Timothy Dalton James shared pushback against major 007 change — ‘Nobody wanted it!’

Licence to Kill: Timothy Dalton stars in 1989 trailer

Ahead of James Bond Day, which takes place on October 5, the day the franchise’s first film Dr No was released in Britain in 1962, an auction of some of 007’s most prized memorabilia is set to be sold off for charity. Among the goodies on offer are the famous Aston Martin DB5 that Daniel Craig’s incarnation of James Bond rode in the latest flick No Time To Die, as well as costumes and a signed clapperboard from the production. The car is expected to fetch between £1.5million ($1.62m) and £2million ($2.16m), with bids already being placed on some items. Rami Malek’s costume, when he portrayed the villain Safin, is also set to attract huge bids.

Reflecting on the car, director of private and iconic collections at Christie’s and head of the James Bond sale, Adrian Hume-Sayer, added: “Externally it looks exactly like the DB5 that we all associate with James Bond, internally [it’s] a completely different beast to be capable of all the incredible stunts and the driving that they did in Matera.”

Craig’s time as Bond came to a breathtaking end last year, with the Englishman’s Bond appearing to come to a gruesome end at the conclusion of No Time to Die. He became the seventh official bond, following in the footsteps of Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan.

And unearthed accounts show how Dalton’s time as 007 could have easily seen Bond become as gritty as Craig’s version, but directors were not keen on changing the formula then-recent films on the agent had followed.

Prior to Dalton’s turn as Bond, Moore had seen the franchise become even bigger thanks to his seven films, starting with 1973’s Live and Let Die and ending some 12 years later with A View to a Kill.

Timothy Dalton's James Bond regret as studio changed direction on 007: 'Nobody wanted it'

Timothy Dalton’s James Bond regret as studio changed direction on 007: ‘Nobody wanted it’ (Image: GETTY)

Timothy Dalton starred in two James Bond films in the Eighties

Timothy Dalton starred in two James Bond films in the Eighties (Image: GETTY)

Modern critics have claimed that Dalton and Craig’s Bonds were similar, including in 2006, following the release of Casino Royale, when The Guardian’s Gwladys Fouché noted “while Connery was cool, and Brosnan brilliant, only Dalton could show the dark side of [author Ian] Fleming’s fearless agent… they want Bond to be closer to the original Fleming character”.

Dalton went further when reflecting on this after Casino Royale’s release, claiming in a 2014 The A.V Club article that Craig was “believable” Bonds. And that was something he wished for his own portrayal of 007.

He said: “The prevailing wisdom at the time – which I would say I shared – was that the series, whilst very entertaining, had become rather spoof-like. It was one-liners and raised eyebrows and it had become, let’s say, too lighthearted.

“And the producer, Mr. Broccoli, felt that, and he wanted to try and bring it back to something more like its original roots with those Sean Connery films.

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Timothy Dalton was in The Living Daylights and Licence to Kill

Timothy Dalton was in The Living Daylights and Licence to Kill (Image: GETTY)

“I had loved them all, and I had loved the books. So that was the loose framework that we sort of embarked on, but then you find that nobody else wants to change it all!

“The studio doesn’t want to change it, the people that work on it don’t want to change it. Everyone’s happy with what they know.

“And everyone intellectually says, ‘Well, yes, we should, it was getting a bit stale, it was getting a bit this, that, and the other,’ but nobody actually wants to. So it wasn’t as easy as one would hope.”

He added: “I mean, now they have. I think now, with Craig, they have. But that was, what, almost 20 years later that they actually embarked on something more believable?”

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Timothy Dalton is among seven men to play James Bond

Timothy Dalton is among seven men to play James Bond (Image: GETTY)

Dalton appeared as Bond in The Living Daylights, which was released in 1987, and 1989’s Licence to Kill. He was heavily praised for moving away from Moore’s more light-hearted Bond, with Dalton opting to stay truer to Fleming’s gritty character.

After Licence to Kill was released, Dalton noted that he felt Moore was “fine” as Bond, but the films had “become too much techno-pop and had lost track of their sense of story”.

The star, and the only ever man from Wales to play the role of Bond, continued: “I mean, every film seemed to have a villain who had to rule or destroy the world.

“If you want to believe in the fantasy on screen, then you have to believe in the characters and use them as a stepping-stone to lead you into this fantasy world. That’s a demand I made, and Albert Broccoli agreed with me.”