Timothy Dalton, the fourth actor to play James Bond, has signed onto NBC’s new mini-series, Hercules, joining The Lord of the Rings‘ Sean Astin, Never Been Kissed‘s Leelee Sobieski and newcomer Paul Telfer in the title role. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Dalton will portray the hero’s stepfather, Amphitryon, in the four-hour epic from Hallmark Entertainment.
Dalton, who portrayed 007 in The Living Daylights and Licence to Kill, has had a long relationship with the mini-series’ executive producer, Robert Halmi Sr. The two last worked together on 1999’s mini-series, Cleopatra, in which Dalton played Julius Caesar opposite Billy Zane and his The Living Daylights co-star, Art Malik.
According to Halmi, the mini-series will put a new spin on the age-old tale of Hercules, focussing instead on Hercules’ inner strength, as opposed to the brawn approach that has been often taken in Hollywood adaptions of the story. “His strength comes within,” Halmi said. “He grows strong emotionally, mentally and spiritually as he tries to redeem himself.”
The mini-series will be directed by Roger Young (1988’s The Bourne Identity) from a script by Charles Edward Pogue (Dragonheart). A budget of over $20 million has been set aside for the project, which will begin shooting in New Zealand on 23 August. The mini-series is set to premiere in May 2005.
Hercules will mark Timothy Dalton’s return to the screen following 2003’s Looney Tunes: Back In Action, in which Dalton portrayed an actor typecast as a secret agent. Dalton has most recently been seen on-stage in the UK performing in a theatre adaption of Philip Pullman’s fantasy adventure trilogy, His Dark Materials.