Happy Birthday Timothy Dalton & Gary Oldman – 5 Fave Roles of two of my favorite British thespians

It’s a double birthday special folks!

It’s been ages since I’ve done a birthday post. The last one I did was nearly a year ago was for Gabriel Byrne! Well, today happens to be the birthday of TWO of my favorite British thespians, Timothy Dalton and Gary Oldman! Born on March 21, fourteen years apart. Both are extremely talented, known for playing diverse roles convincingly, yet neither one has won an Oscar (what a travesty!). At least Oldman was nominated once for his role in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Interestingly enough, both of them have played a British spy, though James Bond and George Smiley are on two opposite spectrum in terms of realism, though Dalton did strive to make Bond as grounded as possible.

So for this post, I’d like to celebrate their birthdays by posting five favorite roles from each actor. I’m throwing in TV miniseries as well for good measure.


DaltonBanner
Dalton67NAME: Timothy Peter Dalton
BIRTH DATE: March 21, 1946 (Age: 67)
HEIGHT: 6’2″
EDUCATION: Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London
PLACE OF BIRTH:
Colwyn Bay, Wales, United Kingdom

Personal Quote [on playing Bond]:

“You can’t relate to a superhero, to a superman, but you can identify with a real man who in times of crisis draws forth some extraordinary quality from within himself and triumphs but only after a struggle. Real courage is knowing what faces you and knowing how to face it.”


FIVE FAVORITE ROLES:

James Bond, The Living Daylights & Licence To Kill

Yes this one is entirely predictable, but can you blame me? I’ll always be a card-carrying member of the Dalton-Best-Bond brigade and make no apologies for it. I admire his dedication to the role, his determination to keep Ian Fleming’s vision in his portrayal, and ultimately, his top notch portrayal. I think the fact that he’s so grossly underrated makes me like him more. I think his fans care more about this than he does, he always comes across like he couldn’t care less what people thinks, naturally his Bond is the same way. I love his defiant remark after deliberately disobeying his boss’ order in The Living Daylights:

“Stuff my orders! I only kill professionals. That girl didn’t know one end of a rifle from the other. Go ahead. Tell M what you want. If he fires me, I’ll thank him for it.”

Dalton_BondPics

Nevile Sinclair, The Rocketeer

If one looks up ‘charming villain,’ Mr. Sinclair’s face ought to pop up. He’s the quintessential seductive bad boy with delusions of grandeur. He’s channeling classic swashbuckling movie star Errol Flynn here and his performance is just so spot on. Effortlessly stealing the spotlight for the supposed lead actor Billy Campbell, really with a villain like Sinclair, who needed a hero?

Dalton_RocketeerPics

Mr. Rochester, Jane Eyre

The fact that Dalton could convincingly play someone who couldn’t be more different from each other is a testament of his incredible versatility. This is another role where a bunch of thespians have brought into life, but Dalton’s version remains my favorite. He showed such vulnerability as the ultimate Byronic hero with mercurial moods. I love that the 1983 Jane Eyre version stayed true to Charlotte Brontë’s novel, as Dalton delivered the lines so perfectly and with so much emotion. The proposal scene remains one of my favorite scenes of all time, in fact, I rewatched parts of it over the weekend and fell in love with his Rochester all over again. I’ve done a tribute of his performance in this post, so I invite you to check out some of the clips from that miniseries.

Dalton_RochesterPics

Eddie Myers – Framed

TVminiFRAMEDdvdcoverThis 1992 British TV miniseries is so massively underrated you’d be lucky if you could even find the proper dvd to watch it! The only one available in the US is the Americanized version which is edited down to about half of the 4-hour version. I couldn’t even find any photos of him in that role, only this from the dvd cover but with him sporting that wet shirt, I’d think that’d suffice, don’t you? 😉

Dalton played a con-man turned informant in this crime thriller.Though production quality is far from stellar, I love the manipulation game between his character Eddie Myers and a young, ambitious police officer played by David Morrissey. You’ll be amused to see a very young Penelope Cruz in a small role as Dalton’s lover. There’s an exhilarating heist scene towards the end of the series that shows Dalton’s Bond-esque action prowess.

