by Helen Earnshaw |
Bérénice Marlohe grabbed everyone's attention when she played the sexy and dangerous Severine in Skyfall.
The movie went on to be a box office smash and Marlohe has see her career rocket.
We caught up with the actress to chat about the film, the inspiration behind her character and what lies ahead for her.
- Skyfall has just been released on DVD so for anyone who has not seen the movie yet can you tell me a little bit about it?
When I saw the movie what struck me immediately was the photography of the movie because it is just so powerful.
I am fascinated with the world of dreams and imagination and it really connected me to a world, in a way, of science fiction; which I am a big fan of. It was very striking as I haven't seen that in previous Bond movies.
- You take on the role of Severine in the film so what was it about this character and the script that initially made you want to get involved?
First of all it was a character in a Bond movie and I always felt very connected and related with that universe because it is original and it really connects with the child in you.
The gadgets, the invisible cars, the crazy villains with the crazy eyes and the crazy hair is just so unusual and I felt that I would have so much freedom and pleasure creating a character in such a universe.
It is such an iconic franchise with Sean Connery and so on and I just couldn't say no to that.
The truth is I went to them when I heard about the audition as I really wanted to get the chance to show my work as I felt strongly connected with the Bond movie.
- Severine is not your average Bond girl as she is a very strong and powerful woman in her own right so how much was that a draw for you?
When I think about a Bond girl I think of Grace Jones and Famke Janssen as these are the ones that appeal to me the most.
They have strong personalities, almost like a male quality, and this is what I love to work on as an actress as it connects me with something that I have in me.
Bond movies allow characters to be higher than in life and I remember Barbara Carrer and Famke Janssen having these crazy laugh and that is something that attracts me in terms of building a character.
- This is a big breakthrough role for you so can you tell me a bit about the audition process and how you first heard about the role?
I went to Los Angeles almost two years ago and I heard, by chance, that they would do another James Bond movie - so I carried that information for about a year to a year and a half.
I was in Paris and I had a friend who randomly told me that the Bond people were in Paris and were casting for the Bond Girl. And I was like 'damn I heard this about a year and a half ago and now I have heard this again'.
For me there was no way that I was going to miss out on the chance to meet them and show them my vision of a character in a Bond movie. So I spent two days in front of the computer sending my reels and pictures to everyone I could find.
Then I found the email address of the casting director and she auditioned me in Paris. Then she sent my video to Sam (Mendes) and the producers and they brought me back to Pinewood Studios in London where Sam auditioned me again.
Then I did the final call back with Sam and Daniel Craig and I was also introduced to the producers.
- I was reading an article where you said that your performance in the film was inspired by music - particularly the music from the film 300 -
so can you tell me a bit about that and how it helped you?
I use to play a lot of piano and I really respond to music as it allows me to dive into a universe and into emotions. I based my inspiration on a dragon and I wanted when she entered a room the audience to feel that there was something very dangerous about her - like a wild animal.
I chose the dragon because it can kill from a far without touching and I wanted her to have that quality.
300 has powerful drums and it is like barbarian music almost of warriors of old times and I really wanted to bring that with Severine. That soundtrack, among others, really helped me to do that.
- You have mentioned Sam Mendes already and he is in the director’s chair so how did you find working with the Oscar winning filmmaker? And what kind of director is he?
He was absolutely fantastic. When we met during the second audition I was so happy that we had a artistic connection right away - he told me after my audition that the performance was almost identical to what he had in mind for this mind.
So from the first time that we met I knew that my vision of the character and the way I looked was what he had in mind - that allowed me to just feel so free to try things.
He was wonderful because he gave me that freedom to try things and so every take was different. When they understand the importance of giving space for the actor try things and to take risks is a quality that I love in directors.
He has an amazing sense of humour and he is so humble and that is great because I think, after you have done the work, that it is important to laugh on set and to relax and connect with the other people. It was truly fantastic.
- How did you find working alongside Daniel Craig as you have quite intense scenes together - particularly the one in the casino?
Oh yeah. Since the very first time that I met him I really connected with him as a human being. On set and in life I have a lot of child in me as I am spontaneous and I love to laugh so I was so happy to discover that he is the same way.
He is so spontaneous and funny - he loves to laugh a lot - and he was cracking everybody up but at the same time he is very serious about the work, as am I, and we were very respectful of working and preparation.
So the human connection was there and on set I would just let go and free moment by moment to listen to him and to respond to his energy. He is a brilliant human being and actor and it was so exciting to be in front of this talented actor.
It was great that the human connection was there and I am happy because people see that on screen. I am very pleased with the experience that I had with him.
- Before Skyfall you had worked in French TV and film so how did you find the transition into the big blockbuster?
Everything in life is an experience that is a stepping stone to the next thing and everything brings you knowledge.
So the work that I did in France and TV gave me the confidence to be on the set and to try things.
So the fact that I was in a big franchise was, first of all, what I had always dreamed of and because of my experience of trying things on other projects I felt ready when I was arriving on that amazing set.
- Skyfall was released in the 50th anniversary of the Bond franchise, the film has grossed over $1 billion at the box office, it been picking up awards and nominations and is a huge hit with the fans so what has it been like being in the middle of all of that hysteria?
First of all I am so pleased because I got to meet with Barbara Broccoli and all those people involved in the franchise and so it was such an amazing adventure. It is very moving for me that this film has touched so many people.
It is also moving for me to be involved in the biggest film of the franchise and the most successful - it is something that I will be proud to show my kids later down the line.
- Finally what is next for you?
During the filming of Skyfall I did an audition for the next Terrence Malick movie and I have joined the cast for that.
I am very happy because I felt so connected with this amazing person that is Terrence Malick and his unique vision of life.
To be among a fantastic cast such as Natalie Portman, Ryan Gosling and Michael Fassbender was such a great human adventure. I am very happy after the success of Skyfall that my next project is with Terrence Malick.
Skyfall is available on Blu-ray and DVD from MGM and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Photos by ©2012 Danjaq, LLC and United Artists Corporation