James Bond (Timothy Dalton)
James Bond played by Timothy Dalton
Born in Colwyn Bay, Wales on 21st March 1946
Starred In The Living Daylights (1987) and Licence To Kill (1989).
Timothy Dalton was approached initially in 1969 to play the role of Bond for On Her Majesty's Secret Service, but he considered himself too young to do the part justice, and didn't fancy stepping into Sean Connery's shoes. Over 10 years later he was contacted once, more but felt that Roger Moore's portrayal of Bond wasn't in line with what he thought the character should be. It wasn't until 1986 that after Moore had stood down, and Pierce Brosnan was too busy, that Dalton accepted the part, telling producers to wait 6 weeks so he could finish his commitments.
With the future of the Bond series always in doubt after a new actor steps into the role, critics need not have worried as The Living Daylights became the fourth most successful Bond film up to that point. Things were looking promising for Dalton as the new Bond, but this wouldn't last for long.
Due to a number of factors, including a last minute title change, poor marketing and a release alongside other film greats such as Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Dalton's next film Licence To Kill would fare far worse, becoming the lowest film in the series based on sales.
Contracted to appear in three films, the final Dalton film didn't materialise when it took over 5 years for legal wranglings to be sorted out between MGM and EON. At this point Dalton didn't want to continue with the role, which opened the door to Pierce Brosnan once more.
Timothy Dalton decided to become an actor from a young age, joining the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art at the age of 16. Moving into TV, and a few films, Dalton decided to take a break and concentrate more on his work in the theatre. A number of years later and after a move to America, he started to appear in more TV shows and films once again.
When the role of Bond finally came along, Dalton announced that it was his desire to take the character back to more what Ian Fleming had described in the books. So after many years of comic moments, one-liners, and raised eyebrows from Roger Moore, Bond was now hard-edged, serious, dark and gritty. When Ed Killifer offers Bond a $2 million deal in Licence To Kill, Bond very chillingly tells him "You earnt it, you keep it", and has no problems feeding him and the money to the shark waiting below. Similarly, Bond was now keen to do things his own way, telling Saunders "Stuff my orders!" when he criticises him from deviating from the pre-defined mission.
Opinion was mixed to this new portrayal, especially after a younger generation had grown up with Moore's style of playing Bond, to them this was who Bond was supposed to be. There were also fans who hadn't read the novels, so were equally unsure what to make of the newcomer. While some critics and Fleming fans were delighted after years of Bond being a comedian, others complained about the films being too dark, and Bond having no humour at all.
In a very similar way to what happened to George Lazenby and On Her Majesty's Secret Service, as time moves on opinions change, and criticism fades. After the successes of Daniel Craig, comparisons have be made between the two actors, with Dalton's portrayal now being judged in a better light. §