Former James Bond actor Timothy Dalton talked to the media about his days as 007 at the launch of his new film "Hot Fuzz"...

Timothy Dalton Reflects On 007
19th February 2007

At the launch of his new film "Hot Fuzz" where he plays a supermarket manager, former James Bond actor Timothy Dalton talked to the media about his days as 007 in "The Living Daylights" (1987) and "Licence To Kill" (1989), and what he thinks about Casino Royale and Daniel Craig...

Looking back now, do you think your interpretation of Bond was a bit ahead of its time?
Well everyone has their own point of view, and you can't expect everyone to agree. I'm happy with what I did and am very pleased with it. I was supposed to make one more but it was cancelled because MGM and the film’s producers got into a law suit which lasted for five years. After that, I didn’t want to do it anymore. James Bond is still a huge baton to pick up, but it's still going and it's still successful, and everybody loves them!

What did you think of Daniel Craig is Casino Royale?
He's terrific. I think [Casino Royale] is a huge step forward - a leap forward. It's great and Daniel's great. He got a lot of stick when he was doing it. There was a lot of negative press. He was criticised by people who didn’t have a clue what was in the script or what he was going to look like in the film, which was deeply unfair. I said how wrong everyone was at the time because he’s a very gifted actor. I’m pleased that the movie turned out as well as it did.

Some people say he's along the lines of your Bond...
I tried to bring the movies back to something that was more like Ian Fleming's original character, but Daniel Craig has gone further. He's much more so. We tried to go back to the beginning, but we had a lot of opposition to it because people don't like change too much. But Casino Royale has gone right back to the beginning, the toughness of Ian Fleming's story. I think it's fabulous.

How much does Bond overshadow everything you do acting-wise?
Well, here we are twenty years later talking about it. You don't get away from it, you really don't.

Above: Timothy Dalton at the World Premiere of "Hot Fuzz" in Leicester Square, London on Tuesday 13th February 2007

But that's OK. It's part of life, it's part of what I've done. It's only 1% of the work I've done, but it's the most notable memory for most people.

Do you look back fondly on playing Bond?
It was a remarkable time of my life. I don’t think anyone except the few people who have played James Bond can tell you how strange and special it is and how much your life changes. I have no regrets about doing it at all. You also have to deal with the press and people’s expectations of what James Bond represents – you end up living in a world which is rather separate. It’s a unique role.

How was it to suddenly become world famous?
It’s quite odd at first. You realise that everyone in the street is eyeing you up and down. You become very, very known. There’s virtually no privacy at all except that which you carve out for yourself. I made a documentary about wolves and was 800km (500 miles) from the North Pole. My little plane flew into this small Eskimo village that I was to stay in and all the Eskimos started saying: ‘It’s James Bond! Come and eat some raw fish!’ You’re known everywhere.

Above: Dalton in his role as a supermarket manager in "Hot Fuzz"
Was there ever a possibility that your career would have been anything other than acting?
I don't think so, I always secretly wanted to be. But it's a hard dream or fantasy to think you can ever realise. I was trained as a scientist, I did my exams in science. I'd have ended up in a white coat in a lab somewhere if I had carried on - but I decided to risk it.

My granddad was a great theatrical impresario and at one time he ran 26 theatres. But I got the acting bug watching Saturday morning pictures like we all did back then. There's a world out there you don't know about when you're a kid from the provinces and I wanted to be part of it.

Did you get a big kick out of seeing yourself up on the big screen after watching those types of movies as a kid?
Yes, but it doesn't seem like that when you're there. It seems like that for everybody else. But it's been a great business for me. I've traveled all over the world and met fabulous people and done wonderful things.

Would you like your son to follow in your footsteps?
No, I wouldn't like that. I wouldn't encourage him to do it. It's such an uncertain business. I was at one of the best drama schools in London amongst thirty aspiring actors, and maybe two are still working. It's a tough business.

Hot Fuzz is now in theatres in the UK. The US limited release is scheduled for 20th April 2007.

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