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The Real Reason Timothy Dalton Won't Weigh In On The Next Bond - Exclusive

With No Time To Die set to hit theaters this fall (fingers crossed), Daniel Craig's time as James Bond is almost at an end, and everyone's already wondering who's next in line to take over 007's license to kill.

Well, okay. Almost everyone. There's one big exception: Timothy Dalton. 

"It's not something I've thought about," Dalton admits when Looper asks him who he'd like to see play the super-spy once Craig hangs up his gun.

Dalton is one of the few men who've actually been lucky enough to play James Bond on the big screen. The actor was initially offered the role in the late '60s or early '70s, but didn't actually accept until the mid-'80s, when Pierce Brosnan had to bow out due to his commitment to the detective drama Remington Steele. Dalton, who already had a long and accomplished career on the stage at that point, played Bond in 1987's The Living Daylights and 1989's License to Kill before going on to star in films and on TV shows like The Rocketeer, Hot Fuzz, Doctor Who, and plenty more.

And yet, Dalton says that he doesn't have a clue who he'd cast to play Bond next — and even if he did, he wouldn't share. "What you really want to know is if I could name somebody," he says. "The truth is, if I did think of somebody — and I didn't, honestly, it's not something that's entered my mind — if there was somebody I thought would be wonderful, I don't think I would tell you."

Why? It all comes down to professional courtesy. "I think it would be inappropriate to someone who's played the role to enter into a casting process," Dalton says, "because it would get all over the newspapers and I'm not here to influence those decisions. Those are their decisions to make, not mine."

That's a remarkably professional response, although not everyone who's played Bond feels the same way. Earlier this year, Brosnan claimed that Tom Hardy would be an excellent fit for the part, while the one-and-done star of On Her Majesty's Secret Service, George Lazenby, has thrown Margot Robbie's name into the ring.

Timothy Dalton's latest big role is absolutely nothing like James Bond

Of course, Dalton is a little too busy causing trouble on Doom Patrol to give Bond much thought. On the DC Comics-inspired series, Dalton plays Dr. Niles Caulder — or, as he's more commonly known, the Chief — the leader of a group of misfit superheroes who battle both villains and their own individual traumas.

Don't go into Doom Patrol expecting a Bond-like performance from Dalton, though. While the actor's charisma is undeniable, at the end of Doom Patrol's first season audiences learned that the Chief is – spoiler alert – actually responsible for his team's horrific transformations, which occurred during the Chief's attempts to unlock the secrets of immortality in order to better care for his ape-faced daughter, Dorothy.

"What he does is horrendous. I mean, it's egotistical and perhaps sort of obsessive and maniacal," Dalton tells Looper. "He destroys those lives. He takes them and turns them into shadows — well, not even shadows of their former selves. He turns them into tragic creatures, who were failures. It's unforgivable, really."

That's a pretty far cry from the straight-forward heroics that defined Dalton's time as Bond (although, as many critics have noted, that character is far from flawless himself). It's not the only big difference, either. While Bond seems almost incapable of forming lasting human relationships (his friendship with CIA operative Felix Leiter, who's played in the most recent films by Westworld and The Batman star Jeffrey Wright, being the notable exception), the Chief is motivated by one thing: love.

"What has been driving this has been what he sees as his need to protect his daughter," Dalton explains. Over time, the Chief's paternal feelings extended to the Doom Patrol itself, as well: "They are now his creations and he starts to feel a kind of responsibility for them."

In other words, the Chief is a much more complicated character than Bond. "One's experience of life tells you we are capable of doing great good, and sometimes doing bad," says Dalton — and really, that's Doom Patrol's whole thesis in a nutshell. "Life is complicated and people are complicated and we should get away from very simplistic answers about people and see that they can be good and that they can also be bad," the actor shares. "I like that."

New episodes of Doom Patrol arrive Thursdays on the HBO Max and DC Universe streaming services, while the next James Bond movie, No Time to Die, is currently scheduled for a November 20, 2020 debut.