Gone is the ridiculously over-the-top (make that "Onatopp") name, the powerful pedigree, fancy accoutrements and the hypersexuality so potent it practically deserves its own trailer. If "Casino Royale" introduced us to a brand-new James Bond for the 21st century, then "Quantum of Solace" does the same for his ever-faithful companion — the Bond girl.
And poor 007 doesn't even get to taste the fruit of his progress.
"They don't consummate their relationship," Daniel Craig laughed. "But they come close!"
Olga Kurylenko's Camille Montes (or Rivera, according to the video game) follows in the newly minted Bond tradition of Eva Green's Vesper Lynd, acting, not simply as a figure for conquest, but as a fully formed character who seems to propel Bond forward more than she does the plot — a woman whose private agenda seems to hold a mirror to the world's most famous secret agent.
"Well, she's very much on a revenge mission, and I think that's what — I mean [it's] the whole thing," Craig said. "Bond appears to be on this revenge mission [too]. She was hurt as a child. Her family was killed and there's a man she's after, so [she and Bond] come together and they kind of complement each other and sort of team up."
Indeed, while their interests dovetail nicely in the film's final sequence, it's not even true to say that Bond and Camille are both after the same person, since while Bond wants to bring down Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric) and the shady organization known as QUANTUM, Camille wants to use Greene to get to someone else.
For the first time ever in a Bond movie, Bond and his girl aren't sexual partners — they're real ones. Too much risk, said Olga — too many hurt feelings, too many things for each of them to consider before stopping for the mere 30 seconds it would take for a kiss or two.
"There haven't been women as feisty and as strong [as Camille] before in Bond movies. The thing what was important to [director] Marc [Forster] was that the woman appears strong in the movie," Kurylenko explained. "He wanted to do a different movie, so he didn't want it obviously to resemble others. I think the female character is very different in this film [from all the other Bond girls].
"The longer [Camille and Bond] stay together, they do get close to each other, they like each other, but at this moment of their lives they are carrying so much pain inside both of them, it's a risk," Kurylenko continued, discussing why Bond and Camille never share a romantic interlude. "He just lost the woman he loved. Even if he would like to, he is just unable to fall in love because he is just too hurt and too much in pain, and the same for Camille. Camille is just so concentrated on getting the person who is responsible for everything she went through. For her, there is nothing else that exists."
For the 29-year-old Ukrainian beauty, who also scored action hits this year with roles in "Hitman" and "Max Payne," that meant doing as much training as Craig himself, a process that took "six months," she said.
"Every day I wasn't involved on the set with shooting, I was training with the stunt team, just all the time fighting, rehearsing the choreography," she said of a process that also involved extensive gun training, driving practice and even skydiving. "I loved it. I was thrilled by it."
Thrilled enough to return? In a recent red-carpet interview at the London premiere of "Quantum of Solace," producer Barbara Broccoli said she'd love to bring the character back in a future Bond adventure.
Is there "world enough and time" for these two coy lovers?
"Yeah, I think — you do feel that tension. Maybe in a different moment they would have fallen in love," Kurylenko said. "I think they [eventually] do."
Check out everything we've got on "Quantum of Solace."
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