Dalton Mk II?
Bond nerds, the general public seem to either love a James Bond actor
or completely forget about him. Connery, Moore and Brosnan were
generally a hit with the casual filmgoer. Brosnan films were pratically
bomb-proof for Eon. Mixed reviews seemed to make no difference to the
box-office take, and each outing going on to rake in more money. As far
as Lazenby and Dalton go, the pair of them have been more or less
from the conciousness of the casual Bond consumer. How did this happen
to Dalton and what are the implications for Craig?
It all started well for
Timothy. When Roger Moore finally stood down
Pierce Brosnan and Sam Neill both came within touching distance of the
part but succumbed to a television contract and Cubby Broccoli's apathy
respectively. Dalton was drafted in at the last minute and, by all
accounts, Cubby and director John Glen were delighted. Not only was
Dalton as darkly handsome as any other contender he was also a
respected stage-actor. He was lean and athletic and the script of the
new film was immediately tweaked to fit Dalton's style meaning a down
to earth Bond film with a more human 007. The nineties were three years
away and audiences apparently demanded a tougher and less jovial Bond.
Where have you heard that recently?
Daylights performed respectably at the box-office and
earned excellent reviews. Starburst said Ian Fleming would have liked
him best of all the previous Bonds and asked where he'd been hiding
since Connery left the role. It looked like Timothy Dalton would take
Bond well into the nineties and a second film was planned for 1989.
This one would be specifically tailored for Dalton and truly cement him
as the new Bond.
Licence To Kill
was (for Bond) a radical step. Earning a 15 certificate
in the UK,the film was a dark ,straight and sometimes voilent revenge
mission. In North America the picture opened in the middle of 1989's
summer of blockbusters and was eaten alive. With a $40 million take at
the US box-office it was well below expectations and a bitter blow for
Eon. Mixed reviews picked up on Dalton's apparent lack of humour and
panache. In the space of one film Timothy seemed to have gone from bold
new model 007 to the man who had killed the series. Tabloids suggested
he was going to be replaced by Pierce Brosnan as litigation between Eon
and the studio effectively ended any chance of a third Dalton film. By
the time the next picture started pre-production, Dalton had stood down
of his own accord and MGM were finally free to appoint Brosnan, in
their eyes just about the only actor going ho could make Bond films
viable again. Dalton, while liked by Bond fans, was now seen to have
lacked broad appeal. He was cited as a prime example of why Bond should
be represented by a dashing star with the ability to play the role with
a nod and wink to the audience.
Which brings us to Craig and Casino
Royale is clearly going to have
more in common with Licence
To Kill than
Moonraker. We can expect a
straighter interpretation of the part with a tad more voilence than
usual. Anyone familiar with Craig will know that humour is not his
forte. Neither is charm for that matter. If they play to his strengths Casino Royale will
be unlike any other Bond film. For hardcore fans
that is either a good thing or a bad thing. For casual fans it may be a
bit confusing. Anyone expecting a handsome know-it-all dispensing a few
quips as he saves the world is liable to be in for a huge shock when
they see Craig.
Eon have two advantages with Casino
Royale that they didn't have with Licence To Kill.
First of all Craig's film will open in the relatively
barren wasteland of November 2006. Unless there is a sleeper lying in
wait somewhere the competition won't be fierce. Secondly Sony will give
this film a much bigger push and ad campaign than Licence To Kill got
from MGM. There really will be no excuses. If Craig doesn't work out,
are going to look incredibly stupid for hiring him on top of the
reboot. One of those decisions was iffy - to impose both is a
Time will tell if Craig joins
Lazenby and Dalton as the forgotten
Bonds; but it is hard to see someone like Craig wanting to nail himself
to an action franchise for a great length of time. The criticism he has
received is hardly likely to have changed this. For the record
thinks Daniel Craig is too poor an actor to play James Bond. But more
than a few people just think he doesn't look the part and that was one
area in which Dalton held all the aces over Craig.