Someone made this clip on Youtube that’ll give you an idea what the show looks like:

Simon Skinner, Hot Fuzz

Dalton seems to enjoy playing bad boys. He relished at the opportunity to play a slimy supermarket owner, playing up the creep factor to the fullest, complete with thin, black mustache! Who says Dalton can’t be funny, his comic timing here is excellent! His super villain Simon Skinner paired with Simon Pegg as super cop Nicholas Angel adds up to massive hilarity, everything in this movie is intentionally over-the-top, but it works! He seemed to have a lot of fun with the role here, and he lights up the screen every time he came on screen.

Dalton_Simon_HotFuzz

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Prince Barin – Flash Gordon

He kind of looks like Errol Flyn here again didn’t he? I’m surprised he hasn’t actually played Robin Hood in his career! I used to have such a huge crush on him as a kid, and I had no idea who his name was and that he was going to be Bond, I was like ‘who’s that dark haired prince??’ It’s another case where I couldn’t care less for the hero, I thought Flash Gordon looked like a blond Ashton Kutcher!

Dalton_PrinceBarin


OldmanBanner
Oldman55NAME: Leonard Gary Oldman
BIRTH DATE: March 21, 1958 (Age: 55)
HEIGHT: 5’10”
EDUCATION: Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance, London
PLACE OF BIRTH: London, United Kingdom

Personal Quote [on playing George Smiley]:

“George is a man of few words. He doesn’t need the karate and the fast car and the gun. That’s what makes George dangerous, is the fact that he does blend in and he disappears. He’s the one to watch. He’s the leopard camouflaged by the jungle, ready to pounce, so its nice to play someone like that. He operates from a very unseemly passive position.”

FIVE FAVORITE ROLES:

Norman Stansfield, The Professionals

As the pill-popping corrupt DEA agent, Oldman was psychotic perfection. He’s the quintessential dirty cop, practically an evil incarnate in the way he tormented Leon and Mathilda. Yet he’s still mesmerizing to watch as the character’s so driven by his madness. It’s the kind of performance that made your skin crawl, but one you won’t soon forget.

Oldman_TheProfessionals

James Gordon, Nolan’s Batman Trilogy

It’s interesting that Christopher Nolan turned to an actor with a knack for playing bad guys for the role of a wholly decent cop, the only one left in the entire Gotham. It’s brilliant casting as another actor might make the character a boring decent cop, but not so with Oldman, Gordon is an intriguing character as the sole policeman the hero could trust, with his own share of dilemma as he’s torn between his loyalty to the force and his sincere desire to serve the city and its people. It helps that he’s got a great rapport with Christian Bale, too. Gordon made the role his own as he got to do more with the role than in previous films, complete with fun one liners. “I have to get me one of those,” he quipped as Batman rode away in his awesome Tumbler!

Oldman_JimGordon

George Smiley, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Finally Oldman’s got an Oscar nomination! He could’ve easily nabbed at least several nods for his earlier roles. It’s another transformative role like he did as Ludwig Von Beethoven in Immortal Beloved, where he’s practically unrecognizable playing a much older character. It’s what I’d call the anti-Norman Stansfield as there’s nothing over the top about his understated performance as the cool, composed and astute British spy. He’s NOT a super spy mind you, just a very good one and his grounded performance worked as he anchored the whole film. Even amongst a stellar British cast, Oldman still stands out far and above the rest.

Oldman_Smiley

Count Dracula, Bram Stoker’s Dracula

When Fogs asked about favorite movie monster this past week, I immediately thought of Oldman’s role in as as Count Dracula. He’s a monster to be sure, but yet he’s quite romantic with an elegant swagger, plus he’s got such scorching chemistry with Winona Ryder. He’s seductive yet utterly terrifying prince of darkness that it could easily be one of the best Dracula ever. He looks good in period garb as well, ok so maybe the princess Leia hairdo is a bit tough for anyone to pull off, but I like his long, dark, wavy locks under that top hat.

