"Let me just say, 'No comment.'"
Timothy Dalton offers that response, pleasantly, when asked by Zap2it about rumors he's being sought to play loyal manservant Alfred to Ben Affleck's Batman/Bruce Wayne in director Zack Snyder's "Batman vs. Superman," which will unite the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel (again played by Henry Cavill) on the big screen for the first time in 2015.
"Make of that what you will," Dalton muses about his non-confirmation. "Put that out among the rumor-mongers. Let's get a bit of a buzz going. Let's light a fire!"
If that fire were to catch, Dalton says he'd be happy to work with the latest performer cast as Batman: "I think Ben Affleck's a terrific actor, and I think it'll be a terrific film if they've got a good script and the rest of it. They know how to make these, and it'll be fabulous, I'm sure."
Adding that he saw Snyder's "Man of Steel" and "liked it," Dalton says with a laugh that his playing Alfred "might be brilliant casting, mightn't it? Who knows? Otherwise, no comment!"
Dalton has plenty to say, though, about his current activities that encompass much television work. He reprises his "Toy Story 3" voice role as Mr. Pricklepants in the new ABC special "Toy Story of Terror!" Wednesday, Oct. 16.
And he'll head for Ireland later this week to begin filming "Penny Dreadful," Showtime's psychological-thriller series that will team him with several other veterans of James Bond movies, co-stars Eva Green ( "Casino Royale") and Rory Kinnear ( "Skyfall"), and executive producers Sam Mendes and John Logan ("Skyfall").
"I truly believe that franchise, which has gone approximately as long as half the history of cinema, is a fantastic achievement," says Dalton, who played Agent 007 in 1987's "The Living Daylights" and 1989's "Licence to Kill" and participated in the series' 50th-anniversary events last year. "It's brought wonderful entertainment to young and old, and it is worth celebrating, big-time.
"I also feel, quite genuinely, that if it had not been for the fact that the Broccoli family had control of it, it would have gone the way of every other sequel-based series. But it didn't, because (producer Albert R. Broccoli, who founded the series with Harry Saltzman) constantly wanted to make every one as good as -- or better than -- the one before it. There was never a question of exploiting them and making them more cheaply."
Dalton credits Broccoli with setting "the philosophy that has driven those movies from their inception and carried them through, and that is worth taking some time out for and praising. And I was more than happy to do it."
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