At 17 she decamped for Paris to start her modeling career for real, and found herself on the covers of Elle and Vogue, and appearing as the face (or body) of Lejaby lingerie. Unlike many top models, who go out of their way not to be photographed with their clothes off, Kurylenko has had few compunctions about it. This should be obvious from last year’s ‘Hitman’,
In last year’s ‘Hitman’ she appears undressed in an elongated bondage scene, wearing little more than a rope
in which she appears undressed in an elongated bondage scene, wearing little more than the rope in which she’s tied up. “I find the art of bondage quite beautiful,” she told the press when the movie came out. Besides cutting a swath through the fashion scene and paving the way for what looks like it’s going to turn into a serious film career, Kurylenko has had a tumultuous private life. Her first marriage, to French photographer Cedric van Mol, nine years her senior, ended in divorce. According to some of those closest to Kurylenko, it wasn’t much of a marriage. “They have always been friends, but it was a marriage without love,” Kurylenko’s own mother told the press. But the two-year marriage had its advantages, not the least of which is that the Ukrainian national got a French passport out of it, a helpful thing for a Ukrainian girl with aspirations. The ability to travel helped her career take off. Later Kurylenko married a mobile phone entrepreneur named Damian Gabrielle, with whom she remains a couple.
A Star Performer
Kurylenko has already been in a number of movies, including ‘L’Annulaire’, ‘The Serpent,’ and ‘Tyranny’ in addition to ‘Hitman’, but she might be best-known in Kyiv for her role in ‘Paris, I Love You,’ the collection of short films about Paris directed by a number of leading film directors each of whom have their own take on life there. In her portion of the film, Kurylenko plays a vampire who besets a young tourist in Paris played by Elijah Wood. Although she doesn’t say a word in that part, she speaks good French and English in addition to her native languages. The new Bond movie is tentatively titled ‘Bond 22’ and represents the first time that a Ukrainian actress has played the femme fatale role that’s crucial to every entry in that film franchise. (The character Tatiana Romanova, the double agent in ‘From Russia With Love’, was actually played by an Italian.) Being a Bond girl generally gives actresses lots of exposure and leads to big careers. Some have become legendary, like Ursula Andress, who starred opposite Sean Connery in the very first Bond movie, ‘Dr. No’. Britt Ekland, Famke Janssen, Teri Hatcher, Sophie Marceau, Denise Richards, and Grace Jones have also been notable Bond girls.
Real Action Bond
‘Bond 22’ is being helmed by ‘Kite Runner’ director Marc Forster, who recently won an Oscar for ‘Finding Neverland’, and is due for release on 7 November. The plot is expected to follow on from the events of the earlier film ‘Casino Royale’, with Bond picking up the pieces after being double-crossed by the last Bond girl, the character Vesper Lynd. Daniel Craig will star again as the British spy. Other returning cast members include Judi Dench, Felix Leiter, and Giancarlo Giannini. The villain this time around is being played by French actor Mathieu Amarilic, who’s just made an impression in ‘The Diving Bell and the Butterfly’. In other words, the Ukrainian is in good company. Appearing in an action movie requires different skills than looking good in a perfume advertisement or on a fashion-show runway, and Kurylenko is learning them. For ‘Hitman’, for example, she spent six months learning Chinese martial arts. She has said that she wants to follow in the footsteps of her countrywoman, the Kyiv-born Milla Jovovich, who has successfully parlayed her fame as a model into a movie career. She looks like she’s on her way.