BOND BABE

LEA SEY­DOUX GIVES THE BOND GIRL ROLE A SASSY UP­DATE FOR NEW 007 BLOCK­BUSTER SPEC­TRE

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - FRONT PAGE - VICKY ROACH

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.

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