At 22, Britain’s Rosamund Pike just having quite the impact. As one of the two new Bond women in the latest 007 adventure Die Another Day, Pike is having the time of her life for her first film. Dressed wearing a sheer black bra-like halter top, jeans, slightly draped in pink, the quietly spoken British actress admits to being daunted being a major star – and a Bond girl at that – of the 20th James Bond film. “It’s terrifying, to be perfectly honest,” the Oxford university graduate shyly admits. Not to mention now dealing with the gargantuan media circus that the arrival of a Bond film generates.
“I’m excited at the moment because it’s the first chance I’ve had to gauge people’s reactions and people seem quite excited. It seems that people are on your side when you’re promoting a Bond movie because there is so much love for these films out there.” But for Pike, personally, along with the film itself is her own presence which could lead to instant stardom. “I guess that’s part of the job now”, she says, matter-of-factly. “I think I felt that the day I got the part was the day London changed for me and I suddenly felt curiously invisible, which I’d never felt before. I thought I’d better enjoy this because sooner or later that could end.”
Perhaps that is one of the pitfalls of becoming a Bond girl, but Pike doesn’t see that there are any. “I don’t see why there should be”, Pike insists. “After all, it’s one of the coolest gigs you can be offered and one of the greatest compliments you can be given. Perhaps it’s only at this stage when people haven’t seen the film that when these 40 years of films become kind of crystallised into one idea of ?Bond girl’, which involves some silhouette and statement of sex appeal. Whereas if you line them up, as well as carrying some kind of iconic images, they’ve all been very strong women. Now I’m just longing for people to see the film and realise what I’m up to, not that it’s simply about some bit of fluff.”
Without giving too much away, Pike describes her character “as an agent and there’s no joke at our expense which I think in the old days. I’m an MI6 agent recruited out of the Olympic Fencing Team set to work alongside Bond. She tends to loathe everything that Bond stands for. She’s also an enigma that you can’t really get whom you really can’t get a hold of, because she comes up and she’s sort of frosty and cool and then people tend to think: OK that’s the girl who’s the one that’s a bit of a bitch to him and then melts and falls for his charms. That’s what people expect but of course that’s not that.” The major physical challenge for Pike was learning how to fence like an Olympic champion. “That was tough because it’s like a new body language and a totally new physicality. It’s also such a curious sport because it’s got this funny kind of structure to it. For something that’s like a 1:1 combat it’s pretty stylised yet also very aggressive.”
Prior to getting the role of sexy agent Miranda Frost in Die Another Day, Pike admits that she wasn’t much of a fan of the Bond franchise “even though when you grow up in Britain, you do grow up with Bond in your bones”, she says. “But I wasn’t a fan which I was initially ashamed of when this came up but then I think it got me through it in a way.”
Pike began acting at 16, admitting that “I’ve always known that was what I was,” she says. “I put myself through college by acting and got my first job while I was at university so I was spreadeagled trying to be two different things, which was tough.” Pike grew up in a musical family, played the cellist at a young age and could have easily done that professionally, “but I discovered that I was much better at being somebody else.”
As to her own favourite Bond film, there’s no contest. “Definitely From Russia with Love because Connery at his peak.” Asked why James Bond has stood the test of time, this latest Bond girl is clear on this. “It’s the fantasy of one guy against the rest of the world or against the major superpowers. I suppose it’s that arrogant British fantasy in particular.” But while Pike gets hot and sweaty with 007, the beautiful actress also admits “that he’s not my type of man.” Rather, she adds smilingly, “I like a man a little less put together perhaps.” Any takers? Miss Pike is currently single and waiting for someone less Bond to sweep her off her feet “but not until I get my career on track.”