Olga Kurylenko’s Training to be a Bond Girl

Olga KurylenkoOlga Kurylenko had four hours of fight training every day in the month before filming started for Quantum of Solace. She told MoviesOnline that she was warned that she would be trained very hard, however she did not realise until training started, how tough the Bond workouts would be.

From the moment that she arrived in the UK, the stunt coordinator started her on her training program. “They brought me there a month before just so I’d get in shape and know how to do and what to do.” In addition to fight training she also had to do skydiving training, and learn how to dismantle and load weapons, including the classic Bond gun, then Walther PPK.

What does Bond fight training involve?

She told IGN that she was in training non-stop from the morning to the evening. Mostly fight training would involve choreography, learning how to stage fight realistically, how to move and how to fall.

But being in great physical shape is essential to make the fights scenes realistic, and for this, boxing drills, kicking and judo are all required, to learn to punch, dodge, weave, throw and be thrown, as well as jump and kick. Kurylenko spent three weeks training to fight with weapons as well as empty hand combat. She admitted that she does not likes stunts, but overcame her fears because she found Daniel Craig to be supportive and motivational.

One popular method of stage fighting training is the Wolf System, developed by New Zealand-based fight choreographer and stage combat instructor Tony Wolf. Typical stage fight workouts include:

  • “Slow-mo Samurai” – in which the participant practices maintaining alignment and extending various attacking gestures towards specific targets.
  • “Doppelganging” – in which a participant mimics the movement style of another participant as closely as possible.
  • “Stand-off” – a contest of balance and synergy in which the aim is to cause the opponent to break alignment by stepping off-balance.
  • “Back to back lift” – in which participants alternately lift each other onto their backs, employing skeletal alignment supported by muscular strength.

Participants in this form of training constantly alternate between co-operating and competing with their partners during different exercises. Co-operative games require the participants to work together to achieve a specific result, such as balancing against each other’s bodies while in physically awkward positions or keeping their hands in contact while performing various improvised movement exercises. Competitive games require the participants to work against each other, as in contests of balance and speed, safely simulating some of the characteristics of real combat.

Participants also alternate between moving “in character” and as themselves, between improvised and choreographed exercises and between assuming active and passive roles during the various exercises.

In addition to this, Kurylenko would have had to tone up with some weight training and military style bodyweight circuit training, including press ups, squats, sit ups and running.

In the new Bond film, Quantum of Solace, Olga Kurylenko plays Camille, a Russian-Bolivian agent and the lead Bond girl. She has her own vendetta regarding criminal masterminds Greene and Quantum. In Quantum, Camille is someone who challenges Bond and helps him come to terms with the emotional consequences of Vesper’s betrayal. She starts out as Bond;s opponent, but they later join forces to fight together.

However, it was not just fitness and fight training that she required before making the new Bond film. She also had to watch previous Bond films, and was given a James Bond DVD box set, since the Bond franchise was not easily available to watch where she grew up in Ukraine. Kurylenko found Michelle Yeoh in Tomorrow Never Dies inspiring “because she did the fight scenes by herself”. The producers had intended to cast a South American actress in the role. Kurylenko trained with a dialect coach to perform with a Spanish accent, which was easy as “I have a good ear, so I can imitate people”, and because her accent was not made heavy. When reflecting on her experience as a Bond girl, she stated she was most proud of overcoming her fears in performing stunts.

Olga Kurylenko was discovered by a female model scout while on vacation in Moscow at the age of thirteen. She began her film career in France in 2005. While studying French, Olga married her best friend, the French fashion photographer Cedric Van Mol, the couple divorced four years later. She married again, to a mobile phone accessory entrepreneur Damian Gabrielle. She split from Damien Gabrielle in late 2007. She received the certificate of excellence award at the 2006 Brooklyn International Film Festival for her performance in L’Annulaire, and also starred in the Paris, je t’aime segment Quartier de la Madeleine opposite Elijah Wood. In 2007, Kurylenko starred in Hitman alongside Timothy Olyphant. She will also star as Bond girl Camille in the newest 007 film, Quantum of Solace, the 22nd film in the Bond Series.

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