×
Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Timothy Dalton reveals his favorite thing about Doom Patrol season 2 - Exclusive

He's been James Bond. He's been a Time Lord. He's played Julius Caesar, Hot Fuzz's villainous supermarket manager Simon Skinner, and one of Toy Story's sentient playthings. At this point in his career, you would assume that Timothy Dalton has pretty much done it all. But he's never played a character like Niles Caulder — also known as the Chief — on the DC Universe series Doom Patrol.

And Dalton knows it, too. "As a generalization, one does look around at oneself in life to see if you know anybody or have had experience with anybody who might fit your vision of what the character might be," he says during an exclusive interview with Looper

However, on a show as crazy as Doom Patrol, that only gets you so far. As Dalton puts it, "Is there anything you've ever tried to be that would allow you to take people's brains out of their heads? The answer, in that case, is no."

On Doom Patrol, Dalton plays a charming but mad scientist who creates a team of misfit superheroes. It's a show that features a robot (voiced by Brendan Fraser) as one of its main leads, and includes characters like a magical farting donkey, a sentient street, and a hair-eating villain called the Beard Hunter. 

Even by comic book standards, Doom Patrol pretty wild. And yet, Dalton's favorite part about the show's second season — which launches its second season on Thursday, June 25 on the DC Universe and HBO Max streaming services with a three-episode roll-out — is its humanity.

"I don't think there's a character in the show that you can't identify with in some way as being human. Yet, they're not human at all," Dalton says. "Real people don't dissolve into a blob when they get stressed."

But, as Dalton explains, that doesn't stop Doom Patrol's second season from having a profound emotional impact. "I find it very moving — maybe more moving emotionally than season one," he tells Looper. "We've somehow been able to contain a genuine understandable humanity with a totally absurd, weird fantastical series of events that these characters come across in their lives."

Dalton continues, "You think of these people, even if they're made of steel, they're human. Even if they're surviving in a way that no one could have ever survived from radiation, they're human, they're real." That's really the key to Doom Patrol's success: "It all works together. I love the show. I've never seen anything or been in anything like it."

How Timothy Dalton prepared to play Niles Caulder on Doom Patrol

Doom Patrol is based on a series of DC Comics, particularly the late-'80s and early-'90s run by writer Grant Morrison, artist Richard Case, and a few other collaborators. However, when it came time to delve into the Chief's psyche, Dalton didn't turn to the comics. There was only a week between when Dalton was cast on Doom Patrol and when he started filming — and though he tried, he couldn't get his hands on the source material in time.

Besides, as Dalton tells Looper, the show is a little different from the comics, even if it shares the same sense of wild abandon. "I was just thinking that when we do comic books, we start with reality and humanity and life, and then stretch it with fantasy into being a fantastical event that we look at and enjoy," he says. "I think in this, it brings much more enjoyment because we've taken the fantasy comic and actually brought it back to our world, to our humanity."

Don't think that Dalton drew on his personal life while developing the Chief, either. When asked if there's any part of the Chief that he relates to, Dalton is pretty blunt. "Well, I know what it's like to be a parent," the actor says. "Apart from that, nothing. Nothing much else at all. I like to think of myself as being curious, but then, most of us are curious."

Still, Dalton is an actor and the Chief is a human — albeit a monstrous one. "I can find what I believe are all the necessary qualities that he has, I can find them in myself, because we are all made up of many complex emotions and feelings," says Dalton. "Our job is to tap into those. Even if they are diluted, we've got to tap into what makes a character work and find that in yourself. If you can't find it, you have to be good at pretending it."

Ultimately, Dalton credits Doom Patrol's writers for creating such a vibrant, distinct character to play. "A lot of tools are in the script and the general story," he says. "Understand the background, ask questions about the background if you need to. [...] Then you just make choices that are interesting. You make choices that you think or hope are interesting and often contradictory to get substance to start from."

So far, that approach has worked out well. Of all of DC Universe's original series, Doom Patrol is by far its biggest hit. Even Dalton himself is a fan. "It's imagination run riot. It's imagination given no boundaries," he says. "When I say it's unique, I truly mean that. So, it's just a delight to watch it on the screen and think I was part of this."

Doom Patrol season 2 premieres on HBO Max and DC Universe on Thursday, June 25.