Olga Kurylenko – Feisty and indecent then. Thirteen years later still going strong

September 2009 By Philip Berk

What the director of Quantum of Solace was looking for was a three dimensional Bond girl, and in Olga Kurylenko he found it.

“I looked at a lot of tapes of unknowns. She can’t just be an object of beauty. So it was very challenging. I selected 18, 20 girls to read for me in person, and after that I selected four girls to read with Daniel Craig. All four played scenes with him, but Olga had the best chemistry  and had the best elements of the character I was looking for.” 

In the past month she’s been in two high profile movies, Max Payne, which opened number one at the box-office in the U.S. and in the new Bond film in which she almost shares screen time with Daniel Craig.

So who is she and where does she come from?

“I grew up in a small town in the Ukraine. I went to school, took different classes, I did theatre, I studied piano, I went to ballet. I grew up with my mother and my grandmother, and in the beginning there was my grandfather, but then he died when I was about nine. So basically I had two women raising me. I got so much love from them I never missed my father. My mother never made a big deal of this because she is the one who left my father. She preferred to stay alone and I think it’s absolutely better to have one parent and get  a lot of love than have two and get none.”

So how did she get this part

“I moved to Paris in 1966. I was invited by a French modeling agency, and who wouldn’t like to see Paris, so I thought okay I’ll go and try it.  A scout had brought my pictures to this agency, and I got an invitation from them and they bought my tickets and paid for my visa and basically made it possible for me to travel. But when I got to Paris, I missed acting because in the Ukraine I was in a theatre school; so I started taking acting lessons in Paris, and one day I thought I should go and get an agent so I knocked on the door and said, ‘Would you give me a chance?’ and they started sending me to auditions and I started getting parts.” 

Are you disappointed that you are the only Bond girl who doesn’t sleep with James Bond?

A little miffed she answers, “I’m very proud of that. I think he’s done enough of that. But remember, he’s lost a woman he still loves. The movie starts 45 minutes after Casino Royale ended, and he’s totally devastated and not ready for a new love. And my character has her own story; she has her own motivation, something she wants to get done, so when she meets him sex is the last thing on her mind.”

Told that she looks like a girl who’s had a lot of romance in her life, she misinterprets the question.

“Me?” she asks in astonishment

“How can you judge someone by the way they look! Because I am not who you think I am. I never look for it. I am not interested in it. It’s very hard for me to like somebody. I’d rather be alone, and most of my life I have been alone. I am not a romantic person.”

How did you learn to speak English so well?

“I studied English at school, but when I got to Paris I didn’t speak a word of English. It took me about two weeks to practice and it went well.”

Can you see yourself living in Los Angeles?

“Why not? I like the weather.”

What are your hobbies?

“I haven’t been able to get any time for myself, but when I have free time I like to read and I watch movies because we didn’t see many in the Ukraine and there are a lot films I haven’t seen.”

Do you have a favorite actress?

“Cate Blanchett.”

For the record she has been married twice in France. She is currently single.