_Olga Kurylenko Dream Machine
From Daniel Craig to Romain Duris, via Antonio Banderas, the James Bond Girl who came in from the cold plays opposite the silver screen’s biggest names and is on the A-list for directors looking for a leading lady.
Passionate, multi-lingual and a hard worker, the stunning Slav is, in reality, a world away from the ice queen image that comes across from the glossies. In between three film shoots and a photo shoot for Blush, we had a chat with this modern-day heroine.
When we meet you are we meeting a French woman or a Ukrainian?
There is no simple answer. I was born in Ukraine, my mother is Russian with Bashkir blood on her father’s side while my father is half Belarusian and half Ukrainian. I was naturalised French in 2001, after having lived in the United States and England. I travel a lot and speak several languages. I have lived, for the most part, in Europe. So I feel more European and a world citizen.
What memories do you have of the ex-USSR?
The more time goes by, the more these memories fade. I was very young at the time. However, as soon as the USSR collapsed, I remember how difficult life became for my family. Before Perestroika, we lived normally. After it, there were days when we had nothing to eat because we had no money any more. It’s true that if there’s one memory I still have it’s of being hungry all the time!
You were a model at the age of 16; what did you learn from that experience?
It was a chance to grow up very quickly and I very quickly became aware of my responsibilities. From then on, I was the only one running my life; no-one was going to help me so it was up to me to create something although I started with nothing. I was very focussed on everything I undertook. I was much more serious than I am now, much less relaxed. My friends would often say to me: “Why don’t you ever go on holiday? Why are you working all the time?”
You often play the role of an Amazon on screen; are you a fighter even when the camera stops rolling?Even if I love doing stunts and learning new techniques, I’m not really a fighter in the physical sense of the word. However, my personality is definitely that of a fighter. I am pretty well organised (much too much so for an actress!), very focussed when I need to be and I have absolutely no fear of work – on the contrary, I love it! And I’m not talking about the glamour side of things. For instance, in Provence, when I get to my house I am capable of weeding the garden or collecting up the leaves by hand. I enjoy that and doing things with your own two hands is enormously satisfying, a great joy.
What did it feel like to top the bill of a blockbuster like James Bond?
I find it hard to believe. Obviously I was very happy and impatient to start filming! It was so huge; I have really great memories of it.
From Quantum of Solace alongside Daniel Craig to To the Wonder with Ben Affleck and Javier Bardem, you play very different roles; which ones do you prefer?
I enjoy playing in action films and more dramatic films just as much. They are so different. The storyline is very important, and the people you are filming with as well; partners, the director and the entire film crew. It’s really the people who make it a good experience or not.
When you are not filming, what would be your perfect day?
Oh goodness! When I’m not filming I’m still working. Since my son was born I try to spend time with him. So my perfect day would be with him and my partner in a park, playing and having a picnic.
You are a young mother with a dream figure; what do you do to keep in shape?
Honestly, nothing special. I try to eat as healthily as possible, without obsessing. I eat everything – there are no forbidden foods, only food I try to eat as little of as possible and only when I really want it. What makes things easier is I don’t really have a sweet tooth so I almost never have a dessert. For example, I really don’t like ending a meal with a dessert so it’s not a big effort.
What film news do you have for us?I have several films coming out this year: Mara, a thriller that will really scare you! Gun Shy, a comedy with Antonio Banderas and The Death of Stalin, another satirical comedy with Steve Buscemi and Simon Russell Beale, directed by the incredible Armando Iannucci. I have also just finished making a slightly Science Fiction French film, Dans la Brume, with Romain Duris and The Man Who Killed Don Quixote by Terry Gilliam with Adam Driver and Jonathan Pryce and I’m beginning filming 15 minutes de Guerre with Alban Lenoir. Then I’ll be doing Johnny English 3, a comical parody of James Bond with the lovely Rowan Atkinson, so in fact I’ll be a Bond Girl for the second time in my career! As it’s a comedy it’s even more exciting for me; I love comedies! I’m currently in the middle of filming L’empereur de Paris with director Jean Fran.ois Richet with Vincent Cassel in the role of Vidocq.
What is your mantra?
What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger!
By Laure Delvigo
Photo Sandra Fourqui