LEA SEYDOUX GIVES THE BOND GIRL ROLE A SASSY UPDATE FOR NEW 007 BLOCKBUSTER SPECTRE
Bond girls aren’t what they used to be, says Lea Seydoux.
And the 30-yearold French actor isn’t complaining.
Seydoux plays psychologist Madeleine Swann in Spectre, Daniel Craig’s fourth outing as 007.
“She is very different from what you expect,” she says.
Named after Proust’s influential, turn-of-the 20th century novel Remembrance of
Things Past, the supporting female character has come some considerable distance from Goldfinger’s Pussy Galore or Golden Eye’s Xenia Onatopp.
And while the ice-cool beauty does eventually succumb to Bond’s irresistible charms, as convention would dictate, Seydoux says there’s more initial resistance.
“That’s why it’s so much more interesting. He has to work harder,” she says.
Seydoux, being French, isn’t the least bit selfconscious when she describes Spectre as “an artistic film” and refers to director Sam Mendes as an “auteur”, but she acknowledges that her compatibility with Craig is still vitally important.
“I was a little impressed by Daniel,” she says of their first encounter. “And of course, a little shy. But I think the chemistry between us in the film is very strong.”
According to costume designer Jany Temime, the female characters in Spectre are so well written, they hold their own in what until now been an unarguably malecentric Bond universe.
“Yes, I feel that,’’ says Seydoux. “They are as complex as Bond and that’s great. I think it’s also because Sam loves his actors.”
Best known for her performance in the controversial but critically acclaimed lesbian romance Blue is the Warmest Colour – Seydoux has vowed never to work with that director (Abdellatif Kechiche) again – the actor has an on-screen intensity to match that of the often rather pugnacious Craig.
“I think (the relationship) will matter,” she says. “It’s not like the usual love scenes. It’s not cheesy. It’s interesting because they also fight, but you often fight with the one
I WAS A LITTLE IMPRESSED BY DANIEL. AND OF COURSE, A LITTLE SHY. BUT I THINK THE CHEMISTRY BETWEEN US IS VERY STRONG
you like.” Seydoux came to the set of Spectre straight after filming independent romantic satire The Lobster, on which she collaborated, coincidentally, with “Mrs Bond” Rachel Weisz.
The English language debut of Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos, in which Seydoux plays an activist/dropout committed to radical celibacy, is a world apart from the glamorous Bond franchise.
Referencing Woody Allen’s Zelig in relation to her desire to be able to disappear into her character, Seydoux has had only one other experience with a major Hollywood franchise – she appeared opposite Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011).
“What’s nice is when you act in a film like this, you know many people will see it. Sometimes, you make a film and you are not sure anyone will.” Although the actor has been primarily associated with art house cinema, she is enthusiastic about the James Bond franchise. “I feel like I grew up with Bond films.”
Having witnessed, first hand, the challenges faced by A-list stars such as Cruise and Craig, she is wary of celebrity.
“I am sure it’s very difficult. I like to be anonymous, because for my job I need to observe. It would be very alienating.” Seydoux was perhaps eight when she first experienced that privatepublic disconnect – while on holiday with Rolling Stone Mick Jagger, a friend of her father’s (businessman Henri Seydoux).
“My sister told me: you know he is extremely famous. I thought she was joking. I was a huge fan of Michael Jackson (at the time). For me he was a god. My sister said: yes, he’s as famous as Michael Jackson. I said no way! This guy in an open shirt, wearing flip flops.”
While she is keen to make more American films, she is not concerned about her own profile. “I am French, so it’s different. We are not to the point where you can have a French actress being the main character in a franchise.
“You can have a big part – like Marion Cotillard, she is French and she is very famous, but she will never be like … Jennifer Lawrence, who is now a reference for girls, they can project themselves on to her.”
Spectre opens today
Daniel Craig and Lea Seydoux in a scene from the James Bond film Spectre.