the title “The First Son of Texas” — but its nuances go well beyond his birthright. This is a generational tale, start to finish, as the elder McCullough tries to instill his pitiless business sense in his sons, fair-minded married dad Pete (Henry Garrett) and bachelor lawyer Phineas (David Wilson Barnes). “As a father to four sons, I know something about fathering,” Brosnan smiles. “I’ve sat with them in hours of darkness and remorse and sadness and joy. Something that is inherent in my DNA I can now take to the table when I’m sitting opposite Henry, sitting opposite David.”

There are other modern-day takeaways in this complex tale of Texas’ Mexican and Anglo settlers fighting for their right to life, land and prosperity in a young America.

“The political climate and the social climate, the uncertainty, the unsettled quality of the players is palpable beyond words,” Brosnan explains. “It will be fascinating to see the reverberations from this kind of storytelling — especially as it draws to a close.”

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