The TIMOTHY DALTON Appreciation thread - Discuss His Life, His Career, His Bond Films



  • GoldenGunGoldenGun Per ora e per il momento che verrà
    Posts: 6,805
    I like all the Bonds, but Dalton has been my favourite ever since I first started watching these films as a young lad. It’s nice to know that his films are better regarded these days.

    Anyway, I must admit that I quite like his films for being such a mishmash. They are my two favourites, because more than any other stint, there’s that mix of both the escapism of the film series as well as the more hard-edged believability that gets you invested in the story. I think OHMSS and QOS come close, but overall most Bond films offer either of the two, few deliver both.

    The Dalton films do and, definitely also helped by his superb performances as Bond, that’s why they’re my favourites.
  • Posts: 6,869
    GoldenGun wrote: »
    I like all the Bonds, but Dalton has been my favourite ever since I first started watching these films as a young lad. It’s nice to know that his films are better regarded these days.

    Anyway, I must admit that I quite like his films for being such a mishmash. They are my two favourites, because more than any other stint, there’s that mix of both the escapism of the film series as well as the more hard-edged believability that gets you invested in the story. I think OHMSS and QOS come close, but overall most Bond films offer either of the two, few deliver both.

    The Dalton films do and, definitely also helped by his superb performances as Bond, that’s why they’re my favourites.

    I totally concur Sir!
  • edited December 2023 Posts: 785
    Revelator wrote: »
    I don't think there's a John Glen appreciation thread, so I hope folks don't mind my posting this interesting twitter thread:

    That said, if anyone knows of a better place for it, let me know

    In the 80's, Richard Maibaum said that John Glen was the best action director working.
  • Did Dalton learn to do comedy as he got older a la Hot Fuzz?
  • MaxCasinoMaxCasino United States
    Posts: 4,152
    Happy birthday, Timothy Dalton! Your work in and out of James Bond is always appreciated!
  • SecretAgentMan⁰⁰⁷SecretAgentMan⁰⁰⁷ Lekki, Lagos, Nigeria
    Posts: 1,384
    Happy Birthday, Timothy Dalton. You'll always be viewed as a great James Bond.
  • Happy Birthday Mr. Dalton! You were a fantastic 007 and far ahead of your time!
  • Jordo007Jordo007 Merseyside
    Posts: 2,531
    Happy birthday Timothy
  • Posts: 2,896
    Some excerpts from the Los Angeles Times article "Reclaiming the Darker Side of Bond," by Charles Champlin (July 26, 1987):

    Dalton says he was first asked about playing James Bond several years ago. Sean Connery was wanting out before he disappeared inside 007 forever.

    "I can't say I was offered it, but a certain interest was expressed," Dalton said at lunch during a spring visit to Los Angeles. "But I felt I was far too young. And Sean Connery was absolutely wonderful. At the age of 25, that's the sort of Bond you don't follow."

    When the firm offer came to do The Living Daylights (with options for further outings If the marketplace is willing) Dalton was busy rehearsing with Vanessa Redgrave for what became a very successful repertory season at the Haymarket Theatre, alternating productions of Antony and Cleopatra and Taming of the Shrew, and he had to turn down the role.

    But production of The Living Daylights was delayed. By the time it was again ready to go, Dalton was committed to play Basil St. John in the fllm version of Brenda Starr, shooting in Florida with Brooke Shields as the comic strip newsgal and with Robert Ellis Miller directing. This time the scheduling was tight but workable.

    Miller says, "On a Friday night at 6, I said, 'Cut and print; that's it and bye-bye,' and Timothy was off to the airport and started shooting Bond on the Monday."

    Of his Bond, Dalton says, "I'm going to be different, and obviously I'm determined not to be Just physically different. Any two people, even If they had the same ideas about the part, would play it differently.

    "It's not going to be me. It's hopefully going to be something of the essence that Fleming is writing about...It seems to me that the best of the books was the first book, Casino Royale: It was a very, very different kind of a book to be a best seller. It is a spy story but it's a spy story that's full of confusion—moral confusion, ethical confusion. It's Graham Greene country.

    "When you end the book you find yourself thinking of Fleming the man, because he was inventing Bond, who Is brought face to face with the complexities and realities and difficulties of life, the rights and wrongs.

    "Bond is a man who doesn't like what he does. He's a man who now, because of his age, no longer sees things In black and white, in easy rights and wrongs. He knows that a man who kills is just himself, working for the other side, a man with a job. He knows that politically speaking a friend becomes an enemy in a couple of years and an enemy becomes a friend.

