There was a time when so-called Bond girls were not particularly known for their acting prowess. With very few exceptions - Dianna Rigg in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, for example - the lead actresses in the James Bond films of yore were hired for their looks first and foremost. Performance, as a general rule, was sort of an afterthought.
But over the years, that's changed a bit. Famke Janssen's turn as Xenia Onatopp in Goldeneye was famously fun, Eva Greene's performance as Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale is widely considered to be one of the best in a Bond film ever, and Naomie Harris did a great job as Eve Moneypenny in Skyfall, though the role itself left a little to be desired.
In Spectre, there will be two substantial performances from women - Monica Bellucci and Léa Seydoux. Both are beautiful women, of course, but they're also well-respected actresses with incredibly varied and interesting backgrounds. A few months back, we had the opportunity to interview Léa about her role as Madeleine Swann, about why she doesn't consider herself a Bond girl, and much more.
Screen Rant: So we don't know much about your character at this point. I think we know that you're playing a doctor named Madeleine Swann.
Léa Seydoux: Mm-hmm.
SR: What can you tell us about her? Is she good, is she bad, is she somewhere in between?
LS: She's good. [Laughter] She's good, but I think it's more interesting than good or bad. She's a complex character.
SR: What do you mean by that?
LS: She's - I can't really explain because you'll see in the film. [Laugher] But she's different from the others.
SR: Obviously, this isn't your first film, but I think it's fair to say this is the first film for you of this size. What's it been like to transition from a movie like Blue Is the Warmest Color to literally the biggest James Bond movie of all time?
LS: Yeah, it's a big step. [Laughter] No, but filming is always filming. No matter what. It's always you and a camera, and you always feel nervous about it. But it's just maybe what changes. The amount of money. I mean, 'Spectre' is about entertainment. I know that lots of people will see the film. And 'Blue Is the Warmest Color' is a film about reality, in a way. It's more intimate, it's more - it's different. The audience is different. But making a film is always making the film.
SR: People have referred to you as a Bond girl. I actually think that's a little demeaning. I think we should at least say Bond woman. But you've said, I believe, that you don't consider yourself a Bond girl. Can you explain what you mean by that?
LS: No, because I didn't feel I was the Bond girl "femme fatale." So I was very happy when the chose me for the film. At the beginning I felt a little nervous, because I felt I was maybe not beautiful enough or something like that. And then I realized it was more something positive. It's because it has changed. It was going to be a new film, a new Bond. And that's why they came to me.
SR: Interesting. What movies do you have after Spectre? Do you have any projects lined up?
LS: Yeah, I have another film...and also, I shot a film one year ago called 'The Lobster.'
SR: Oh yeah, I've heard about that one.
LS: It's going to be very nice. It's going to be in Cannes I hope.
SR: What about the other one? Can you talk about that?
LS: The other film? No, I can't. [Laughter] It's going to be...in French, but it's not French.
Spectre hits theaters November 6th, 2015. Also, don't forget that today is Global James Bond Day - the anniversary of Dr. No's 1962 theatrical release.