Street urchin to Bond girl

SULTRY Bond babe OLGA KURYLENKO was raised in the poverty and oppression of the Soviet Union.

She grew up in a cramped four-room flat shared by six adults and several children.

Her mother Marina, a teacher, divorced Olga’s father Konstantin soon after her birth. Olga didn’t see him until she was 13.

Back then, no one would have dreamed that the street urchin from the Ukrainian seaside town of Berdyansk would one day be a gorgeous screen siren starring in a decadent Western blockbuster.


Humble beginnings ... Olga as a child

Humble beginnings …
Olga as a child


In fact, her family would have had no concept of what a Bond girl was.

The Communist government banned Western films — and Olga’s family were too poor to go to the pictures anyway.

Yet Olga believes her tough upbringing — she is pictured aged two — fed her appetite for the success that led to playing sexy Camille in 007’s next outing, Quantum Of Solace.

Olga, 28, says: “Maybe the fact I had to fight and struggle in the Ukraine is how I succeeded.

“You can’t sit around. I still have that survival instinct. It’s great now to support my family, my mum, and to help out.”

Olga at first believed she had blown her chance to be a Bond girl after director MARC FORSTER seemed unimpressed at the audition.

She said: “When Marc looked at me he was so blank. I told my agent, ‘Forget about it’. I was so sad.”

Then Olga received the best Christmas gift possible — a call saying that Forster had picked her for the key role.

She said: “It was Christmas Eve I found out I got the part. I was sat with my friends, it couldn’t have been a better present.”

Olga’s first step towards fame came when she was 13.

She was on holiday in Moscow with her mother Marina Alyabusheva when she was spotted by a model scout getting off a metro train.

Mrs Alyabusheva, 50, said: “I was very surprised and kept asking this woman whether she had some hidden agenda. I was amazed a complete stranger could scout for models like this. She told us that Olga was too young but that she would contact us again in the future.”

By 17 Olga was ready to leave for Paris to start her career.


She learned French in just six months and was soon on the cover of top style magazines such as Elle and Vogue, and became the face of Lejaby lingerie.

At 20 she married French photographer CEDRIC VAN MOL, who was nine years her senior.

Her mother said: “They had been friends before but it was a marriage without love.”


They were divorced after two years, but Olga qualified for a French passport, allowing her to travel freely in the West without visas. Then her acting career began to take off, which led to roles in The Serpent in 2006 and Hitman last year.

When I first met her a couple of months ago, the beauty was boasting how she was going to “kick ass”.

And she suggested she enjoyed the rough stuff by saying: “I like my bruises. When I get one it’s like ‘Yeah, I have got a bruise, pretty cool’.”

So it sounded like she was more than ready for a spot of 007 action.

But that was back in the relative security of Pinewood Studios — and before Olga had shot a single scene for DANIEL CRAIG’s next outing as 007.


Now, on location in dusty, sweaty, unforgiving Chile, Olga has realised that making a James Bond movie is no picnic.

In fact, the very honest and down-to-earth star admits that she has been scared of doing every stunt asked of her.

We meet just an hour after Olga bravely made a 12ft leap from a roof to a balcony.

It was a scene that the slender actress initially didn’t want to complete.

She smiled and asked: “Did you see me doing the stunt? I am very impressed with myself because there was no way I could do it before.

“Yesterday, I came to the top, looked down and said to the stunt guys, ‘No, guys, there is no way I am doing it — I am very scared of heights.’

“And they just slowly, slowly, very patiently got me to do it.”

Her character Camille is a feisty, street-fighting kind of girl who, like Bond, wants revenge on mysterious businessman Dominic Greene.

She explains: “The action we were filming today is happening more towards the end of the movie. Camille is about to get to her goal, which she is trying to get to throughout the whole movie. She is about to get her revenge. After that jump over the balcony she is pretty close. It’s going to be a big fight.

“There was another scene where my back was to the balustrade and it moved and I felt I couldn’t do it. The stunts in this film are crazy. They are really tough.

“Certain things are really scary and it always starts with me saying ‘No’…and I end up doing it. I really overcame my fears.”

The most terrifying scene so far was in Panama, where Camille has a fight on a speedboat.

Olga said: “I am still under the emotion of the scariest stunt.


“We were in Panama and we did this boat chase in the sea.

“The boat went so fast and when you hit the waves it really jumps up and when you land it is really hard.

“And we were not sitting safely, we were fighting.

“The stunt guys fell into the sea a few times.


Sultry ... Olga in new film

Sultry … Olga in new film


“So I had to really hold on. I got bruises. It was for real.”

But the worst is yet to come — jumping out of a plane.

Olga tells me: “I learned sky-diving in London. They have this big tunnel where they simulate the air. During a month I was training I was squeezed like a lemon by the air after a few minutes. I said, ‘I am not doing this’. I couldn’t even lift my arms up.

“But after a month I was spending a whole day in there.”

She seems a sweet-natured girl who is genuinely surprising herself.

“Before I started I trained for a month in Pinewood,” she says.

“I did stunts, gun-firing and I had to learn how to put a gun back together. My record was eight seconds. I beat my teacher and he got really upset!”


Olga reveals: “First she is trying to figure this guy out. She doesn’t trust that easily. But Bond and Camille do warm up to each other.”

Off the set Olga, who is single, got on well with 007 star Daniel Craig from the start.

She said: “Daniel is my favourite Bond. He suits the part perfectly and he is a great actor.”

And despite all the bruises and scary stunts, Olga is happy to play her iconic role.

She concluded: “If you don’t do what you want in life, you become sad.”



    Quantom Of Solace will open in the UK on October 31.

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