By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated November 14, 2001 01:05 PM

Beat the drums and cue the 007 theme music. Whether saving the world from evil in the movies or battling rocky seas in the environmental movement, Pierce Brosnan, 48, “has all the sensibilities of his character,” says James Bond coproducer Barbara Broccoli. “He also has the rugged good looks and the charm.” And now he has a new title: PEOPLE’s 2001 Sexiest Man Alive. Now is not the time for dangerous bad boys whom we wouldn’t dare bring home to meet Mother, says the magazine, which insists that the right man today must possess confidence, compassion and a firm belief in commitment. Brosnan has all that — and then some. “He’s genuine, he’s gorgeous, and he’s also funny — like Cary Grant,” says his “The Thomas Crown Affair” costar Rene Russo. “There’s a lot of arrogance in show business, and Pierce seems to have none of that,” chimes in Jamie Lee Curtis (“The Taylor of Panama”), who considers Brosnan “gentle, warm (and) compassionate.” And Barbra Streisand (“The Mirror Has Two Faces”), says, “What’s most compelling is the depth of his commitment to so many causes.” He’s also IN a commitment: Aug. 4 he took as his bride longtime love and the mother of his two youngest sons, Keely Shaye Smith, 38. “I found a great woman in Keely Shaye,” he says. “Not if I searched a million times over would I find one as good.” Keely returns the compliment. “He’s intelligent, captivating and his real beauty emanates from the soul,” she enthuses. “And, like a fine wine, he’s aging beautifully.”