Don't hate Daniel Craig's Quantum of Solace costar, Olga Kurylenko, because she's beautiful. And don't call the feisty Ukrainian model-turned-actress a "Bond Girl," either. Olga tends to be pretty sensitive about those subjects, as I learned all too well when I sat down with her to discuss her turn as Camille, a mysterious stranger who becomes 007's unlikely ally in the much-anticipated follow-up to 2006's Casino Royale.
ReelzChannel: How did you get the part? What was the process?
Kurylenko: I did three auditions. It lasted for two months and a half. The first was in Paris. I got a callback to meet the producers in London and the director, and after that I got invited for the third one, the final one, with Daniel [Craig]. That was in London again. The first I was in Paris and the others were in London because they were more, they were with people. After the last one I waited for about three weeks, maybe more, and then I got the answer.
RC: What was it like meeting Daniel Craig for the first time?
Kurylenko: I was very impressed. I'd just met James Bond. He was just like in the movie -- he shook my hand and said, "Pleased to meet you." He looked at me with those eyes. I had to do a scene with him, it was the final scene and I had to really pull it off, and suddenly he was my partner. It was all so overwhelming. But he was very good in the scene and I felt that we had a real connection.
RC: Were you required to do a lot of training?
Kurylenko: Yeah. Tons of training. Fight training. Before we started working, before we started shooting, I started training for a month every day. I had four hours of just fight training. Then after we would go to Body Flight -- it's basically, you learn how to sky dive. It's outside of London in this big tunnel, a wind tunnel, and we trained there for a month too.... Then I also had to learn how to use guns, how to take the gun apart and put it back together, how to aim.
(Caution: Minor Spoilers Ahead)
RC: Were you disappointed that your character didn't get a love scene with Bond?
Kurylenko: No. I'm very happy that it wasn't the case. I think it's much better.
RC: You kind of made history.
Kurylenko: Yeah, why not? I'm very proud of that. He's been sleeping with all the girls and it's good that he's not sleeping with me because my character is strong. It's not about that. She's strong and independent. He's not really interested too, because he just lost the woman he loved, so he's not about to just jump on the next one. I think Bond is different in this movie because he has a heart. It's not like he lost the girl and kept on going. He's recovering from it and he's concentrating on finding the people that [are responsible for her death] and getting the revenge.
RC: Were you concerned that being labeled a "Bond Girl" might somehow cheapen your image?
Kurylenko: No. It doesn't worry me at all. I know what I am and that people have seen my work before. I see it in the projects that are coming towards me. They're absolutely not the kind of projects you could imagine. They're real parts in real movies. It's very serious. I just did Kirot. You'll see.
RC: Why were you happy that there was no love scene?
Kurylenko: Because in all the other movies, Bond sleeps with women. I don't want to do love scenes, first of all. It's not the thing that I want to do in movies -- to the contrary of what people write, which is bulls**t. People write a lot of things they invent because they need to make it hot and interesting, otherwise it would be boring. So they keep writing that; there's nothing I can do. But I know what I like, and I know what I want, and I never wanted to do a striptease for Bond, which they wrote everywhere -- and that I love getting naked and doing naked scenes. That's not true. Who likes to do that? It's not true. I don't want to do that. I want to act. I've done modeling. If I wanted to be naked, I would keep being a model. I came into the movies to work, not to show my a**. That's not why I do movies. The thing is, I was already in a great place for that. Modeling is much better to show that off than acting because that's what they ask in modeling. So why would I become an actress? I don't need that.
RC: You do seem a little defensive about the "Bond Girl" label.
Kurylenko: Not about the Bond Girl thing, it's because people wrote bulls**t that I want to get naked. It has nothing to do with Bond because they wrote that at the time I did Hitman. I never said those things. They just made it up and put it in the magazine. That magazine that put it in, I'm not working anymore with because that's not correct. So I'm very happy, you know, if those scenes are required in the movie, if they're important. Each time I do a movie I speak with people and if they ask me to do it, I will -- but try to cut it off as much as possible because that's not what I want to do. Certain times it is really logical.... I will do things if they're required but not for whatever. I don't need to prove anything to anybody. I know who I am. I don't need to show my body.
RC: When you first started pursuing acting jobs, was it difficult to overcome the model-turned-actor stigma?
Kurylenko: I think I was lucky that I started to act in France. When you're a nobody, there are more chances there. Before, when I was nobody, I did my first film in Paris and I tried to get an agent here, in New York. And they said no.... So yes, it was difficult because people have prejudices, they have all those clichés that exist. People think like that, that you are one of "them." They don't want to look closer, they don't want to look inside you. It's very easy to just put a stamp on someone. People think if you've got the physique that inside something is wrong, you know? Then it means that all the ugly people should be super talented, smart, and nice because all the good looking people are stupid, have no talent, they are mean, and they are a**holes. Then it should be the same, but it's not true. Not all the ugly people are talented and smart. There is no rule. There are exceptions everywhere. There are ugly people that are smart and very talented.... It's not because you have some physique that you are an a**hole.
RC: Do you feel that sometimes you have to overcompensate because of your looks?
Kurylenko: Sure, but I'm not defensive. It is sometimes hard. "She looks good so there must be something wrong." What's wrong? I didn't ask for to be born like this, you know? I was just born like this. It's not my fault. It's just a coat, it's like you're wearing something. And we're all getting older. I'm just a human person and one day I'm gonna get old and I'm not gonna be my whole life like that. What counts is what I have inside and not outside.