Back in the days of Sean Connery and Roger Moore, Bond Girls struggled to find roles after they’d been romanced by 007.
This doesn’t apply to Daniel Craig’s leading ladies – Eva Green, Naomie Harris and Léa Seydoux are going from strength to strength, while Ukrainian-born Olga Kurylenko has also found herself in demand following her turn in 2008’s Quantum of Solace.
Olga celebrates her 37th birthday today (November 14), so what better time than now to look back at some of her career highlights.
Quantum of Solace
Olga made Bond Girl history for one very significant reason: she’s the only 007 leading lady not to sleep with the MI6 cad. In a sign of changing times, her character Camille Montes ran side-by-side with Craig’s Bond to complete a revenge mission of her very own. Arriving in 2008 after the success of Casino Royale, Quantum didn’t fare well at the time but has grown in stature as the years have gone by.
A stunning science fiction blockbuster led by Tom Cruise, this focused on a drone repairman plagued by visions of an unknown life before a devastating alien attack on Earth. The plot boasted more twists than this rock ‘n’ roll number, and Olga was perfectly cast as the mystery woman who arrived out of nowhere to set Cruise on a quest to uncover his true identity.
A pitch black comedy from the director of In Bruges Martin McDonagh, Seven Psychopaths cast Olga as a woman caught between Sam Rockwell and Woody Harrelson’s characters. It’s a brief but memorable (and darkly savage) turn – proof that she can hold her own with some of the best US actors going. And as far as big screen exits go, few are as brutal as this.
We’ll be honest, video game movies are never good. It says a lot that Max Payne, a moody action romp starring Mark Wahlberg, is seen as one of the genre’s ‘better’ entries. Though it’s no classic, it’s significant as one of Olga’s pre-Bond Hollywood breakthroughs, neatly setting her up for a career on the big screen.
To the Wonder
Legendary director Terrence Malick helped launched Sissy Spacek’s career with 70s classic Badlands and has worked with everyone from Cate Blanchett to Jessica Chastain and Natalie Portman. In short, he knows a good leading lady when he sees one, so hand-picking Olga to star in To the Wonder was a pretty big deal. Arthouse with a capital A, To the Wonder saw Ben Affleck swoon over Olga in an epic romance that turns bad.