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007 MAGAZINE
Issue #29 1996

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Izabella Scorupco  

INTERVIEW

Born in Poland the year before Sean Connery made his last appearance as ĎCubbyí Broccoliís James Bond, she moved to Sweden as an eight year old. Sheís been a model and a pop star. GRAHAM RYE spoke with Izabella Scorupco on her final day of shooting GoldenEye and discovered there is a lot more to this Bond babe than meets the (Golden)eye!

Todayís your last day of shooting. Itís nearly six months youíve been working on this picture. How do you feel after that length of time?
The time of shooting is almost a little bit too long, especially when youíre not the leading character. You donít work every day and I think thatís really difficult because you donít have that adrenaline that keeps you alive. I have just been praying for work because of the weather and because of all the circumstances. It feels kind of empty in the end because you do all the important things in the beginning and then itís just those actions, small cuts, putting your gun up or down or just running, looking scared...

The reaction and insert shots?
Yes. Itís difficult because to keep me awake I need to do things. Really, my brain has to work and if I donít have lines and things it really makes me sad. I just want to go and move over to something else. But if feels fantastic. The first two months I couldnít believe I was here. For me from Sweden, coming over to get this incredible chance, just being picked among all these girls who were supposed to play Natalya. I probably had something that was exactly her character. It was nothing about looks, because I think if they just wanted to go for someone pretty or beautiful they could have chosen among all these so much more beautiful women and girls, top models and so on. I just felt when I read the script that it was such an incredible chance, actually to be able to play this girl Ė sheís so human, sheís so casual. Sheís very sensitive, independent. Probably itís the same thing every Bond girl says about her character because thatís the way you feel for your character.

Iíve read the script and I agree. It seems that sheís a very individualistic, gutsy sort of female.
Yes, an independent girl. I think thatís the difference with my character from other ones. She doesnít have this immediate attraction to Bond because she actually wants to keep him away because sheís so scared of him. Also, sheís scared of everything around him because sheís been the only witness to the murder and to the stealing of the Goldeneye key. I just felt, ĎWow this is incredible I am going to be this Bond Girlí. Actually I felt really sad that Iím not going to wear those high heels and dresses because this is actually the only time when youíre allowed to just look beautiful, nothing else. But then being the first one to play a really casual girl, I just had two outfits.

Just two outfits?
Yes, in the whole film. And itís nothing really glamorous at all. But itís been a fantastic experience. It was a shock with an action film. I had never done anything about action before.

So itís kept you really fit?
I never keep fit. As soon as the camera goes on, the adrenaline starts to just blow out in your body and system so I did 10 push ups. I have never done one push up in my whole life so you feel, ĎThis is it. I have to be really strong,í and you just donít feel that youíre tired.

I hear that Martin Campbell is quite a taskmaster as a director. He wants what he wants and heís going to get it.
Absolutely.

Izabella Scorupco and Pierce Brosnan GoldenEye (1995)

Thereís a sequence at the railway when he had Pierce running up and down and you had to do push ups so you were both out of breath.
Yes. Well thatís the way I do it. Another person runs round but that just makes me blue and green, so I need to do push ups to keep the colour in my face. Because I never work out, I never run around, it just makes me bored.

How do you feel about being linked with the history of the Bond Girls, all those actresses in the 16 earlier films, now you have that place in history.
Itís like being a part of a legend.

Is that how you feel?
I do, absolutely. But at the same time this character is so different that I donít see myself as a Bond Girl. I think the previous ones have been so much prettier and so much more as Bond Girls should be. And I think they shouldnít actually change it more than they have done in this film because I think if they change it too much and the girls become too strong and too independent Bond wouldnít be Bond any more. I think he should be. Iím against those feminists who are screaming that heís a chauvinist and everything Ė I think itís ridiculous. Itís a fantasy world. It should always be on that level, otherwise itís not James Bond any more. Itís ridiculous. These people are probably not self-confident.

Izabella Scorupco and Pierce Brosnan GoldenEye (1995)

Is there one part you particularly enjoyed, one scene or sequence, one thing about making this film youíll always remember?
I think it was my scene on the beach with Bond. Trying to be kind of stronger than him and tell him that if heís going to run around with that crazy Ďboys with toysí mentality, just killing everyone, itís not going to Ė how do you say it in English Ė he thinks heís going to solve the problems with killing people and I think itís a very nice moment for me to be able to be that human with Bond, because otherwise itís just something very artificial. It was very human, this sequence in this film. For me, it was very nice.

This film is unique in so much as the cast are perhaps more well-known, and are a better ensemble of actors.
Yes, there are really good actors. I felt kind of shaky the first time I was sitting in front of them. There was Pierce and heís great. I was like a child in a kindergarten playing with my favourite actors. It was so fantastic to be able to sit there with these people who are so good.

Was there anything you found challenging about the part?
I think the English for me, because itís my first English-speaking movie. Itís very difficult to be spontaneous with English. It was a real challenge to realise when everything is finished that itís OK, because I was nervous to do it in English.

Itís pretty nerve wracking to do it in any language!
If I do it in my language Ė in Swedish Ė I know every sense of a word. Sometimes Martin (Campbell) came up with a new line at the beginning of the day and you just think, ĎOh, my God what does that mean?í We might have to scream, ĎWatch out for the bumper!í and you think, ĎWhat the hell is a bumper?í because it doesnít mean anything (in Swedish). It doesnít make sense. So that was the challenge. Also, to get used to the guns. I respect guns a lot. I am really afraid of guns. So those scenes where I have to pretend that Iím scared, I really am so scared. I am scared to death. We are playing with them in this film, but people do this for real.

Whatís it been like working with Pierce?
Fantastic. First of all, heís a great actor Ė and he is Bond. He is so much Bond Ė heís Bond in private. So they couldnít have chosen a better person. Heís just the absolutely best Bond.

Izabella Scorupco and Pierce Brosnan GoldenEye (1995)

Are there many love scenes in GoldenEye?
Not for me, no. I have something in between. Itís like before a love scene and after a love scene. I think thatís quite good because I donít actually like to watch love scenes in films. I think you get a little bit too much of these naked bodies and itís just boring.

Obviously, Bond films donít do that sort of thing as a rule although, seeing some of the footage with Famke Janssen, one gets the impression this film has gone a bit further.
Oh yes. But her character is more like that sexually, sheís a maniac. So I think Iím just glad that we didnít go further with it.

Were you at Arecibo for the satellite dish sequence?
Oh, that was great. So huge you just didnít believe something like that existed. When you see it in real life itís just amazing.

Did you have to do any stunts or hairy action sequences?
Yes, in the beginning. I was kind of shocked. Itís the most dramatic sequence for me in the film with the stealing of the Goldeneye key and killing of all these friends of mine and explosions. The whole place actually exploded, so itís a miracle I survived. That was quite amazing. As soon as you get on to a set thatís so perfect, that looks like something real, you know theyíre going to blow it up. And you never know if youíre 100 percent safe. They tell you youíre safe but you really donít know, you have to trust them. Once they said, ĎOh, just stay. You have to go to this point, so just get there and if you stay exactly where we rehearsed nothingís going to happen to you. I did Ė and it was like an Eiffel Tower coming down from the ceiling. Amazing. I was very impressed.

Obviously you hope GoldenEye will be well received. How are you going to cope with all the press attention because itís going to go bananas when the film is released. Everybody is going to want to talk to the James Bond Girl.
I think Iím just going to have a rest now for months. I donít want to work for such a long time. I have been working for a year Ė I started last May with another film and I think you shouldnít hype it up so much yourself Ė have fun, take it easy and donít think itís going to make you able to work for the rest of your life.

A lot of people think that after a film like this you will be able to do the things you want, but you never know how the film is going to come out and you never know what people are going to think about the way you act, your character or whatever you have done with Natalya. I think Iím just going to enjoy everything. Iím going to relax and try to do that. Iím happy. Iíve been through a lot of things since I was 17 in Sweden. I started with a film when I was 17 and then I have been recording, so Iím quite used to a moment when you suddenly get so much attention and you donít know why. The most important thing is not to start to believe youíre special, to try to stay cool and know this is just for two months and enjoy it. Iím going to have fun. Itís going to be wonderful to go to Japan and places I would never visit otherwise. You should never take things for granted, you should always be grateful. I think itís going to be fantastic, but also realise you shouldnít think that this is going to make it easier to do everything you want to do in the movie business or not.

Izabella Scorupco, Famke Janssen and Pierce Brosnan GoldenEye (1995)

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