Pierce Brosnan's Driving Did Some Damage Behind The Scenes Of GoldenEye

If there's one thing the James Bond franchise is known for, it's action. For the first couple decades of the film series — in other words, before the advent of CGI — the Bond movies were a leader and pioneer in the world of film stunts, each successive entry showcasing dazzling new feats of human prowess where stunt people dared to flirt with danger and disaster.

Ironically, given all the death-defying craziness on screen, it was more likely that the less flashy moments of a Bond movie would present a problem for the production. Case in point: In 1995's "GoldenEye," a brand-new Aston Martin DB5 was somewhat ruined during shooting. Yet instead of it being the victim of bullet holes, explosions, or a spectacular crash, it was given a slow death thanks to an honest mistake committed by Bond actor Pierce Brosnan.

The Aston Martin is given a 'thorough evaluation' by the stunt team

As most Bond fans know, "GoldenEye" marked the introduction of Pierce Brosnan to the role of 007 and shepherded the character into the 1990s, so there was a sense of pomp and circumstance to the film. To go along with that, the first scene of the movie (after the extended flashback cold open) features Bond taking a spiffy new Aston Martin for a spin, pitting it against the villainous Xenia Onatopp (Famke Janssen) and her Ferrari F355 GTS.

The suspenseful, fun car chase would seem a logical setting for either or both of the cars to be damaged, yet the scene seemingly went off without much fuss. In addition to director Martin Campbell knowing just how to break down the sequence visually for maximum impact, the scene features stunt driving by the likes of Rémy Julienne and his team.

Julienne had been involved with numerous Bond films prior to "GoldenEye" and made sure to give the sequence — which would end up being his last for a Bond movie — his all. As it turns out, the scene required his all, since the Aston Martin was not the easiest car to handle. As Julienne remarked to the French James Bond Fan Club, "Although the DB5 is an old wonderful lady it has very low performance, an engine that is not very powerful and uncertain road holding." While Julienne and his team of drivers were adept enough to make the sequence work, Brosnan would discover for himself the DB5's sensitivity in the film's very next scene.

Brosnan leaves the DB5 a little shaken and stirred

During a Live Watchalong for Esquire UK back in 2020, Pierce Brosnan revealed that he inadvertently injured the Aston Martin during the filming of this rather innocuous interstitial scene. While the action of Bond driving up to the Monte Carlo casino entrance and getting out is obviously low stakes, the realities of moviemaking meant repeated takes started to take a toll on the vehicle, especially thanks to Brosnan's accidental action. As the actor explained:

"... We're there late at night, after midnight, and I drive up and I get out, cut. And they say, 'Do you want to drive the car back?' I said, 'Yeah, I'll drive it back.' So I get out, do my little Bond quip, get back, reverse the car, go back to number one, starting position. Well we did this about five, six times, and on the sixth go-around I could smell burning. And — now, there are many people gathered to watch, there's hundreds of people around the casino. And the man who owns the car is there, watching his beautiful vehicle be driven by yours truly. I'd left the handbrake on."

After realizing his gaffe, Brosnan said he "scampered off into the night" once the shot was done. Despite his hasty retreat, the actor believes (or at least hopes) the DB5's owner "was well taken care of by the company."

Brosnan was a particularly destructive Bond

Every Bond has their signature quirk, style, mannerism and tone. Sean Connery was a hard-boiled pugilist, George Lazenby was a debonair hunk, Roger Moore was a suave comic-book-style superhero, Timothy Dalton was a thoughtful brute, and Daniel Craig a brooding thug a la Jason Bourne.

Pierce Brosnan brought a lot of similar qualities to the role, but upon reflection (and especially in light of his unwitting destructive tendencies), perhaps it could be said that his Bond was especially akin to a bull in a china shop. Not only does his Bond later destroy a dozen vehicles and a statue during the tank chase in "GoldenEye," but a standout sequence in 1997's "Tomorrow Never Dies" sees Bond careening a BMW around a parking garage by remote control, ultimately crashing the car into — no surprise here — a car rental storefront. Given these examples both on and off-screen, perhaps it's a good idea to get some insurance before letting Brosnan borrow your vehicle.