Caterina Murino on the Bond girl curse - `he kiss of Bond is very deadly`
This time 007 meets his match, writes Garry Maddox for the Sydney Morning Herald
Think Ursula Andress emerging from the sea as Honey Ryder, Honor Blackman as Pussy Galore and Denise Richards as Dr Christmas Jones.
Since Dr No in 1962, being a Bond girl has generally involved an evocative name, skimpy outfits and a suggestive scene opposite the 007 of the day. Sadly, it often resulted in a tragic demise well before the end credits.
"The kiss of Bond is very deadly," says Caterina Murino, who plays one of Bond's two love interests in Casino Royale.
"Be careful, women. You enjoy it very much but after you must pay the price."
Delightfully fractured English is one of four languages for the Italian actress who was once a model - though not a good one, if you believe her.
"I was too short and my body was not too skin," she says.
Murino plays Solange, a villain's discontented wife who spends a lusty evening with Bond, played by Daniel Craig, in a movie that has revitalised the series.
It's a sultry role that starts with a horse ride on the beach and rapidly progresses - as you do - to the floor of Bond's hotel room.
But like so many other Bond girls, Solange is merely a gorgeous memory by the time the British agent meets Vesper Lynd, played by French actress Eva Green, on the way to a high-stakes poker game.
In Sydney for the movie's premiere, Murino agrees with the film's director, Martin Campbell, that Bond girls have been mostly airheads over the years.
"I didn't take inspiration from Bond girls in the past," she says. "When I read the script, I saw that this Bond movie was completely different and also my role was different. I tried to show that I'm more smart than he is. I tried to show that I can drive a car as well as him."
Murino's acting coach advised against dipping into the DVD library to study the pouts of past Bond girls. "She said, 'Just be a normal woman. Try to find why she fell in love with a very bad man. Just take from normal life, not from fiction.' "
Murino is no fan of the Bond canon. She has watched exactly three past films - Dr No, Goldfinger and Die Another Day - and that has been enough.
"I always thought it was a chauvinist movie," she says.
As to whether she will develop the type of stellar career of former Bond girls Halle Berry and Kim Basinger, or become as quickly forgotten as Lana Wood and Lois Chiles, Murino is waiting to see.
"I really don't know," she says. "I'm not famous. I'm just a Bond girl now."
But after 16 films in Europe, Murino has four more lined up next year - three Italian, one French. And having had a taste of Bond's exotic world, she would love to play a female equivalent.
"Mata Hari was a kind of Bond," she says. "I would love to play Mata Hari."
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