    "I think Bond is deeply prone to a moral and an ethical apathy. It's often referred to in the Bond books—it's the first time I'd ever heard the word—as accidie (a kind of moral torpor or exhaustion).

    "When Bond wants to give up and get out, a French colleague says—this is only paraphrased—if you find it all too confusing and wrong and uncertain, don't go for the spies, go for the evil that makes the spies. . . . All the Bond stories are about a man who goes after a very clearly fixed target of evil."

    "The stories," Dalton says, "carry with them some traces of mythology, Knights of the Round Table, St. George and the Dragon. And that's a trace of mythology." Yet the Bond of Bond XV, as Dalton sees him, is not a super-hero In the traditional sense. He's a survivor who puts his life at risk for what he believes to be right but he also has, thanks to Fleming, everyday vices—smoking three packs a day, gambling, drinking, wenching—that serve, Dalton believes, "to root him amongst us." At heart, he says, this Bond, at least, is "an ordinary man with special skills and certain qualities."
  • MakeshiftPythonMakeshiftPython “Baja?!”
    Posts: 8,028
    It’s a shame American audiences didn’t seem to connect with him as Bond.
  • Posts: 2,896
    I wouldn't mind visiting an alternate universe where Dalton was born twenty-five years later and starred in a 2006 version of Casino Royale. Audiences would have been ready for him by then.
  • MakeshiftPythonMakeshiftPython “Baja?!”
    Posts: 8,028
    I’d settle for an alternate universe where Dalton continued with GE and so on, and we’d still get Craig down the line for CR later.

    Sorry, Brosnan.
  • SecretAgentMan⁰⁰⁷SecretAgentMan⁰⁰⁷ Lekki, Lagos, Nigeria
    Posts: 1,384
    I'm just so happy that Dalton has long since got the Bond recognition he deserves. Robert Davi even calls him the grandfather of Craig's Bond or something like that.
  • Posts: 2,101
    I'm always in awe of how knowledgeable Dalton was about the character. In a perfect world, it would've been nice seeing him continue on for two more films before Pierce took over in GE. Sadly we don't live in that reality, but everything worked out in the end and Dalton is remembered more fondly now.
  • Posts: 2,896
    Here's another excellent interview with Dalton from around the same time, in which he reveals his favorite scene in TLD. Excerpts follow.

    Timothy Dalton Finds a Hamlet In the Hero

    By Benedict Nightingale (New York Times, July 26, 1987)

    He’s the dashing new 007, complete with guns and fast cars and vodka martinis, “shaken not stirred.” What’s more, he’s somehow managed to become James Bond after refusing the role on no less than three occasions. In 1971, when he was 25, he was asked if he was interested in taking over from Sean Connery, who had decided it was time for fresh challenges; but he thought that would be “the most foolish move possible,” given the likely hostility of a grieving public to his youth and presumption.

    Eight years ago, when Mr. Moore was pondering withdrawal, he was seriously sounded out again; but again he declined, this time because he felt unsuited to the series’ high-tech, funhouse style. The third offer came in spring 1986, when Mr. Dalton was committed to a Shakespearan season in London’s West End. But the producers kept failing to find the new Bond they wanted and so kept postponing the starting date of the new Bond movie, The Living Daylights. Suddenly they realized that so much time had passed that they might as well ask Mr. Dalton to reconsider his refusal and start shooting in the fall instead of the summer; and at long last his answer was yes.

    The Living Daylights opens in New York next Friday, an important date for Mr. Dalton, who is well aware of the fate of George Lazenby, the actor who did take over Bond from Sean Connery and played the role once only. “If I fail,” he says wryly, “it will be a world-famous failure.” But the movie is doing well in London, and Mr. Dalton himself seems relaxed as he discusses it.

    Mr. Dalton is a conscientious, careful actor who does a great deal of hard work on a role before going before the cameras and allowing the intellectual and imaginative results to come flooding instinctively out of him. Before playing a pioneer of surgery in the movie The Doctor and the Devils, for instance, he attended several operations and even an autopsy, “one of the most shocking and gruesome experiences I’ve had.” So when he began to prepare seriously for the part of Bond, his first action was to read all of Ian Fleming’s original work, including the short story, The Living Daylights, on which the new movie is based:

    “I felt it would be wrong to pluck the character out of thin air, or to base him on any of my predecessors’ interpretations,” Mr. Dalton says. “Instead, I went to the man who created him, and I was astonished. I’d read a couple of the books years ago, and I thought I’d find them trivial now, but I thoroughly enjoyed every one. It’s not just that they’ve a terrific sense of adventure and you get very involved. On those pages I discovered a Bond I’d never seen on the screen, a quite extraordinary man, a man I really wanted to play, a man of contradictions and opposites.

