Olga Kurylenko on ‘Solace’ game
Perhaps no actor or actress better represents the convergence of Hollywood and video games better than Olga Kurylenko. The 29-year-old Ukranian beauty has already appeared in two recent movies based on games, sharing the screen with Tim Olyphant in last year’s Hitman and, more recently, with Mark Wahlberg in Max Payne. And in a few days, she will be seen in her biggest role yet: starring opposite Daniel Craig in the latest Bond adventure, Quantum of Solace. And in a casting move that brings her impressive career full circle, Kurylenko will lend her voice and likeness for her character, Camille, in the Quantum videogame, which just went on sale. We had a chance to sit down with the busy actress and discuss her own gaming background, why Hollywood likes videogames, and how to fake a skydive.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So, did you play videogames growing up?
OLGA KURYLENKO: When I was a kid, we never had a videogame in my house. But my cousin did, and each time I went to her house I was able to play Tetris and Mario. Those were the only two games I played as a child. And once I started working I never had time. When you’re never home and traveling, you don’t play videogames.
Have you been keeping up on what they’re doing these days with videogames?
My friends play different games. I’m so far away from it, I don’t know all the games. Some of them play Wii Tennis, which is just like playing tennis in real life. There’s also The Sims, where you go and construct towns and play with people’s lives. And there?s one game, Brain Age 2, where you can compose music on Nintendo DS. That was interesting.
With Hitman and Max Payne, you’ve now starred in two big Hollywood movies based on games. What are your thoughts on the current wave of games going to the big screen?
It’s business. A lot of people love videogames and they play them. I know how addictive videogames are — I have friends who can’t get up off the couch because they’re so hooked. They provide these different virtual worlds that you can live in. If you make movies based on games, people will go. Hollywood knows it’s a good commercial opportunity.
Did you go back and prepare for any of your videogame film roles by playing the games?
Hitman really didn’t interest me at all. I was told it was based on a game, but I only read the script. I liked my part. I liked the kind of person I was going to portray and the feelings my character had. She wasn’t cold. As an actor, you don’t want to play a one-dimensional character. And then I found out that this character doesn’t exist in the videogame.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Now you’re appearing in a videogame. What’s it like seeing yourself on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3?
OLGA KURYLENKO: I think it’s very funny. I could never imagine this — it’s a cartoon where suddenly a little version of you exists. I’m very excited about it.
Do you think being in the Quantum of Solace game will get you back into gaming?
I will play this game, definitely. I did the movie and went through all the body scanning and voice acting, so I have to play. This is probably going to be my first game that I’m going to play through. I have to try it, at least. I’m going to give it to my whole family, because I’m so happy.
Any reactions from any of your male relatives on your videogame role?
I’m sure the boys will love it. They can play videogames until they’re 100 years old.
Someone at Activision told me Daniel Craig is a gamer — and supposedly played Guitar Hero on the Quantum set. Did you and he ever talk about videogames?
I didn’t know that. We never spoke about it.
What can you tell us about Camille, the character you play in both the game and movie?
She is a very strong woman and determined to get to her goal, which is revenge. Something really bad happened to her as a child and all she wants to do is get back at the people who did it. She’s not afraid to die.
What was it like becoming a Bond girl?
It’s a great experience — a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It’s been like an incredible dream.
What kind of action or stunts did they let you do on set?
I was doing a lot of action things. They trained me so well that I’m now prepared for everything. There was lots of intensive training — stuff like fighting, how to do stunts, shoot a gun, and skydive.
So you jumped out of an airplane in this movie?
I didn’t jump out of an airplane — we did it in a wind tunnel. I didn’t know these existed. It’s a professional place where they all rehearse and do special exercises. When you go in it’s the same feeling as if you’re in the air. You learn how to position your body right to go up and go down or right or left just as if you were skydiving from a plane. I learned so much. I got hooked on it. I’d love to do it as a hobby, if I had the time. It’s a real adrenaline rush.
What were some of the locales you were able to visit?
I went to Panama and Chile and, of course, Pinewood Studios in London. The rest of the production also went to Austria and Italy. I loved both of the locales I went to. Chile touched me because those mountains and deserts were incredible to me. I really liked the fact that there was nothing there. The landscape was just amazing and beautiful.