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Lea Seydoux on tipsy auditions, Bond girls and Daniel Craig’s legacy

Exclusive: No Time To Die's Madeleine Swann speaks to ShortList.

Lea Seydoux on tipsy auditions, Bond girls and Daniel Craig’s legacy
Marc Chacksfield
25 September 2021

Lea Seydoux is back as Madeleine Swann for No Time To Die and, as we find out, a lot of things have changed for both Seydoux and Swann in the (now) six-year stretch between Spectre and the latest Bond outing.

Seydoux, born in Paris, France, made the switch to English-speaking movies a decade ago and since then she has starred in myriad classics, working with directors such as Quentin Tarantino, Wes Anderson and Ridley Scott.

Here she sits down with ShortList to discuss reprising her role as Swann, why having a beer made her have to re-audition for the part and the reason that, in No Time To Die, her character is the beating heart of the movie...

Lea Seydoux on tipsy auditions, Bond girls and Daniel Craig’s legacy

ShortList: How did you feel when you were offered the part of Madeleine Swann?

Lea Seydoux: I was very very happy. I couldn't really believe that I would be in a James Bond movie. I had to meet the director and I did an audition for the part. But the problem is that I had a beer before the audition, which was a very bad idea.

So I was a bit tipsy. I did the audition and it was terrible, I was terrible. So I asked if I could do it again and then I met Sam (Mendes, director of Spectre) and that's how it happened.

SL: This is your second Bond movie. How different was the experience from Spectre to No Time To Die?

LS: It felt very different. First of all, the directors are different - they have a different style. And the shooting time for Spectre was very long - it was eight months, it was the longest. I had only three months on No Time To Die. So it was like I was in a different mood.

When you act, you always also act with how you feel at the time, with your current state of emotions. It was like five years after Spectre and so I was also a different woman, more mature.

It feels for me like Madeleine’s another character. She's very different from before, more developed. She's the heartbeat of the film, and the relationship between Madeleine and James Bond is more intense.

Lea Seydoux on tipsy auditions, Bond girls and Daniel Craig’s legacy

SL: This is Daniel Craig’s final Bond movie, what do you think he has brought to the character?

LS: It's amazing what Daniel did with Bond. He really changed the pitch of the character, the tempo, The female characters [in the franchise] are stronger now as well, and I think this is also because of him and the depth he brought to the character. He made Bond interesting with complexity and paradoxes.

He made James Bond an anti-hero. We see his flaws and that is why, I think, people have so much empathy for him.

SL: As this is Craig's final outing, do you think we will see a French actor replace him in the role?

LS: In France, James Bond would be called Jean. It's just not as sexy!

No Time To Die is released in cinemas 30 September (UK) / October 8 (US). Being James Bond is available to watch for free now on Apple TV Plus.