Some of the most memorable moments in the
Bond series have been provided by the incomparable "Bond
girls" and the diabolical villains Agent 007 has faced.
Campbell notes, "I think the women in this film are far stronger than they have been in the past and certainly not as reliant on James Bond. Both Xenia and Natalya are quite capable of looking after themselves."
Famke Janssen stars as the desirable but deadly Xenia Onatopp. The actress was cast on the heels of her starring role in another United Artists film, Lord of Illusions.
"I was thrilled," Janssen declares. "Xenia gave me a great opportunity to be all the things I would sometimes like to be but could never get away with. Xenia is a killer who definitely enjoys life."
"I think every man wants to be James Bond...and it's always been my secret desire too. Xenia comes very close: she loves to drive fast, shoot guns, gamble...and she loves men--in her own way. There's a kind of animal attraction between her and James," she adds laughing, "because Xenia's definitely an animal."
Izabella Scorupco won the role of Natalya Simonova, a Russian computer programmer who is thrust into an initially uneasy alliance with Bond. She was discovered in Sweden during an international casting search that encompassed the United States and Europe.
"I loved the part of Natalya," Scorupco declares. "She's very strong and very brave, and she has a lot more energy than I've ever had--always on the run and escaping."
The actress adds that she has no problem with the designation given to the women of past Bond adventures. "I don't mind being called a 'Bond girl'; I take it as a compliment. I've always loved the Bond films--the glamorous locations, the extraordinary situations--so even if they'd had me running around on high heels and sighing, 'Oh James,' I would have done it. For me, it's being part of a legend. It's just fantastic."
Heading Bond's opposition in GoldenEye is Sean Bean as Alec Trevelyan, who, as Martin Campbell points out, is not your typical Bond villain. "We wanted someone who was Bond's equal, both physically and mentally, rather than some madman trying to take over the world, so when they finally confront each other, it's a hell of a fight."
Bean affirms, "When we first meet Alec, he appears to be a trusted friend and ally of James Bond. He's a highly trained secret service agent who has risen to the top by using his wits and razor sharp reactions. They are a good match--each knowing that the other can be a totally professional, ruthless killer when he wants to be--so the final confrontation between them is powerful and very spectacular."
"I like playing the villain," the actor continues, "if it's a strong, meaty part like this. The villain has always been an integral ingredient to the success of the Bond films, and Trevelyan is a good adversary to Bond in this adventure."
Screen veteran Joe Don Baker had previously
squared off with James Bond in a decidedly
"I think I'm one of only a couple of actors to play two different parts in the Bond movies," Baker muses. "I've played both villain and hero now, and it's difficult to say which I prefer. In general, you tend to have more fun playing a bad guy, but if it's a good guy like Jack Wade, who has a lot of colors to him, then that's a lot of fun too. There are many levels to Wade, which made him an interesting role to play...and I'd welcome the chance to do it again." The Bond films have several time-honored traditions, three of the most beloved of which are Agent 007's colleagues in Her Majesty's Secret Service: M, Q, and Miss Moneypenny.
In a break with tradition, however, Bond's boss, known only as M, is being played for the first time by a woman, esteemed British stage and screen actress Dame Judi Dench. As M, the actress utters a line to 007 that is destined to become a Bond classic, "I think you are a sexist, misogynist dinosaur."
"She just nails him," Brosnan laughs. "It adds a distinctly different slant to Bond's relationship with M. As an actor, working with Judi was certainly one of the highlights of the movie for me. She's a magnificent actress, a great lady and a wonderful person."
Dench recalls, "I was absolutely delighted when I got the call, because I've been a huge Bond fan for years and Bernard Lee, who originally played the part, was a great friend of mine. I can now refer to myself as a Bond woman, and will indeed for the rest of my career."
"I enjoyed playing M," she adds. "She adopts quite a tough line in this movie, but, then again, how would you become head of MI6 by being anything but tough?"
Returning for his 15th Bond adventure is
Desmond Llewelyn, playing the ingenious Q, the inventor of the
amazing gadgets that have gotten Bond out of more than his share
of tight spots. His exasperated admonition, "grow up, 007,"
has now been directed to every actor to
Llewelyn has become so identified with the character of Q that fans are often caught by surprise at his own admitted ineptitude with gadgets. "I'm hopeless," he confesses. "I can't fix anything; I can hardly put a kettle on, let alone set a video. I've been in hotels with those plastic card keys and I put my card in and, of course, it sticks. Somebody comes to help me, recognizes me and says, 'Well, I would think you ought to be able to do it.'"
Samantha Bond--no relation--appears in her first Bond movie as M's efficient assistant, Miss Moneypenny.
Completing the collection of friends and foes are: British television favorite Robbie Coltrane as the dangerous Russian arms dealer Valentin Zukovsky; actor and writer Alan Cumming as the traitorous computer wizard Boris Grishenko; distinguished German actor Gottfried John as the sinister Russian General Ourumov; venerable French stage and screen actor Tcheky Karyo as Russian Defense Minister Dimitri Mishkin; and Minnie Driver in the cameo role of a Russian Country & Western singer.
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