Timothy Dalton might rank as one of England's most courageous actors - and not merely because he has often performed his own stunts.

His bravery also is exemplified by following in the footsteps of famed actors in their classic roles. He is best known for taking over the part of the suave British agent James Bond in "The Living Daylights" and "License to Kill," after Sean Connery and Roger Moore had turned in their 007 ID.He demonstrated his nerve by following Clark Gable as Rhett Butler in the TV miniseries "Scarlett," the continuation of "Gone With the Wind." And as a young actor in 1970, he dared to appear in another film version of "Wuthering Heights" as Heath-cliff, which Laurence Olivier had seemingly made his own.

Seasoned as a classical actor at the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Welsh-born Dalton has appeared in a variety of roles in films and television.

When not traveling to a far-off film location, Dalton, 53, spends his time between homes in London and Hollywood.

1. Did it take courage to follow Olivier in "Wuthering Heights"?

Dalton: Courage? That's a strange word. When you take on something that somebody famous has done, you know you're in for a rough ride. Perhaps naively, you think you are going to do something different. We intended ours to be more faithful to the original story. In the Emily Bronte book, Heathcliff and Kathy are teenagers. In the other movie, Olivier and Merle Oberon certainly looked as if they were in their 30s.

2. What was it like working with Mae West in "Sextette"?

Dalton: Phenomenal. She was quite remarkable. She was quite elderly at the time, but spending time with her was truly phenomenal. She was very witty, extremely witty. She had a reputation of being a sex-bomb lady in her early movies. But she was really a great satirist rather than a sex bomb.

3. Were the Bond movies hard work or a walk in the park?

Dalton: It's neither. Well, it's both. No, it's hard work. Sorry, I'm kind of jumping around. It's a certain kind of movie. All movies are hard work because you're trying to get them right and do your work well. Most movies - and certainly the Bonds - are simply hard physically because you're often working 14 to 15 hours a day.

4. Did you do your own stunts on the Bond films?

Dalton: I was involved in them. I didn't do anything that is going to break my neck. In those days there was never a stunt or a moment in a Bond movie that hadn't been done for real. Nowadays we're so used to what you can achieve with computer graphics.

5. Do you drink martinis, and if so, how prepared?

Dalton: No, I don't. I've always found martinis knock me sideways.