VANITY FAIR – Asked which of two famous jewellery scenes she would choose to act out, Olga Kurylenko, the Ukrainian-French actress of Quantum of Solace fame, has no doubts. When the options are Kate Winslet’s Rose in Titanic wearing nothing but the famous Heart of the Ocean blue diamond while Leonardo DiCaprio’s Jack sketched her, or Julia Roberts’ Vivian yelping as Richard Gere’s Edward jokingly snapped a jewellery box at her hand in Pretty Woman, it would definitely be the latter. “I’m a huge fan of both actresses,” Kurylenko told us. “But I would have preferred to play the Julia Roberts part because it’s more fun and it’s more me. She is just so fresh and full of joy but at the same time a little clumsy. I love that.”
Kurylenko, who we’ll see next as Agent Ophelia in Johnny English Strikes Again (out October 5), and in Terry Gilliam’s long-awaited comedy The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (release date as yet unconfirmed) is anything but clumsy in real life. She’s effortlessly elegant, even when having her earlobes weighed down with enormous rocks, including one pair that required its own support system for fear of tearing straight through her skin. “Red-carpet jewellery is very important to me,” she reveals. “As it either completes the look, if chosen right, or totally spoils it if it doesn’t go with the whole outfit. It also usually adds a lovely sparkle to everything—the right earrings, for example, can really light up the face.”
And if she wasn’t an actress? “I would have loved to have been a doctor. I’m fascinated by medicine.” But acting it is, as she has just finished filming French thriller Springwell (“One of the most fun films to shoot!”) and is now preparing to shoot The Bay of Silence “and after that, a French film which I can’t reveal yet!” Busy busy, but not so much that she couldn’t fit in a full day shooting our cover story for this issue before going straight from a North London studio to Cannes for the film festival—where, needless to say, she lit up the red carpet.
How gorgeous is this? Olga is the November cover star of Harpers Bazaar Malaysia – her full interview can be found below, whilst photos from the editorial have been added to the gallery.
Photoshoots and Portraits > Sessions > Photoshoots from 2017 > Session 005 – Harpers Bazaar Malaysia
Photoshoots and Portraits > Sessions > Behind the Scenes > 2017 – Harpers Bazaar Malaysia
HARPERS BAZAAR MALAYSIA – Olga Kurylenko strides into the middle of the room and holds out an outstretched arm to introduce herself —“Hello, I’m Olga”— to the ten-strong team setting up for the shoot ahead. She’s arrived alone; an unusual move for such a star to quietly pad into our West London location house—manor, actually—without any entourage. And so it seems, without anyone noticing. The picture of relaxed health—porcelain skin, sharp cheekbones, and piercing green eyes—she arrives wearing pastel-pink ballet shoes and a navy celestial-patterned Tara Jarmon dress, grey Loewe handbag in one hand, iPod in the other. It’s all very low-key.
At 37, Kurylenko is the most famous Ukrainian actress in Hollywood acting alongside every leading man you could image, from Tom Cruise to Daniel Craig, cementing herself in silver screen history as a Bond Girl. Born in Berdyansk, Ukraine, Kurylenko was raised by her mother, Marina, and grandmother, Raisa, in a small four-room flat. That’s a long way from the opulent space we find ourselves in today, complete with crimson brocade furniture, humongous sash windows draped with bronze fabric, and the pièce de résistance, a golden grand piano. It’s the perfect setting for this New Extravagance Issue cover shoot, yet as I discover, the woman in front of us is anything but.
THE NATIONAL – Olga Kurylenko didn’t have to audition for Russell Crowe’s directional debut, The Water Diviner.
The former Bond girl clearly must have caught the Gladiator star’s eye on screen – they had never met before, but Crowe sent her the script and asked which character she wanted to play.
“I think it was a joke, because there’s not many female characters in the film,” says the actress, who was in the UAE earlier this month for the film’s premiere at Dubai International Film Festival.
And that was how the former catwalk model came to play Ayshe, Crowe’s love interest in an epic story of a grief-stricken father’s journey to bury the sons he lost in Gallipoli, while fighting for the Allies against the Ottoman Empire during the First World War.
However, there were still a few more obstacles to clear.
“He said, ‘Do you speak Turkish?’, and I was like ‘I can learn’,” adds Kurylenko with another laugh. “It was a lot of responsibility for me, and a big challenge. I was thinking mainly about Turkish people, because I knew for everyone else it would sound great.”
Best known for her roles in action movies such as Oblivion and Hitman, as well as the 007 adventure Quantum of Solace, Kurylenko sank her teeth into the more dramatic role of a widow working at an Istanbul hotel that acts as the base for Crowe’s character, Joshua Connor. Naturally, her young, fatherless son is drawn to the grieving father.