Oldman_Dracula

Sirius Black, Harry Potter series

I was torn between putting Beethoven or Sirius here as I love both performances. I do love the father/son relationship between Sirius and Harry and also because there’s a dualism in him. We don’t know whether he’s a good or bad guy, perhaps both, and an antihero is always an interesting character. He’s sporting that long, dark, wavy locks again that suits him so well. Of course what he did to save Harry in the Deathly Hallows made me like him more. It’s no surprise he’s one of my top 10 favorite Harry Potter characters.

Oldman_Sirius

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Beethoven, Immortal Beloved

This seemed a tailor-made role for Oldman, playing a mad musical genius. It’s a travesty that Oldman wasn’t nominated here as he not only transformed himself physically for the role, he also captured the composer’s inner turmoil, passion and madness. The scenes of him going deaf is heart-wrenching, it’s as if we could feel his world turning silent.

Oldman_Beethoven


Check out my previous individual tribute post for each:

Timothy Dalton Birthday Tribute  |  Chat-worthy Thespian – Gary Oldman


Well, it’s your turn to wish them a happy birthday! Now, what’s YOUR favorite role from each actor?

Question of the Week: Which actor(s) would you like to see as Bond villain?

It’s been fun reading all the Bond posts spearheaded by ParagraphFilmReviews’ James Bond January event. A few of my blog friends Marc, Ross and Darren are participating… props to all of ’em for saying nice things about my favorite Bond 😀 But it’s this particular post that inspire me to write this post… “Sean Bean should be the bad guy in every Bond film,” Ross McG brilliantly quipped, and y’know what, I can’t exactly disagree w/ that idea. But of course we can’t have that, and I’ve always despised films that somehow bring back dead characters in some absurd dream sequence or something of the sort.

Sean Bean as Alec Trevelyan in Goldenye

Anyways, what we already know so far with Bond 23 is that it’s finally back on track again with Sam Mendes directing. Daniel Craig will be back, as well as Judi Dench as M. Yay! (I love that the best MI-6 director is a woman). Even though I grew up watching the larger-than-life villains in various Bond films, I kind of want a more ‘realistic’ villain that’s less of a caricature like say Carl Stromberg or Hugo Drax (though I’m contradicting myself as I quite like the latter as I mentioned here). I’m thinking those more in the vein of Sean Bean‘s Alec Trevelyan in Goldeneye and maybe even Robert Davi in Licence to Kill, essentially someone whom I can picture Bond actually being friendly with in another life, y’know. I’d also like to think that with an acclaimed Oscar-winning director like Mendes at the helm, why not get a real thespian to portray a more complex and intellectual baddie, but without taking the fun out of a Bond flick of course (yeah I know, aren’t I picky).

Anyhoo, here are just a few names that came to mind as I’m writing this post:

  • Alan Rickman
    Though I love Rickman in his good guy–even romantic–roles as much as the villainous ones, let’s face it, he’s such a bonafide, reliable baddie. Plus he can imbue sophistication and elegance into any role, always a nice criteria in a Bond villain IMO. I know he probably won’t go into iconic-villain territory after his classic turn as Hans Grubber in Die Hard, but oh, wouldn’t it be nice?
  • Gary Oldman
    Here’s an actor who can play practically anything believably, the ultimate chameleon. I wholeheartedly agree with this astute commenter on the post about Oldman … “He’s a brilliant actor who makes every role his own and has managed to avoid being pigeonholed by Hollywood. Yeah he often plays baddies/heavies, but he never plays a certain TYPE of bad guy, he brings something new to the table every time.” Exactly. He could be a figure that Bond looks up to, who in the end turns out to be the one who betrays him.
  • Clive Owen
    I said in Ross’ post that why not cast a villain that’s just as smooth and cool as 007 himself? With all the casting rumor and Clive being in a bunch of people’s wish list for the role (including mine), it’d be such a treat to see him on the opposite side, going toe to toe as Bond’s arch nemesis. With a shrewd script, it could be the best Bond ever. With a villain like this, it’d be tough to root for the hero!
  • Cate Blanchett
    There’s barely a memorable woman villain in a Bond flick (Elektra King is close, but not quite), but with Blanchett I think she can do the job and maybe even warrant an Oscar nomination, ha! She’d be reunited with Judi Dench, who’s her co-star in Notes of a Scandal, and maybe her character is has a connection with M somehow which creates a rift between her and Bond.