    “He can be ruthless and determined, yet we’re constantly shown what a serious, intelligent, thinking, feeling human being he is. He’s a man of principle too, almost an idealist, but one who sees that he’s living in a world without principle, in which ideals are cheaply bought and sold. He’s a man who wants human contact; the need for love seems to overflow from him. Yet he can’t afford emotional involvement, he can’t fall in love or marry or have children, because that would prevent him functioning in a world where the possibility of his death is ever-present.

    “Above all, I realized that he hates to kill. He recalls that when he was young, he thought it was all in the cause of righteousness, but now he perceives his assassinations as dirty murders. He kills himself by killing someone who’s himself on the other side. Yet he carries on, always regretting it, always trying to shut it out of his mind. Altogether, it seemed to me that Bond was a complex man, with many more facets than I’d realized. Not a shining knight, but someone deeply unhappy with his job, suffering from confusion, ennui, moral revulsion and what Fleming calls accidie.”

    It sounds like a psychological profile of existential man at his most alienated; but Mr. Dalton is quick to emphasize that the books are also immensely entertaining thrillers, with a sympathetic protagonist to match. “Yes, Bond is a hero, someone with tenacity and resilience and resolution, someone who can pull out extraordinary qualities in a crisis. But he’s a real hero, not a superman but someone who feels fear, someone who’s constantly described as having insides that twist and wrench with fear, someone who leaves you understanding exactly what it’s like to be in a terrifying situation. Someone the reader can identify with.

    “And of course he’s fun, he has a lust for life. He gambles, he drinks, he drives fast cars, he has casual sex or at least falls in love for a rather limited time. But that’s because he lives on the edge of life and wants to live it to the full while he’s still got it. To me, that’s perfectly human.”

    In other words, what Mr. Dalton wanted to create was a Bond unfamiliar to the cinema audience, though one nearer to the Connery than the Moore version. “I very much admired what Roger did. His skill at light comedy and self-send-up fitted completely with the style of the films as they became after Sean Connery left them. But they were fantasies, extravaganzas. They had left Ian Fleming a long way behind with their special effects and gimmickry and cool one-liners. I mean, you can’t really play Bond seriously if you’re about to leap into a minijet airplane that comes out of the back end of a horse, which is what I recall happening in Octopussy.”

    As it turned out, his wishes coincided with those of the producers, who felt the series had become too remote from reality. Indeed, what finally convinced Mr. Dalton to take the role was Albert Broccoli’s promise to give him freedom of interpretation, or as much freedom as the script of The Living Daylights allows him.

    [In Dalton’s performance] there’s slyness, anger, fear, even a sense of horror—and, Mr. Dalton would like to believe, all those commodities combine in the sequence he found the most challenging and fulfilling to play. That’s when he cavorts happily at a fairgrounds with a girl who may be a K.G.B. spy and may be a genuine defector, then sees the British agent who has helped him sliced in half, then is confronted with her ambiguous charms once again. “He’s manipulating her, abusing her, yet he’s romantic, interested in her. And then he has to acknowledge she could easily be part of that murder. You should suddenly see the shutters drop, the steel come out. It’s a key moment, one that needs very careful playing.”

    Timothy Dalton think he’s personally as different from 007 as could be. For instance, he loves classical music, the drama, the opera—“And I think Bond only once went into a theater, and that was when he was following someone.” He performed some of his own stunts in The Living Daylights, including the opening sequence, which has him locked in mortal combat on top of a Land Rover racing along a cliff edge; but in real life his most physically taxing interest is angling.

    Really, he seems happiest talking about his work: “In a way, I like tackling material I think impossible because that provokes an extreme effort of imagination and commitment. But I could never say which of my parts had most satisfied me or which was my favorite. Even my failures are my blood, my sweat, my care, my love, part of me; and I can’t disown them.” He’s determined to keep alternating between stage and screen, keep choosing parts that excite him, keep a creative variety in his life.

    In fact, his hope is that Bond will open options, not close them. “If you’re a success, you get offered major parts in other films, don’t you? And what’s especially nice is that people are already sending me scripts, interesting scripts, they can’t easily find finance for. If somehow my involvement with Bond would enhance the prospect of British films like My Beautiful Laundrette or Letter to Brezhnev being made—well, that would be terrific.”
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