How did relative newcomer Olga Kurylenko land a role as the newest Bond girl? We submit the accompanying photo as Exhibit A.
Hailing from a humble Ukrainian background, Olga Kurylenko has achieved plenty in her 29 years. She embarked on a successful modeling career in her early teens, eventually moving to the fashion capital of Paris. She appeared on numerous magazine covers and became the face of several clothing and beauty-product lines. In 2005, she branched out into acting, most notably portraying a vampire in Paris, je t’aime and a crime lord’s girlfriend opposite Timothy Olyphant in Hitman.
Now the Ukrainian beauty can add Bond girl to her growing list of accomplishments. In this month’s 007 outing, Quantum of Solace, Kurylenko will wow moviegoers with not just her sultry looks but also some solid stunt work (which forced her to overcome her fear of heights). She spoke to us about becoming part of such a famous cinematic lineage.
You spent a great deal of time training for Quantum of Solace. How was that? I did a lot of fight training and weapons training. It was a lot of fun and hard work. I was training for four hours a day for a month before I started shooting. Then, during the shoot, I did training whenever I had a free day. It was quite a physical six months. I loved it.
Did you get an adrenaline rush from it? Of course! It was great. Everything I learned during Bond, I would never have learned anywhere else. It’s just fun to do things like that. It keeps you alive and wakes you up. Even when it’s scary, it makes you excited. That’s what it’s about. If you don’t feel anything, it means you’re dead.
What was the most difficult stunt for you to do? The boat chase. It was very difficult because filming lasted for two weeks, and it was very complicated. The boat was going really fast, and the waves made it difficult to hold on. We had to fight and act.
What is your character, Camille, like? She’s a woman who doesn’t buy into manipulation. She’s quite smart. She knows what she’s good at and is strong, independent, and quite feisty.
Is she a good Bond girl or a bad Bond girl? It depends on whom she’s with. She’s kind of a manipulator. She’s after revenge and is really concentrated on that. [Camille and Bond] have totally different goals, but their paths cross, and at some point, they realize that they have to get along.
What can you tell us about your costar Daniel Craig, who plays James Bond? He’s a really pleasant person. He’s very funny, and he makes a lot of jokes on the set. I think he’s very grounded.
You’ve filmed in countries such as Turkey, Israel, and Bulgaria. Of the places you’ve shot in, which is your favorite? The place that really interested me was Chile. I went to Valle de la Luna, and it was amazing. We didn’t shoot there, but I got a day to visit. And the San Blas Islands of Panama are really beautiful.
Bevy of Beauties
With her turn in Quantum of Solace, Olga Kurylenko becomes the newest member of the world’s most exclusive sorority. Every fan of the 007 franchise has a favorite femme fatale (or two). We submit our list of the best Bond girls to shake, not stir, the debate. -- B.R.
HONEY RYDER in Dr. No (1962) -- The image of a bikini-clad Ursula Andress is forever burned into our brains. But we love her for more than her looks: Her character is smart and resilient too.
TRACY DI VICENZO in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) -- The daughter of a mafioso is saved from a suicide attempt by 007 and wins over the agent’s heart. Only the spunky and clever Diana Rigg, famous for playing The Avengers’ Emma Peel, could pull off this seemingly impossible task.
XENIA ONATOPP in GoldenEye (1995) -- Famke Janssen’s villainous operative is a deadly beauty with powerful thighs that can crush a man in scant seconds. She’s a brutal opponent who redefines the term killer legs.
WAI LIN in Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) -- Michelle Yeoh plays the perfect counter to Bond. She’s a woman with amazing martial-arts skills and a quick wit. Though she and 007 are sent to kill one another, they eventually become allies, and for a short time, lovers.