Bond girl Naomie Harris gets her 007 on in Skyfall
October 25, 2012
ONE of two new Bond girls to work alongside Daniel Craig, Naomie Harris plays Evie in Skyfall.
Are you getting excited as the release of the film gets closer?
I’m really excited. I don’t think I’ve ever done anything where there’s been so much build up to it beforehand. Because with Bond there was a press conference before we even started filming!
I’ve never been involved with something like that before. And everyone gets really excited about a Bond movie and they want to know about all the secrets you are not allowed to tell.
And then throughout filming you are doing interviews and there’s so much attention and excitement and so I am desperate to see the film now.
I am going to see a little of it, because I’ll do some ADR when I get back to London, but I haven’t seen anything so far, but I’m really, really excited about it. But all I’ve seen so far are the trailers, which look fantastic. I can’t wait.
What can you tell us about the story and your part in it?
Well the story is really about M’s past coming back to haunt her, which threatens the whole of MI6. MI6 has to go underground and then Bond coming to the rescue of M. I come into it because I’m an MI6 field agent and I work alongside Bond and so I am out there trying to find the bad guy as well.
We can see from the trailer that you’ve been doing some amazing things in this film – driving at high speed, shooting at a moving train. You’ve obviously done your share of action scenes in Skyfall. What was that like?
Really, really difficult. The driving stuff was really hard, largely because a lot of the time I wasn’t allowed to drive a vehicle because it wasn’t considered safe. And I really wanted to do that stuff because I had already done quite a few months of tactical driving training and so I wanted to be behind the wheels but insurance wouldn’t really allow me to do that, which was a shame.
And so it was really frustrating to have to sell it as though I’m driving, which is actually harder to do than actually really driving. But then there were times where I was allowed to drive and then I thought, ‘I don’t know why I was complaining before…’ because it is so hard!
At one point I had to reverse and hit something, which is really difficult because it has to be so precise. And then at another point, I have to drive straight into a crowd of extras and they were all rehearsed thoroughly to move out of the way, but then one extra decided to run at the vehicle and I was absolutely terrified that I was going to knock him over.
So it was very challenging. Bond really challenged me in terms of physicality more than anything else that I’ve ever done – learning to handle and fire weapons, the driving, and of course, getting fit for the role.
I did nine months of training, having a personal trainer kick my butt five times a week. So yes, it was very intense.
Did you feel the benefit of all that training? Was it empowering?
Well it was really interesting for me. And my trainer found it really interesting too, because she had never done a movie before, and so she’s never really worked with an actress and worked for that length of time and that hard.
And what we discovered was in the beginning it was just awful, because I hate exercise. I’ve never actually exercised in my life.
I’m just one of those people who are naturally very skinny, even though I eat a lot, and so I just really was not prepared for the kind of pain you have to endure.
And so from the beginning it was just really hard work but then you get past this stage and then suddenly it just becomes so much easier. And then you suddenly start to feel all these benefits – more energy, sleeping better, feeling less stressed – all of these really wonderful benefits that come afterwards, which are amazing. So of course I promised myself that I was going to keep it up afterwards, and I did for a couple of months, and now, well, not so much.
But what about learning to fight? Was that empowering?
I have to admit that learning to fight was a really cool feeling. But I will say that when you do fight, and I’ve known this from my experience in the past, you always do get hurt because there’s no way of doing it without getting hurt.
Because you have to make contact at certain points and you have to get thrown across the room at certain points and so you always end up getting bruised, which is never very pleasant.
So I actually really don’t like doing stuff like that – I pretended I did, but it’s not my favourite thing.
There’s a tantalising scene in the trailer where it looks like you’re giving Bond a very close shave. Can you explain what’s going on there?
All I’ll say is that any woman who gets close to Bond can’t help but fall for his charms. And the shaving scene was very interesting for me because I learned how to properly shave someone.
I was actually trained by an experienced barber, so it was a lot of fun for me. It was amazing and that’s the thing about working on a Bond movie, you learn all these new skills all the time.
You’ve got to be able to handle a cut throat razor with precision…
Yeah, exactly. And I’m glad to say all went well.
Did you know Daniel before?
I didn’t, no.
He’s made Bond very much his own, hasn’t he, over the course of these three films. What was he like to work with?
He’s done an amazing job. Daniel was really, really fantastic to work with. I remember the first time I met him, he was actually having a costume fitting and I was walking down the hall past where he was and the AD (assistant director) was like, ‘do you want to say hello?’ And I said, ‘well he’s having a costume fitted so I won’t disturb him now…’
So I kept walking and I’m a bit shy really, and Daniel came running out, and followed me down a hallway, and he said, ‘where are you going, silly?’
And he gave me this massive hug and kiss, and that is the reception that I got, and that kind of sums up the experience that I had working with Daniel.
He’s just so supportive and open and friendly and has a really great sense of humour as well. So I’m very, very grateful to him because coming on board to something like this is always really nerve-wracking because you feel the weight of it. It’s like ‘oh my Gosh, here’s Bond!’
And I grew up with Bond, and so many millions of people are going to see this and at first I felt like, ‘oh my Gosh, what am I going to do with this role?’ So it’s great to have someone like Daniel who is totally there for you.
Can you remember when you first saw a Bond movie?
I think I would have first seen the Bond movies on TV probably at Christmas. And then as I grew older I saw them in the cinema.
I kind of grew up with Pierce Brosnan as Bond and then, a few years ago, I did a film (After The Sunset) with Pierce so that was a bit surreal for me!
I couldn’t quite get over the fact that that I was working with James Bond. But of course that film was completely different. And Pierce is a lovely guy.
The bar has been raised a lot with the action genre in recent years, not least by the other Daniel Craig Bond movies. What do you think are the ingredients for a really good movie in this genre?
Actually I think the main ingredient is great characters and that’s why it’s amazing that they managed to get Sam Mendes to direct Skyfall because he’s such a brilliant director and he recognises that characters are so important and he concentrates on that.
Because once you have great characters that people care about then it makes the journey they go on even more interesting.
And the fact that there are adventures in so many glamorous locations and a plot with lots of twists and turns, is all a bonus.
The foundation has to be great characters that you love and you want to spend 90 minutes or so in the cinema watching. And Skyfall has great characters and it’s a really great story.
It sounds like you had a great time. Just sum up the experience of making Skyfall?
Intimidating but hugely rewarding and a lot of fun.
Skyfall is in cinemas from Friday (October 26), certificate 12A.