Olga Kurylenko, 33, has already notched up an appearance alongside Daniel Craig in the James Bond film Quantum of Solace and boasts a starring role in Terrence Malick's To the Wonder. Now, the Ukrainian-born former-model plays Julia, a mysterious survivor, opposite Tom Cruise in the sci-fi film Oblivion.
What drew you to Oblivion?
Even though we've seen post-apocalyptic films before, it was a very different story. It's hard to come up with something new, and this was original. I was pleasantly surprised - finally, an original, interesting story. And, of course, I liked my character. There was romance involved. And I thought it was very beautifully described. It was, in a way, rather innocent. And, of course, the possibility of working with Tom Cruise was appealing.
What sort of stunts did you do?
I rode a motorbike with Tom. I didn't drive it. I had to sit on the back. And we rode for miles in Iceland.
We shot in this place where it's just black sand. It's like a black desert. Iceland is very green but that place was just flat, black sand. It's astonishing - quite beautiful. And there are no roads. It's weird when you can drive in any direction - just a big flat space.
Are you a science fiction fan?
I got terrified when I saw Alien. I was a kid, maybe 11. That was maybe one of the first Hollywood movies I saw. I saw it in my motherland, Ukraine, which was incredible because I didn't really see movies then. We went to the movie theatre, which only played films once in a while, and that was on. I don't know if that's the first one I saw, but I got so scared. I was really young.
When you were 13, you were talent-spotted on the Moscow subway. How did that make you feel?
It was a miracle. I kept thinking after I went back home: "It's not only in books and movies. It happened to me." What are the chances? It's crazy.
You went into modelling early on. How was that?
I was lonely travelling around by myself but I think it was a great job because it allowed me to survive and to go into acting smoothly. It didn't have to be urgent. I could wait for the right role because I had another job. I wasn't jobless and struggling. That job was feeding me, so it was a good thing.
Isn't acting lonely, too?
No, much less. With modelling, you go somewhere for 24 hours and you don't even see the city. You don't talk to people or see the culture. You don't know the people and you don't have time to know them. I didn't keep any friends because you can't make friends. It's very difficult.
Also, apart from work, models hang out in modelling crowds and parties. I never did. I didn't feel I belonged there. I don't really know people from modelling, even though I spent so many years there. I felt very different.
Your breakthrough came as a Bond girl on Quantum of Solace. Have you always wanted to be an action girl?
Well, Bond wasn't my goal. It just happened, which was a great thing. I started in The Ring Finger, a small French movie that had no blood or guns or action in it, and that's what I thought I'd be doing. And then all the other things came along. I'm grateful they did. That's how I got into English-language, more commercial films. If you do these big blockbusters, suddenly people know who you are and want to do your movies. That's how it works.
You also starred in Terrence Malick's To the Wonder. What was it like working for him?
It was very different. You can't compare it to a big-budget Hollywood movie. There was no script. Everything was told by Terry. Everything was just through his words. In the audition, they only filmed my eyes. I didn't have to say anything, and then he said: "OK, I want you for the part." I don't know what's up with my eyes, but they convinced Terry.
Oblivion opens in UAE cinemas tomorrow
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