TELEGRAPH – Olga Kurylenko, the actress and former Bond girl, recalls the beauty of the Atacama Desert and reveals why she would never go travelling alone.
How often do you travel?
All the time. I’m constantly packing and unpacking my suitcase. I’ve been travelling a lot for work between London, where I’m based, and Paris, Prague and other places in Europe. The last big trip I did was to Australia to shoot a film with Russell Crowe called The Water Diviner and I really enjoyed it there. I’ve been before, but this time I was there for an extended period shooting in Sydney. It’s a beautiful city with great restaurants, amazing theatres and amazing animals and birds at the Sydney Zoo. I enjoyed walking everywhere, exploring the parks and was really impressed with the city.
What do you need for a perfect holiday?
To have people around me, loved ones – be they family or friends. If you’re in good company, even if you have nothing much to explore, you can still have a great time talking to each other and discovering more about yourself. I also need a bit of nature – beautiful lakes, scenery and landscapes – plus good weather and architecture. Good food is also very important.
Most memorable filming location?
The most fascinating place I’ve been for a film was the Atacama Desert in Chile where Quantum of Solace [see the trailer below] was shot. I’ve never seen anything like it. It was such a beautiful location.
CRAVE ONLINE – Season two of STARZ’s original series “Magic City” is underway and Vera is about to take the stage in tonight’s episode.
We sat down with Vera’s portrayer, Olga Kurylenko to discuss her role as the wife of Ike Evans (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and now we’re getting to see all the fruits of her labor. During our interview, Kurylenko offered her thoughts on the Evans’ marriage and spoke about her dance training. I also asked her a few 007 questions, because I am a Quantum of Solace defender.
Is Vera playing a much bigger part in Ike’s business this season?
In this season, I really enjoyed doing it because I think there was more for me to do. First of all, I get to dance, so I was training for a month, preparing my performance. That was great, to perform on stage in front of all this audience. A lot of similar themes are going through the second season, like Vera is still trying to stay very close to her family and create her own family. She’s still on the road to trying to have a baby, but in this season new opportunities open up. A bit odd opportunities, but it is a way for her to have a baby but I can’t give it away.
OCEANDRIVE.COM – A pivotal moment in The Ring Finger, French director Diane Bertrand’s moody 2005 film about a young woman who becomes an object of possession, involves Iris—the girl in question, played by Olga Kurylenko—accepting a gift. Her beguiling employer bridles her feet with two crimson pumps, binding their leather straps around her ankles as she marvels at how perfectly they fit her. She must always wear them, he says, even when he’s not watching.
Few people in the US have viewed this film, let alone heard of it, with the exception of perhaps Miami Beach Cinematheque members and other art-cinema aficionados. Yet it remains Kurylenko’s fondest movie role. As the Ukrainian-born model-turned-actress describes the legitimacy she feels the abstruse production gave to her early career, her voice trembles. “When I did The Ring Finger, I wanted to do theater,” she tells Ocean Drive. “I didn’t think, Oh, I’m going to play a pretty girl and walk around,” she says. “I played a very normal and simple peasant girl, and I was nothing like a Bond girl—nothing sexy at all.”
Less than a decade in the film industry, Kurylenko, 33, is preparing for her biggest year as an actress. A week after our interview, she embarked on a global promotional tour with costar Tom Cruise for Oblivion, the $120 million post-apocalyptic epic that opened on April 19—just a week after the debut of another project, To the Wonder, an esoteric drama directed by Terrence Malick (The Thin Red Line, The Tree of Life) and costarring Ben Affleck and Rachel McAdams. And the second season of Magic City, the Starz series created by Mitch Glazer (The Recruit, Lost in Translation) in which she plays an empowered socialite in 1959 Miami Beach, is in post-production, set to hit TV screens June 14.
USAWEEKEND.COM – The Magic City star, who debuted as a Bond girl in 2008’s Quantum of Solace, plays a CIA agent in Erased, opening May 10. Not bad for a woman who grew up in a tiny apartment in Berdyansk, Ukraine.
Discovered by a modeling agent in Moscow at age 13, she is still awed by her good fortune. “It was a wonderful, unreal moment, a miracle,” she says. “Since then I’ve worked hard and tried to help the miracle. If you just sit on your couch and wait, you might miss a lot of opportunities. You have got to meet your luck halfway.”
Kurylenko has yet to settle on her dream role. “There are so many possibilities,” she says. “I want to explore as much as possible. It’s about finding something that touches me. ‘Erased’ was hard because the character is tough, and tough is something I’m not. I’m just a human being with problems and worries.”
Kurylenko, 33, is active with the international charity Hope & Homes for Children. “Their goal is to put kids that are in orphanages in foster homes.”