    And last but not least, my ultimate dream Bond villain:
  • Timothy Dalton
    Andy @ Fandango Groovers once had this splendid idea of casting Dalton as an older, retired Bond. Now, the chance of that dream coming true is unfortunately zilch to none. Not that this one has even a slightly bigger chance of happening either, but think about it, it really would be awesome, wouldn’t it?

    In the comment section the post, Ross lamented “… 20 odd films, and in not one of them is the audience at any stage worried about the fate of the lead character…” Well, I always thought Dalton’s Bond got that sense of danger and ruthlessness that makes us believe he’s capable of killing in cold blood. With the right direction and script, perhaps we could at least add more tension and suspense in the Bond/baddie dynamic and actually believe at least for a moment the seemingly-indestructible super spy is in serious peril.

Well, feel free to add to the list, or supply your thoughts about any of my picks.

TV Watching Monday: Timothy Dalton shows his comic side on CHUCK!

The night I’ve been waiting for is finally here! I’ve started watching CHUCK again this season when I heard Timothy Dalton was going to guest star on the spy comedy and boy, the episode didn’t disappoint!! Thank you Josh Schwartz for inviting Mr. Dalton to the show! It was just absolutely brilliant to have him play against type as a dowdy, grandpa-sweater-wearing old guy and it’s obvious Dalton has impeccable comic timing. Most people either know him as the gritty James Bond or byronic hero Rochester in Jane Eyre, but he can be convincingly hilarious, as he was in Hot Fuzz and now on Chuck.

Dalton in a scene in Nov 1 Chuck episode

[spoiler alert] The moment he came on with a fork on Chuck’s neck, I knew he’d be fabulous! In his inimitable raspy voice he threatened to rip Chuck’s throat until he gave him his code word, then suddenly he turned into this wimpish bureaucrat type fellow who says he’s Mary’s (Chuck’s mom) handler. I love how he was a nervous wreck on the plane when he’s about to be tortured, “I had my first sexual experience watching ‘Lawrence of Arabia’!” LMAO! (Ok now that’s the first time I use that internet slang on my blog but that’s reserved for such an occasion as this!)

Dalton portrayed all the bumbling manners and every bit of the funny lines as Gregory Tuttle so perfectly it’s hard to imagine this guy was freakin’ 007!! But then when the revelation come at the end I literally jumped off my seat! The camera panned up from his shiny shoes, slowly revealing a man in a perfectly tailored suit and voila! Bumbling handler no more, suddenly he’s back in the 007 mode as a dashing spy. Only this time he’s a bad-ass Russian villain Alexei Volkoff who’s been working with Mary. As Dalton revealed to EW earlier today, he’s going to be in a few episodes, so we can expect more awesome Chuck/Mary/Volkoff face-offs in future episodes. Too bad I have to wait TWO WEEKS for that!!

Check out this clip of the plane scene with Saturday Night Life’s vet Anna Gasteyer (it’s no coincidence on NBC part that they’re running the Women of SNL show right after this one):


And guess what, as I was searching for clips of this episode on YouTube, apparently someone had uploaded the 1979 Charlie’s Angel‘s episode where Dalton guest starred as Farrah Fawcett’s lover Damien Roth. Man, just look at the guy, no wonder Cubby Broccolli kept pestering him to play Bond!


In the EW interview, Dalton also revealed a teeny bit about his role in The Tourist, “… [the movie] for me was another example of wanting to work with people. It doesn’t have to be a big part — I play a policeman in the film — but if someone like [German director Florian Henckel von] Donnersmarck asks you to come and it’s with two actors that you’ve never met before but have always admired, Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie, and it’s being shot in Venice, you take it.” I’d say Jolie and Depp are the lucky ones to be working with a real thespian like Dalton. He’s a huge reason why I’m interested in the movie in the first place!

Any fellow Chuck fans out there? What did you think of the episode?