Skyfall’s Berenice Marlohe tells ShortList how she got the part despite six years without an audition.
How did you get the part?
I was a bit stuck in France – I hadn’t had an audition for six years – so I went to Los Angeles for two months. There, I heard that they were doing the new James Bond movie. Eventually I found the casting director’s email address and I had a meeting with her, then one with Sam Mendes, and then one with Daniel Craig.
Why was it going so badly prior to Skyfall?
You need the connections. For me, that’s not how I see the profession. It should be about showing what you can do as an actress.
What’s your character, Sévérin, like?
I’m afraid I can’t say very much. Glamorous and enigmatic are the terms we use – you can’t put her into the classic categories of “good” or “villain”. This is also what Daniel did with James Bond.
Can you tell us about what your relationship with Bond is like?
I’m afraid not.
OK. Who’s your favourite Bond girl?
I really like Famke Janssen as Xenia Onatopp in GoldenEye. She was very brave to do that, and she showed a great sense of humour and self-deprecation. It’s an unusual choice to play a psychopath who orgasms when she kills people.
How excited are you about becoming a part of the Bond girl legacy?
Honestly, I was passionate about creating a character because, for me, “Bond girl” is a bit abstract. I don’t really understand [what it means]. And then I realised, with all the media attention on the Bond girl thing, that it is a heavy title. But it’s more about focusing on this specific script, because I have an interesting part.
Which is your favourite Bond film?
I really like Dr No. I love the sense of humour [of Bond films] with the machines like the invisible car. It’s almost like a cartoon, you know, for kids.