The Women Of Bond Pic: Gavin Bond

The Women Of Bond

Naomie Harris is SKYFALL's field-agent Eve

Posted 14.05.2012

Where are you right now Naomie?
I’m in Turkey, we have had quite a lot of rain for the last couple of months but the last couple of weeks have been much warmer.

How long have you got left in Turkey?
We’re here until mid-May, so quite a lot to do.

What was the audition process like for you?
Debbie McWilliams, who casts a lot of the Bond films, came to see me in Frankenstein at the National Theatre, London, and she thought I would be good for the role so she asked me to come in and audition. That was really just going on tape at EON headquarters and then I was asked to do a screen test, then asked to meet Sam and Barbara Broccoli.

Are you quite chilled in those situations or sitting at home crossing your fingers?
I didn’t think I was very appropriate for a Bond actress – so I didn’t think I had a chance. I knew they were auditioning all around Europe so I thought I was one of thousands to bulk up the numbers or something. So at first I wasn’t nervous at all, but after the screen test I couldn’t help but think, ‘Wow, wouldn’t it be great?’ but generally I’m like, ‘Whatever is meant to be will happen’. I don’t hold onto things too tightly. But by the third audition I started to get really nervous, as if they were asking me to meet Sam and Barbara and they’re telling me I’m down to the last four it must be quite serious. By then I was desperate for the role.

How did you celebrate getting the part?
I was in Washington promoting The First Grader, which was one of the films Barbara saw me in, I was with the director, Justin Chadwick, doing press and was told I couldn’t tell anyone, that it was top secret and they didn’t want anything announced for two months. It was really difficult as I wanted to scream it from the rooftops and tell everyone as I was so happy. The only person I ended up telling was the director. I called home and told my family who were all screaming and so excited.

Your videoblog on shows you doing some pretty intensive gun training.
Yes, I’ve been doing months and months of training. It’s been four months in total – more training than I have ever done for anything else.

Are you pretty handy with a gun now?
I have had this amazing gun trainer, Joss Skottowe. I’ve learnt how a gun should be treated and it’s all ‘safety first’ I had to be on the gun range twice a week so I was really comfortable with guns.

Which gun was the most difficult to shoot?
The Glocks because they have the hardest kicks. They’re really ugly as well. The Walther PPK is quite beautiful, which is a weird thing to say about a gun, but it’s really well made and feels good in your hand and being a woman it’s small but relatively light. The Glock is big and unattractive looking. It’s just an ugly piece of machinery. You get a big kick back and sprayed with this hot stuff from the blanks right in your face, which is not very pleasant.

Have you picked up any injuries?
I have been running with my trainer three times a week and never had a problem, but recently I jumped out of a car and whilst running, I twisted my hip in the wrong position – it’s fine now.

So is Eve a full-on action role?
Most of my action scenes have been since I came out to Turkey. It’s all action from here on out.

Apart from the gun training what other skills have you had to sharpen up on?
I’ve been doing a lot of car training. It’s been brilliant for my actual driving. I can’t tell you how much my day to day driving has improved. That’s been so much fun – doing things like driving a Land Rover really fast on tarmac and then stopping dead, which makes any car skid wildly out of control and you have to pump the brakes to regain control. It’s doing the things you are told when you first learn to drive a car, that when a car starts to skid you’re supposed to go with it, but you never actually get to experience that unless you’re in an accident. But to have that experience in a controlled environment and to see how the car reacts and how you can bring it back under control is really exhilarating and very empowering to have learnt these new skills. Ultimately, on set you never do anything as dangerous as you do in training, they’re much more dramatic and scary in training and it gives you extra confidence when you’re on set.

What’s your costume like, is it sexy or functional?
Ha! Eve wears practical clothes but this is a Bond film so you have to add a bit of glamour. So instead of your normal action trousers I have leather action trousers. So that’s nice.

So does Eve get to ‘slip into something more comfortable’?
Well maybe, you never know. I can’t say.

What’s it been like working with Sam Mendes?
It’s been the highlight of working on the movie. I absolutely love Sam. He’s got a great sense of humour, is always jovial and incredibly calm. The feel of the set comes from the director and he brings his calmness to the unit. I remember thinking on my first day of filming, ‘Oh my gosh it’s Bond, there’s going to be so many people, it’s going to be so big’ but actually it was quiet and there weren’t that many people around and that’s because that’s how Sam likes it. You really feel you are able to concentrate on the action without any of the fanfare and without feeling a million eyes watching you. He’s also brilliant at working out what you need as an actor, he’s very particular so you know you’re going to do as many takes as you need to get it right, so you feel you are in very safe hands.

It’s Bond’s 50th anniversary, did you grow up watching the movies?
Totally. I’ve always loved Bond movies, I grew up with them, as did everyone of my generation. They have that magic formula to keep all generations engaged. And I love the fact that with time they have got more reflective of society, so the roles of women have got stronger, Bond has become more human and more fallible. I love that evolution.

Have you gone back and watched any of the classic Bond films?
I mainly watched the recent ones, CASINO ROYALE and QUANTUM OF SOLACE.

Have you got a favourite Bond actress?
I’ve always loved Halle Berry. I’m a huge fan of hers. I loved her in DIE ANOTHER DAY and she always brings a classy elegance to everything she does. And the fact she was quite an action girl as well was great. She was kick-ass.

