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Timothy Dalton's James Bond was a major departure from Roger Moore's. Dalton went back to the Fleming source novels for his inspiration. His Bond was dark, moody, flinty and focused on the job at hand, a job that he sometimes found distasteful. Dalton chose to cut puns and jokes from his Bond scripts, and with his formal training focused, instead, on the sub-text. His Bond did not careen from stunt to stunt, unchanged, but changed through the movie. Bond was ruthless and a bit of a cad, lying about his relationship to a defector to the man's mistress to obtain information, and then having no qualms about seducing her later. All those years playing Byronic "mystery men" payed off when Bond would allow himself brief, efficient romantic scenes.
Two moments in "The Living Daylights" typify Dalton's Bond. The first--his reaction to the death of Vienna Agent Saunders moments after the two have dropped their mutual hostility and come to respect each other. Kneeling over the agent's body, a stray balloon bearing the mocking words "Smiert Spionem" ("Death to Spies") sails into the scene. Bond's anger boils over as he squeezes the balloon to bursting. The pop snaps Bond to action as, seeing a cluster of balloons over a hedge. He leaps over it, gun drawn to blast the assassin, only to find a mother and child who shrink from his aggression. Still seething with adrenaline, Dalton's Bond attempts to pull himself together, scanning the crowd, and in the ensuing exchange with the innocent dupe, Kara Millovy, Dalton and Fleming's Bond fuse. "Yes," he bitterly hisses between his teeth. "I got the message." And Dalton makes real the passage Fleming used over and over to describe Bond's resolve: "His eyes became fierce slits."
The other is Bond's confrontation with KGB chief Pushkin (John Rhys-Davies), using the Russian's assignation with his mistress as a ruse. Pushkin is forced into an awkward position as Bond hovers over him, gun pointed at his temple. Dalton's Bond is wound tight, practically vibrating with tension, any distraction causing him to whirl, his outstretched gun searching wildly for a target, dangerous to the extreme. When Pushkin alerts his bodyguard to trouble, Bond brutally attacks Pushkin, then rips at the mistress' robe to make her naked form a distraction for the entering guard, who is brutally pistol-whipped. It's a tense scene, made more so by Dalton's barely-contained savagery and explosions of remorseless violence. The ensuing gavel sounds that make audiences jump is a credit to the effectiveness of Dalton's Bond.
At the time, Dalton said, "It's very important to make the man believable so you can stretch the fantasy. Whether people like this kind of Bond is another question."
In an era when any British actor between the age of 16 and 60 (and their zealous agents) announce their desire to play James Bond, it's refreshing to know that there was at least one actor who said "no" to the role not once, but three times. The fourth time was the charm for Bond #4, Timothy Dalton.
Born in Colwyn Bay, Wales on March 21, 1944 (though some sources say 1946), the eldest of five children to a successful advertising agent and his wife, Dalton is British with a dash of Irish and Italian. At the age of 16, a performance of MacBeth at the Old Vic Theater inspired his acting career. He studied at the National Youth Theater and, briefly, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts("...oppressive teachers" was Dalton's evaluation ). He trained at the Birmingham Repertory Theater (as did Albert Finney and Laurence Olivier). He made his television debut on the BBC programme "Judge Dee" and appeared as a regular on the Beeb show "Sat'day While Sunday" (which also featured the young Malcolm McDowell).
Dalton's acting priority is the stage, but he made an auspicious film debut (at star Peter O' Toole's suggestion) playing the cunning, satyr-like King Phillip of France in "The Lion in Winter" (which also marked the film debut of Anthony Hopkins). Dalton co-starred with O'Toole and Katherine Hepburn, and the film received many accolades including an Academy Award for Hepburn. In 1968, he was first offered to test for the role of 007 in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, but declined saying that, at 24, he was too young for the part, and sighting the formidable task of following in Sean Connery's considerable foot-steps (As we all know, George Lazenby had no such qualms).
Dalton then divided his time between high-profile film-work and stage productions. He starred as Heathcliff in 1970's "Wuthering Heights," "Cromwell," and "Mary, Queen of Scotts," (which sparked a long personal and professional relationship with Vanessa Redgrave), but an aborted role in "Lady Caroline Lamb" and resulting lawsuit influenced Dalton to shun films for the next three years. He compensated by throwing himself into a series of Shakespearean roles with various theater companies, including the Royal Shakespeare company.
He returned to films in 1975 with "Permission to Kill," then made his first working trip to Hollywood, taking a role in his "Cromwell" director Ken Hughes' film of "Sextette," playing the callow young husband of Mae West (who was 86 at the time!--a search on YouTube will produce a hilarious clip of a dubbed Dalton singing to West in the over-the-top comedy). He also appeared in the mini-series "Centennial," an episode of "Charlie's Angels" where he played a "Bond-type" (episode title: "Fallen Angel"), an adaptation of romance novelist's Barbara Cartland's "The Flame is Love," and appeared again with Vanessa Redgrave as Agatha Christie's cruel husband in "Agatha," which also starred Dustin Hoffman.
By this time, Dalton was dividing his time between prestigious stage-work, and being typed as the "dark, romantic mystery man" in various television and film projects, (such as Rochester in the acclaimed BBC version of "Jane Eyre") although he did use the opportunity to poke fun at that image with an Errol Flynn-type role as Prince Baron in Mike Hodges' film of "Flash Gordon." Once again, Bond came to call.
Roger Moore balked at returning to play Bond in For Your Eyes Only, which would mark a new direction for Bond after the high-flying Moonraker. Once again, Dalton was asked to audition but declined, owing to stage commitments-always his first love.
But in 1986, schedules and Hollywood's "unique" business practices conspired to put Dalton on the Bond-wagon. Roger Moore officially hung up his Walther with A View to a Kill, and a new Bond was being pursued for the next film,The Living Daylights. Once again, Dalton was asked to audition...and did, impressing the Bond producers and United Artists. But, Dalton's commitment to the over-schedule Brooke Shields vehicle "Brenda Starr" (playing another "mystery man," the eye-patched Basil St. John) meant that he could not be on set when filming commenced. Bond impresario Albert R. Broccoli, with an "in-stone" opening would not wait, and hired Pierce Brosnan, a popular choice as star of the recently-cancelled "Remington Steele," to play Bond. Strike Three for Dalton.
But in Hollywood, there's "cancelled" and then there's "cancelled." With the announcement of Brosnan as Bond, the "Steele" producers and television network NBC decided to make hay on the news, announcing they would revive the series as a handful of "mini-movies" and Brosnan, under contract, was committed to them. Broccoli did not want his lucrative film-series competing with his Bond on TV, so opted out of the Brosnan deal. Dalton was again approached, "Brenda Starr" nearing completion, and second unit work commencing on "The Living Daylights." By extending the second unit work, Broccoli could maintain his schedule, and still have Dalton in Gibraltar to shoot close-ups. Dalton finished work on "Brenda Starr" on a Saturday, flew to Gibraltar on Sunday, and was James Bond Monday morning.
Dalton's first Bond film, The Living Daylights, earned critical acclaim upon release, with IGN praising the film for its return to espionage and realism, and for showing a darker side to Bond.
Many critics, including Chuck O' Leary and John J. Pussio, were impressed with Dalton's performance as Bond and for doing most of the stunts himself and the Washington Post said that Dalton had developed "the best Bond ever".
Life After Bond:
Dalton portrayed Bond only twice, reprising the role in License To Kill, a wholly original Bond plot and title, that was cobbled together from several unused episodes in Fleming stories. In it, Bond goes renegade to infiltrate a drug-smuggler's cadre (not unlike Kurosawa's "Rashomon") to avenge a brutal attack on his best friend Felix Leiter and his new bride (taken from an incident in Fleming's "Live and Let Die"). American audiences up to their ears in action films that Summer, did not respond, as in previous years, to the new Bond film, although the film did well as previous Bond's in many parts of the world. Blame went to many sources--the film's grittier feel, the lack of glamorous polish, the ratcheted-up quotient of violence, a dismal advertising campaign...and ultimately, to Dalton's Bond. During filming, Dalton actually expressed reservations whether there would be another James Bond film.
Dalton was committed to three films, but a lengthy litigation between EON Productions, and the regime of MGM/UA at the time prevented filming of a third. In the interim, Dalton and Redgrave starred in Eugene O'Neil's "A Touch of the Poet" to acclaim. Dalton starred in the tele-film "Framed," "Lie Down with Lions," the documentary "In the Company of Wolves" and as Rhett Butler in the mini-series "Scarlett." On April 12th 1994, feeling he was too old now to play the part, and seeking fresh challenges, Dalton stepped down as James Bond. He had said "no" to Bond for the fourth and final time.
After two months of negotiations, Pierce Brosnan became Bond #5.
Of that decision, Dalton has no regrets. "When I saw those posters of Pierce standing there, I suddenly thought to myself, 'Jesus, I don't have to stand there with a gun to the side of my head anymore! I suddenly found the most tremendous sense of liberation, and I started to feel more like myself than I'd felt in years! I suddenly felt free!"
Free enough to take on projects he feels affinity for, including the IRA drama "The Informant," the story of a true-life exorcism "Possessed," (both for Showtime), and, especially, lighter fare such as Disney's "The Rocketeer," playing a thinly-disguised version of Errol Flynn, "Looney Tunes: Back in Action," portraying a spy portraying an actor portraying a spy--remarkably like James Bond, and "The Beautician and the Beast," with Fran Drescher--for which he recieved astoundingly positive reviews! His most recent film was the comedy "Hot Fuzz!" On the mini-series front, he has portrayed Julius Caesar in "Cleopatra," and the step-father of "Hercules".
He voiced Mr Pricklepants, a skakespearian plush hedgehog in "Toy Story 3".
And for more Bond-synchronicity, in 1994 he starred in a stage production of Phillip Pullman's "His Dark Materials," as Lord Asriel, portrayed in the films by none other thanDaniel Craig.
Timothy Dalton splits his time between Hollywood and London with his companion, Oksana, and their son Alexander, born August 7, 1997.
 Seventeen Magazine (December, 1970)
 Bondage, Issue 16, Winter 1989
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|Anonymous||Timothy Dalton||0||Jan 29 2013, 2:47 PM EST by Anonymous|
|Anonymous||Game for ps3||0||Jan 20 2013, 6:29 AM EST by Anonymous|
Thread started: Jan 20 2013, 6:29 AM EST Watch
I would like for them to make a ps3 game with Timothy Dalton. It could either be license to kill or living daylights. It doesn't matter to me. But I never got to use Dalton's Bond before and this would be my opportunity. And I wish that they would make a game where you can use all the James bonds. God! I never got to use Roger Moore!
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|Anonymous||Dalton was the best||0||Dec 7 2011, 6:46 AM EST by Anonymous|
Thread started: Dec 7 2011, 6:46 AM EST Watch
Although Dalton may have lost some of the womanizing charaterised in previous Bonds he portrayed a emotion that seemed subdued in previous movies. He acted in movies with good sstory lines and very good looking women. The accompanying cast was stable and he had the perfect mix of action, romance and most importantly dialogue. These days the plots are too focussed on action, haphard lust, disjointed story lines and poor casting when you consider the length of time the original Q, M and moneypenny acted for before being replaced by inferior actors. Bond can only go one way from here. Downhill.
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