Maintaining a career after breaking through as a Bond girl is not the easiest thing in the world. Just ask Izabella Scorupco or Denise Richards. If you can find them. But the current batch seem to be doing alright so far. Rosamund Pike has gone from strength to strength since "Die Another Day," and both Eva Green and Gemma Arterton have worked steadily in interesting films since rolling in the hay with 007. But arguably the one with the most intriguing slate of projects ahead of her is Olga Kurylenko, who played female lead Camille Montes in last Bond entry "Quantum of Solace."
The actress has cropped up from time to time since that film, most notably as the villain in Neil Marshall's "Centurion," but she's got no less than five films slated for 2012, varying from 3D Chinese fantasy "Empires of the Deep" to the Aaron Eckhart thriller "The Expatriate," not to mention a promising TV series, "Magic City" starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan. But more notably, she's also going to be in two of our most anticipated releases of 2012: Terrence Malick's untitled latest, with Ben Affleck and Rachel McAdams, and "Seven Psychopaths," Martin McDonagh's follow-up to his 2008 triumph "In Bruges." We caught up with the actress at the Marrakech Film Festival, where she's promoting the powerful Chernobyl drama "Land of Oblivion," and she talked a little about both of those projects.
Details, as ever with the reclusive director, have been thin on the ground for the Malick project, initially rumored to be called "The Burial," a title which is now not in play. Kurylenko does confirm the loose theme, however, saying "It's a love story. I’m the partner of Ben Affleck, he’s the male lead, so I’m playing his partner and there’s a little bit of a love triangle, I can’t go into it, but yeah it’s a very difficult, described as a very difficult relationship."
Obviously, with the director having such a huge reputation, when Kurylenko was offered the part, she didn't have to think about it. "Of course, having seen his movies, I wanted to do his film and you know when I signed on the project I didn’t know what I was doing, I had no idea. So he’s one of the directors that you say yes to. Even if you don’t know you still do it because you just know it’s going to be amazing. I’ve never trusted anyone so much like I trusted him."
And despite the reductive view of the filmmaker as someone interested more in nature than in people, Kurylenko says he had an almost supernatural affinity with her. Though that connection also meant destroying the notes he had given her throughout the production. "You know he's very scary," the actress said, "because he sees through you. Sometimes I wonder if he’s a medium because he was seeing through me, he was speaking to me about things that somehow relate to me and I have no idea how he knew and it’s scary to me. That’s why he’s so good, he perceives people. He probably saw something in me that somehow corresponded to the role. I’m persuaded that that’s the reason. He’s amazing. He tells you these things and it’s precise and right to the point and it’s like, how do you know?...He sees through, he knows people, he’s an amazing psychologist and a philosopher. My dream is to stick all of those papers that he’s given to me on my walls as a wallpaper made out of his writing, every phrase should be framed. But I can’t do this because you know I can’t keep any pages, I’m always instructed to burn them..."
As for "Seven Psychopaths," in which she plays one of the few female characters in a cast led by Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken and Woody Harrelson, it sounds like a very different shoot, but one that she had an excellent time on. "I loved it," she says. "Because I have a small part, the film is called 'Seven Psychopaths' and is about seven guys. You know it’s a man’s movie. It’s funny because when they had to take my measurements, before arriving on set, [the designer] said it’s going to be great doing a girl. On set she’s like we only have men, it’s fun to dress a girl. For me it was just to participate in a great project because I admire [Martin McDonagh] so much. And the script, when you read it, is the most genius thing. It’s very rare when a script is so well written. There are scripts that are well written but this is so witty. Noir, dark with a lot of violence but making fun of it. Everyone was great, I did a scene with Woody and he was hilarious. I almost laughed in the shot. And Martin is great. Everybody seemed so happy on set."
Both the untitled Malick film and "Seven Psychopaths" should be released sometime in 2012. In the meantime, look out for more of our interview with Kurylenko, and more from Marrakech soon.
-- Interview by Jessica Kiang