"Between Brett Ratner and the great cast, and a script unlike any heist film I'd ever seen - [it was] so original and had the potential for a lot of humor - I was sold," says Harrelson.
Part of the film's charm is the friendship that develops between Harrelson's Sam Lloyd, an FBI agent, and Brosnan's Max Burden, a master jewel thief.
"I don't know [Pierce] very well but once I started hanging with him I realized he's a lot like me. he's definitely a hippie," says Harrelson. Overhearing Harrelson's comment, Pierce laughs heartily in agreement.
Harrelson has known Salma Hayek since she dated Ed Norton, Harrelson's co-star in The People vs. Larry Flynt. Harrelson considers her family.
"She's like a sister to me. She's Aunt Salma to my kids and they love her like mad - she spoils them with gifts and stuff," he says. "Talk about pampering, Salma pampers her friends because she just smothers you with love. What an amazing woman, and to be more beautiful every year defies Dorian Gray."
After his role in the 1999 release Play It to The Bone opposite Antonio Banderas, Harrelson took a long break from filming. He did guest spots on "Frasier" and "Will & Grace," and had a bit part in last year's Anger Management. But for the most part, Harrelson's kept a low profile. He's preferred the stage to film and appeared in at least one production a year for six years.
Sitting at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills and battling a cold, Harrelson speaks frankly about his self-imposed hiatus.
"I'll tell you the truth - a couple of things were mulling through my head. One, I was really upset about The People vs. Larry Flynt not succeeding the way I thought it should. A lot of it owing to a one-woman campaign and crusade [by] Gloria Steinem insisting, [by] going from city to city across the United States, telling people to boycott this movie. Also, there were a couple of movies I'd done and I didn't like the way they turned out. After you put your heart into something, it's not good when it doesn't turn out well."
Harrelson also got some advice from his brother while the two were playing tennis in North Carolina.
"We're hitting the tennis ball across the court and he says, 'You know, Woody, you're spending so much time doing all these urgent things that you're not taking care of many of the important things.' What he meant was, like, playing tennis with [my] brother, hanging out with my family more, doing all [those kind of] things...and he was absolutely right.
"I was just running around and working so hard, and it had become work as opposed to play, which is really what it is," he adds. "And if you're not appreciating this job, then you've got something seriously wrong with you because this is the greatest job possible."
With a renewed interest in his work, Harrelson's slate has filled up quickly. He wrapped filming on A Scanner Darkly and The Prize Winner of Defiance Ohio, is currently shooting The Big White, and is attached to Jack Tucker Trucker. If all goes well, Harrelson will be seen in as many as four movies next year.
Harrelson also remains commited to environmental issues, addressing college campuses around the country about "buying green." He and his wife Laura also launched Voiceyourself.com as a forum for like-minded people to come together. For a person as busy as Woody Harrelson, it seems like the sun rarely sets on this dynamic activist and actor.