Do you feel part of the Bond family now?
Yeah I definitely feel that, because most of the people who work on the film have worked on nearly every Bond film. My driver has worked on the films for 18 years! So it really does feel like a family, people are well treated, they love the films and that’s what keeps them coming back. Once you’re part of the club, that’s it for life. I think that comes from Michael G. Wilson and Barbara, they are very generous and caring.

Have you filmed much with Daniel Craig?
I have. He’s a fantastic actor. One of the things I love about him is he has a great sense of humour and the ability to laugh at himself. So he’s always lightening the tone. Even in serious atmospheres, Daniel comes on set, and suddenly everyone is laughing and he’s making fun of himself and being silly. He makes it all fun.

Has being in SKYFALL suddenly meant that you’re on the paparazzi’s radar?
Everybody said that once the announcement came out I’d be followed everywhere by the press, but I haven’t really had that. Two journalists did go to my mum’s house, but my mum is a very strong character and probably scared them more than they scared her. At the moment my life hasn’t changed.

What was it like attending this year’s BAFTA’s?
That was very different. I have been before but never walked the red carpet where everyone is screaming your name and waving pictures of you. The level of recognition and the association with Bond means that people are a lot more interested.

The Women Of Bond

Bérénice Marlohe is SKYFALL’s femme fatale Severine

How many auditions did you end up having?
There was the one in Paris, the second at Pinewood with Sam Mendes and the third one was with Daniel Craig and Sam. The final one was more of a meeting and discussion. I was trying to focus and not be afraid so I wasn’t too nervous. The key for me was to focus on the scene so that it would diminish the stress. I could sense when I saw some of Daniel’s interviews that he had a huge amount of humanity and a beautiful nature so I was totally confident he would be a great guy. So that reassured me.

Your character is described as “enigmatic and glamorous”…
They have done a wonderful job with the clothes, hair and make-up so I’m being helped out regarding the glamorous aspect. It was up to me to create the enigmatic side of her and I loved it.

What’s it like being directed by Sam Mendes?
He has a wonderful sense of humour. He’s easy to work with, one of the qualities of great people and he makes you feel relaxed which is what you want as an actor. On set these are the perfect conditions.

Do you have any scenes with Javier Bardem?
Yes. When I work with both Daniel and Javier I try to really enjoy the moment. They are both great actors so I try to cherish every moment I can with them.

Does Séverine get to have a Bond love-scene?
Well, I hope so. If not I will have to have a quiet word with Sam, ha ha.

How far into the shooting schedule are you?
I have just finished shooting.

And what sort of training have you had for the role?
I fired some guns. I really wanted to try it and I felt it would help me inform my character if I knew what it was like to fire proper guns. I enjoyed it but I’m not sure how good I was. The target we were aiming at was already full of holes so I don’t know whether it was me hitting it or not, ha ha! I’ve also worked on my accent to be more English-sounding.

The SKYFALL sets at Pinewood are incredible aren’t they? They’re vast but also astoundingly detailed which is really unusual in these days of green-screen and over the top CGI?
They are so well done that it makes your job so much easier to believe where you are. Half of the work is already done by the set. I have felt very lucky working in that environment.

Did you watch any of the classic Bond films to prepare for SKYFALL?
I felt I should watch CASINO ROYALE again, which I had already seen twice, and QUANTUM OF SOLACE but I also went back and watched some of the old ones. Even though I had already seen them all over the years, I wanted to refresh my memory. I have watched the Bond films since I was very little, especially the Sean Connery ones. It was why I was so determined to have my reels and work seen by the production to get a chance to audition for this film because I felt instinctively connected to these movies. I think the characters and villains are always very colourful and I knew that I could have a lot of fun with that.

How do you feel about being part of the Bond legacy?
I’m so happy to be in a James Bond movie. To have an attachment to something like this is incredible as it lasts for so long. It’s very moving to be part of it. Everyone is so kind, especially the producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson. It really feels like a family. My own family are so proud of me too.

It must be hard not letting anything out of the bag about SKYFALL’s plot – are you good at keeping secrets?
Yes I am. It’s so important as you have to preserve the surprise. It’s like a game, I find it very funny keeping it a secret. When I do interviews I’m very careful about what I say so as not to give away too much information. Sorry!

Before this you appeared mainly in some French TV dramas (R.I.S. Police Scientifique and Équipe Médicale D’Urgence). Did they prepare you in anyway for SKYFALL?
Everything I have done up to now, since the day I was born, are experiences and training to get to where I am today. You train, you learn who you are as a human being and then you see an audition you really want to do and are prepared for it because of the roles you’ve had before.

What do you get up to when you’re not filming?
Since I was a child I wanted to be an artist, so I love to draw. I also did eight years of piano so I love music, whether it’s classical or rap, I use it for my job to stay focused, then to relax and to give me inspiration.

Do you have a favourite Bond girl?
I liked Famke Janssen as Xenia Onatopp in GOLDENEYE. She was so bold. I could tell she had a great sense of humour. I like people who play psychopaths so straight away I liked her. And she portrayed it in a really original way, especially the way she killed people.