Interview: Naomie Harris and Berenice Marlohe of 'Skyfall'
On action, training, glamour and being Bond Girl ... uh, Women.
Playing, respectively, Bond's MI6 co-worker Eve and the shadowy-eyed femme fatale Sévérine, Naomie Harris and Bérénice Marlohe are on opposite sides in "Skyfall," but outside of fiction they're easy comrades, united in bringing this 23rd Bond film -- in the 50th year of the franchise, it should be noted -- to the screen. Marlohe is a veteran of French television; Harris, known from films like "28 Days Later" and "Ninja Assassin," as well as other less, uh, kinetic productions. We spoke with the two in Los Angeles.
MSN Movies: Can we all agree to retire the phrase "Bond girl" because first of all, you're fully-grown women?
Naomie Harris: Yes. (Laughs)
Berenice Marlohe: (Laughs)
But when you signed up for this, is there that little moment of excitement? Do you say, "I'm a Bond person!"? Is it great just to be cast?
Marlohe: Yeah. Yes it is. It is. For me, just being part of a Bond movie is such an extraordinary moment in somebody's life because it's a world of freedom and imagination and they manage to make you dream, you know? Whatever your age is, (it's) such a delightful moment in my life to be part of.
And Miss Harris, you have experience with action filmmaking -- you sprinted into all of our hearts in "28 Days Later."
Harris: Oh, thank you.
Were you ready for the level of intensive, proactive stunt work you were doing here?
Harris: No, no.
Harris: No. When they said it was an action movie I thought, "Oh, I've done those. That's fine. I'll be alright." This was a whole new level. I mean I was training for two months before we even started filming. I had a personal trainer who took me out five days a week, I was at the gun range three days a week, I was doing stunt driving, I was doing combat training, I mean it was like I was actually being trained to be an MI6 (British Intelligence) agent. I think I might have even gotten more training than they had. It was intense.
You do know that real MI6 agents don't have a director yelling 'cut' on a regular basis ...
Harris: (Laughs) There was nobody… I wish somebody was yelling cut during my training. They would have saved me.
Miss Marlohe, when you read the script and you know that you're playing a very femme fatale type role, how much fun is that? Is it part attitude and part eye shadow to create a look, a feel for the character?
Marlohe: (Laughs) This is very funny, because what excited me was to really create a real human being with substance, with emotion, but at the same time yeah, playing with that glamour that gives you so much freedom because they are so powerful I took my inspiration from a dragon, and those nails ... They were amazing and really helped me with feeling the dragon entering me.
All claws and appetite.
Marlohe: Yeah (Laughs)
This film is of course marks the 50th anniversary of the Bond series. People love these movies; people watch them. I'm curious, what is, "Skyfall" excepted of course, your favorite individual Bond film? Which one is the one that for you makes you go, "Ah, that's what I love about the Bond movies"?
Harris: I'm going to go with "Casino Royale." Which is unusual actually because I felt like that Bond is a real departure from the Bonds that we see in the past.
Incredibly faithful to the book.
Harris: Yes, but seeing the more vulnerable Bond, a Bond that falls in love, and Bond who gets out of breath, and you haven't really seen a Bond like that. They become kind of cartoon characters, and so for me it was really nice to see a more human Bond that was more relatable.
And Miss Marlohe, very quickly, your favorite Bond?
Marlohe: Well I have a specific tenderness for "A View To Kill" because I just loved Christopher Walken and Grace Jones in it.
Marlohe: Yes, absolutely.
For more on "Skyfall," check out our video interview with the cast: