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Hey all, continuing the good times at the New York junket for the latest James Bond adventure, Skyfall, we had a chat with the newest Bond Girl, the gorgeous, exotic and very cool, Bérénice Marlohe.  

Dig it!

 

Skyfall

Bérénice Marlohe

 

The Lady Miz Diva:  Welcome to the world of Bond.  What has your life been like since the announcement was made that you were the new Bond Girl?

Bérénice Marlohe:  Well, you really realise that there is two lives when you’re doing a Bond movie.  First of all, you are filming, which was an amazing human experience, and then you realise how much of the heavy stuff it is; considering all the promotion and the expectation of the audience regarding that and it’s very unusual for me.  It’s a discovery every moment 

 

LMD:  How were you chosen?  You had done mostly French TV before this.

BM:  Yes, I did very few French television {shows}.I was traveling a lot of France, not having auditions, not having an agent and hearing all the time from the few agents that would receive me, ‘Oh, you don’t look like the French actresses that are famous now, so it will not work.’  So, this is great, because in that sense I just was used to being my own agent and manager; I did edit my own reels all the time, I love editing.  So when I heard they were in Paris and looking for a Bond girl, I thought, ‘Wow, I really feel connected to this universe, the James Bond movies,’ because it’s like a cartoon for me. You feel like a child when you see them, because the characters are very high in colours, you have invisible cars.  I felt like I would have a lot of freedom to explore things and nobody would put any limits, so I was very excited about that.  I spent two days in front of my computer trying to find every contact of every single person involved, I even found Sam Mendes’ agent on Facebook and I sent him my reel.

 

LMD:  Well, speaking of not looking like the famous French actresses; you are half-Cambodian?

BM:  Yes, I am Cambodian and Chinese and French.

 

LMD:  So you don’t identify as white?

BM:  Yeah.

 

LMD:  And Naomie’s not white.

BM:  Yeah.

 

LMD:  Normally, there’s at least one Caucasian Bond girl in every film, but this might be the first time that’s not so.

BM:  Yeah, I didn’t notice that but you are right, we are two exotic Bond girls! {Laughs}

 

LMD:  Tell us about Sévérine.  What is your take on her?  She might be the saddest Bond Girl ever.

BM:  First of all, what was amazing is that when I read the script I had a few clues on her, but not that much, so I had to really invent everything.  And what is amazing is that I had to look inside me and question my origins; the history of my country, Cambodia, a lot of stuff that remained a bit unknown until that.  So, I got to connect with so many things, real emotions, real stuff, but also my imaginary world.  It was fascinating because I felt as a human being; I opened to a lot of things.  Regarding my inspiration, I also based my character on the chimaera, which is a mythical Greek animal, this mix of a dragon, a snake, and it’s not a panther, but I wanted its third head to be a panther. {Laughs}

 

LMD:  It’s mythological; you can make it what you want.

BM:  {Laughs} Exactly, exactly!  It was great because first of all I love to work studying with animals; it connects you to your instinct, rather than your intellect.  Also, as it is an imaginary animal, you have no limits in creation, and this is what I really loved.

 

LMD:  There is a powerful, heartbreaking moment when Daniel reads your character’s history by the tattoo on her wrist.  Your face is like a mask, but we can see everything in your eyes.  How did you work on that scene together?

BM:  I’m very happy, honestly, because I was connected to so many things.  I’m very happy you say that and it moves me very much.  Well, what was great is that, in fact, we only had one meeting with Sam and Daniel before shooting just considering the scene and just sharing our own opinions and then we were very free, and I really appreciated that.  So, it was like a confrontation of my own imagination; the people I imagined and his own world -- Daniel’s imagination -- and then suddenly everything was just on set, moment by moment.  So, it was like in life; you don’t know what is going to happen next and this was fascinating.

 

LMD:  When she’s on the boat taking Bond to the island, does she know what’s going to happen?

BM:  To me, she has a very heavy background, you know?  She says she’s not very lucky, but I think that this is a sentence that is very right for her character.  She had a very hard life and I don’t think she knows exactly, but there is a kind of tragedy in this character that I loved, and this is what I love to see when I go to see theatre.  This is powerful.  So, I think she’s not naïve about the human condition and some human people that lack humanity.  She’s not naïve.  She’s aware of the condition of the world.

 

LMD:  Why are Bond Girls and the women who play them so iconic to the public?  What about them resonates with the audience?

BM:  Personally, I love the Bond universe because you have this handsome, powerful broken man that is James Bond, and you have those girls and it’s like fantasies of what a man is.  So, I think that’s probably one of the reasons that it’s so iconic.

 

LMD:  Since so much of the theme of Skyfall is about the old versus the new, how have you seen the image of Bond women change through the years up to yourself and Naomie?

BM:  It’s changed a lot, but what I felt since the very beginning, since Dr. No, for instance, is that when this woman is entering, she’s playing with the cigarette and you feel that strength and power.  This is what I like in Bond girls in my opinion, because you feel that mix of a very high femininity, but also a bit of masculinity and power and this is what stimulates me a lot.  So, since the very beginning it was already there and you just have then to go on with that and make it even bigger. {Laughs}

 

LMD:  So, is Ursula Andress from Dr. No your favourite Bond Girl?

BM:  No my favourite is Famke Janssen and Grace Jones! Powerful girls with a sense of humour and self-deprecation, and I admire in general actors and actresses that take risks and make unconventional choices and the fact that she was killing people while having orgasms is hilarious.  She’s one of the best girls.

 

LMD:  Speaking of taking risks, after Bond, what is next for you?

BM:  I’m very excited because I have two independent movies, English/American collaborations.  One is called Spitfire and the biggest fantasy I had as actress was to play the roles that are usually given to or you see portrayed by men, like Gary Oldman and Liam Neeson, or Heath Ledger doing the Joker in the Dark Knight.  I have a strong feeling about those kinds of characters and I will have the opportunity to do something like that in that movie, so I’m very happy.  The second movie is named Pan, it is a re-adaptation of the Peter Pan myth and it will be with Terence Stamp, who is an amazing actor.  His eyes are magical; you see all the humanity and authenticity, a lot of majesty.  This is great, this movie is directed by Ben Hiben, he has an amazing universe, a dream universe and I love that.

 

~ The Lady Miz Diva

October 15th, 2012

 

Click here for our exclusive interview with the Bond film series producers, Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson.

Click here for our exclusive interview with Skyfall costar, Naomie Harris.

Click here for our coverage of the Skyfall New York Press conference, with our questions for director Sam Mendes, new Bond villain, Javier Bardem and Bond, James Bond, himself, Daniel Craig.

 

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Photos

Exclusive photos by L.M.D.

Film Stills Courtesy of  Sony Pictures

 

 

 

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