- Pierce Brosnan played the title role in the 1999s The Thomas Crown Affair.
- An artist himself, Pierce Brosnan personally selected René Magritte’s “The Son of Man” for the bowler hat scene.
- René Russo referenced the painting of the bowler hat in the last line of The Thomas Crown Affair.
Bowler hats. Say these three words to anyone who watched the 1999s The Thomas Crown Affair and, chances are, no further explanation is needed. In John McTiernan’s film, Pierce Brosnan’s lead character memorably escapes the authorities with the help of a painting. And, of course, lots of men in bowler hats. It turns out that the actor chose the painting himself.
The painting of ‘The Thomas Crown Affair’ is ‘The Son of Man’ by René Magritte
Considering the remake of the 1969 version centers on the theft of a Monet painting from the museum, that’s no surprise. The Thomas Crown Affair presents various works of art. Brosnan’s character eats in front of a painting he calls “Haystacks”. Meanwhile, a museum security guard points out that another nearby artwork is attracting more attention.
Then there are the additional works seen in Crown’s house. Not to mention fellow insurance investigators Catherine Banning (Rene Russo) set fire to Crown’s tropical hideaway.
However, arguably the most famous part of the movie is the bowler hat scene. So what is the painting in The Thomas Crown Affair called? It is the “Son of Man” by the Belgian surrealist René Magritte.
Pierce Brosnan chose “The Son of Man” for the bowler hat scene
According Gentleman’s DiaryBrosnan selected “The Son of Man” for The Thomas Crown Affair. The 69-year-old didn’t explain why he chose this particular painting, although he did talk about his interest in the art.
Brosnan even sketched during the interview. “Because sometimes all you have to do is paint! Sitting on calls, sitting on Zoom, sitting here watching people. It’s nice to stay active,” he said.
He also shared that he makes art a part of his life even when filming on location.
“Here in Atlanta, in this beautiful apartment, I have a studio. It’s just a spare room, turned into a studio, where I set up work,” he said. “But, if you have to be away somewhere for a long time, I think it’s good to come away with a job or two that you did there.”
The last line of “The Thomas Crown Affair” is a nod to the painting of the bowler hat
Russo referred to the Thomas Crown case painting, aka “The Son of Man”, in the final scene, according to IMDb. “Next time, I’ll break both your arms,” her character told Crown after finding out during her flight.
So how was this a nod to the bowler hat painting? According to IMDb, Crown introduced himself as the man in the painting. And, in the painting, the man’s left arm appears to bend backwards as if broken.
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