“Beauty is a curse when you’re 20”Monica Bellucci is the oldest Bond Girl there’s ever been. But she was shy and unsure of herself when she was 20.
THE RED BULLETIN: You’re playing a femme fatale at 50. Is it still right to call you a Bond Girl?
MONICA BELLUCCI: I’ve been trying to find the right epithet for my character for a long time because one thing is obvious; I’m definitely not your classic Bond Girl. So I’ve decided to say ‘James Bond Woman’.
Is it true that you almost starred in a Bond film before?
That was 20 years ago, maybe even longer. I was young and beautiful; it would have been normal back then. But now I’m 50 and in this film. That’s extraordinary. That’s the real difference.
You are quite stunning at playing the seductress…
She doesn’t trust James Bond when he first enters her life. But then the power of attraction wins over. She knows that he can help her get away from her life. He saves her and she gives him the information he needs. The two of them find an interesting way to satisfy the “contract” they’ve entered into… (Laughs.)
The first time Daniel Craig said the famous words, “Bond, James Bond,” what were you thinking?
I had to laugh! I’d seen it so often in the films. I couldn’t believe that this time he was saying it to me! I thought it was so funny. I just thought, “Oh my God. He’s saying it to me!”
What do you think of James Bond?
Sam Mendes and Daniel have created a special Bond between them. I love Sean Connery, but this Bond has everything under control. Daniel’s Bond is modern and unpredictable. He kills people, he loves women, he has a death wish. He has depths we didn’t know he had before. This James Bond is more mysterious, darker, more dangerous and therefore he’s sexier than ever.
And what do you think of Daniel Craig?
Daniel is the perfect gentleman. Sometimes it’s awkward filming intimate scenes, especially with someone you don’t know. But Daniel was very protective right from the start. He took me under his wing and made it much easier for me, as an outsider, to be part of this tight-knit Bond team. He knows how to make you feel welcome.
When it comes to love, do you prefer gentlemen like Daniel Craig or macho men like James Bond?
I think both work well together. (Smirks.) Ideally a bit of both.
As a woman, don’t you find James Bond sickening as a cheerleader for macho culture?
No. The women in Bond films are always beautiful, intelligent, sexy and strong; I think Bond grows with them. All the Bond ladies have hit a nerve, otherwise I wouldn’t remember them. Actresses want to be in Bond films because they know it will make them an icon.
So which Bond Girls have you really liked?
Eva Green was great. Famke Janssen. I loved how she acted in Golden Eye. Sophie Marceau, Halle Berry, Rosamund Pike… They were all great. And it’s interesting for me to play the role at 50. It’s wonderful for us as women and proof that we’re still beautiful at 50.
A classic old question… What’s the secret to your beauty?
The best thing is love. Love makes you beautiful, which is also the secret to my happiness.
And how was turning 50 for you?
Well, I’m still alive. Thanks for asking. (Laughs.) But, seriously, it didn’t affect me. Maybe it’s because I was still breastfeeding my baby up until three years ago. We’ll wait and see what life still has in store for me. I’m curious. I wouldn’t want to be 20 again. At 20, beauty is a curse. You’re too young to realise it. I was very unsure of myself back then. There was so much I was afraid of. Being beautiful didn’t help because I was so shy.
I know that the beauty of youth isn’t all that important. When you’re an adult, other things give you strength. My soul has grown. Now I’m doing the perfect job for me. I’m working with emotions.
You came late to motherhood. You had your first child when you were 40 and the second at 45. Has that changed you a lot?
Without a doubt. It’s also taught me things about myself that I really had no clue about. When you have children, you first have to deal with a lot of issues from your own childhood. You have to learn to be yourself. You have to be an adult yourself for a start.
Have your children taught you to take things more slowly?
No, it’s the other way around. I have to teach them to put on the brakes! They have so much energy. I have two girls.
Would you allow your children to become actresses?
I just hope that my daughters find something in life they’re passionate about, because a passion is your saviour. Whether it’s opening a bakery and selling bread or becoming an actress, they should do what they want to do. I want them to be happy. That’s the main thing.