Think Bond girl, and you think a pretty face and a body to die for as you recall the posse of women who have played the part, but Berenice Marlohe would have you believe that that's not what gets you the role. Berenice, who plays a French femme fatale to Daniel Craig's British James Bond in the upcoming "Skyfall", says that you get the part like an actor gets any other part - by suiting the script and the director's requirements - and being hot has nothing to do with it.
The actor, who's character is called Severine in the 23rd Bond film, spoke to DT from Paris where they were "resting for a few days." In her musical French lilt, she told us how it feels to have joined the famous league of the Bond ladies. "It's great, because I always loved the James Bond movies, and I always saw myself connecting instinctively to all the characters - the male villains or the female villains, the good girls - I have a big soft corner for all the characters. So I am now thrilled to be able to bring my own contribution as an actress to build that movie," she said.
As her first major Hollywood role, was she apprehensive about perhaps always being known as a 'Bond girl'? "No, no, it's absolutely a wonderful thing," she replied, "Those movies have lasted for 50 years! This is amazing and very unique. So, as I said, I'm thrilled. And after that, it's up to me to make the good choices regarding what I want to do as an actress."
And what are the qualities to make it as a Bond girl? "Well, there are two sides. First of all, you have to fit what the writer, the director, and the producers have in mind for that specific movie. And then secondly, you have to show your abilities as an actress and what you can bring that would fit that role, and the demands on a specific script. For me, you have to get something charismatic about your character and the way you act, to fit that completely unique universe of a James Bond movie." Berenice said she has also trained for her part, learning to fire with a fake gun, and for her, training also means "working on the script and building my character."
The cast might still be in the middle of filming, but a lot is already being written about the 'sexy scenes' between her and Craig. She laughed and said, "Well, I'm looking forward to work on every scene! It has no connection to any sexy scenes or what, but I'm really thrilled to work on that movie with the wonderful cast and director. So any scenes, I'm looking forward to do them!"
With James Bond's big fan following in India, are they planning to come to the country to promote it? "Well I hope so," she replies, "I would love to go to India. I'm sure we will - I don't know exactly where - but I'm sure, this is for sure," she promised.
Berenice's age has been reported as 32 and 21 - we asked, a little apologetically, for a clarification, given the huge gap. "Hahaa, I'm 54 actually!" she joked, but then said, "No I'm 32." Halle Berry has been the oldest Bond girl at 36 in "Die Another Day", so we asked if playing one requires the maturity of a 30-plus actress, given these are hardly 'girly' roles. "Yes exactly," she said, "I think so. But first of all, I think it has to do with the fact that Halle Berry is a wonderful actress, so it first has to do with her, because she fits the role. And I hope this is the same for me! But for me, you get to know yourself as a human being and use that to create work as an actress. For me, the experience you have is very important, so it comes with the age too. There are some very young people who are mature, of course, but it is great as an actor to be rich with all your experiences in life, and then what you can put on screen is more rich and intense."
Which Bond girl is her favourite? "Oh, Famke Janssen in "Golden Eye" (she played the vampish Xenia Onatopp). She just proves that she has a wonderful sense of humour, and the way she portrayed a psychopath, who killed people... It's like she's making love every time she kills people (laughs)! It was completely creative and I admire that, because you could see she has a sense of humour and a sense of self-deprecation."
With a lots of the girls' names in James Bond flicks being puns (Pussy Galore, Strawberry Fields, to name just two), we asked Berenice if Severine is meant as some kind of joke as well. But she replied in the negative. "Well, this once, it's a bit more classical."
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