James Bond Declassified: THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS
Enter Timothy Dalton...
File #15: THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS
This series will trace the cinema history of James Bond, while also examining Ian Fleming's original novels as source material and examining how faithful (or not) the films have been to his work.
Directed by John Glen
Screenplay by Richard Maibaum and Michael G. Wilson
CHARACTERS / CAST
James Bond / Timothy Dalton
Kara Milovy/ Maryam d’Abo
Brad Whitaker / Joe Don Baker
Kamran Shah / Art Malik
General Leonid Pushkin / John Rhys-Davies
General Georgi Koskov / Jeroen Krabbé
Necros / Andreas Wisniewski
Saunders / Thomas Wheatley
Rosika Miklos / Julie T. Wallace
Frederick Gray / Geoffrey Keen
Rubavitch / Virginia Hey
Felix Leiter / John Terry
General Gogol / Walter Gotell
M / Robert Brown
Q / Desmond Llewelyn
Miss Moneypenny / Caroline Bliss
Before we dig into this installment, let’s just set the table.
At this point, we’ve had three actors play James Bond, and Roger Moore’s time has finally come to a conclusion. It was clear as soon as the credits rolled on A View To A Kill that Moore would not be playing the part again. The search began for a new Bond and development began on what was originally conceived as a James Bond prequel. There was an entire script developed featuring a young James Bond first meeting M and being mentored by an older 007 who would eventually die, paving the way for Bond to take up the mantle. When Cubby Broccoli passed on that idea, work began on the script that eventually became The Living Daylights, even as the search for the right actor to play the part began.
Famously, after passing on a number of actors including Sam Neill (a possibility that absolutely haunts me), the producers settled on Pierce Brosnan to play the part. They announced the casting just before NBC had to make a decision about the fate of Remington Steele, the TV series that brought Brosnan to the attention of the Bond producers in the first place. While it’s hard to feel bad for him considering how things worked out, at the time, it was heartbreaking to see Brosnan forced to return to the TV show. He seemed like a great fit, but NBC decided to capitalize on all the publicity by making him shoot another season of the show, and that led Broccoli to drop Brosnan and move on.
Timothy Dalton was considered for the role when they were casting On Her Majesty’s Secret Service but actually passed on the opportunity. He saw himself as a different kind of actor at that point. By the time the chance rolled around again, Dalton was ready to slip into the suit and seemed to relish the role. He spoke at length about all the reading he did and how he was taking his cues from the original Fleming novels, and he sounded like the right guy for the part.
So how did he do?
I almost wish they didn’t use the gun barrel opening here so that we didn’t see Timothy Dalton yet. Yes, it’s a very small Timothy Dalton and it’s a very quick beat, but it’s like the producers showing us his screen test instead of just introducing him in the role.
Besides, the actual intro is so fucking cool.
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