From the outside, being in a James Bond movie seems like a dream gig. It’s one of the biggest action movie franchises in the world, and the most glamorous, full of cool gadgets and elegant costumes. Famke Janssen, who played Bond girl Xenia Onatopp in GoldenEye, explains that the experience isn’t what it’s cracked up to me.
“Honestly, after GoldenEye I felt like I was thrown to the wolves,” she explained to the Independent. “It was just an onslaught of attention, good and bad and everything in between. I realise every actor in the world thinks they can control the press, but ultimately the press always wins.”
All the attention from being in such a blockbuster became overwhelming, leading her to make some specific career choices. “I decided I’d rather be less famous and do things on my terms. That means I don’t make as much money as other people do. I don’t date famous people. I’m not on social media,” she says. “But fame comes at a price, and it wasn’t one that I was willing to pay.”
According to Janssen, certain stereotypes followed her after doing the thriller movie. “I already had to deal with the stereotype of having been a model, but then I added another thing: model turned actress turned Bond Girl,” she remembers.
Apparently, this led to flippant comments from co-stars, including a particular legend in drama movie City of Industry. “Harvey Keitel was all, ‘Can you even do your own laundry?’, that kind of thing,” she states. “Trust me, I come from nothing. I’m self-made. I’ve cleaned toilets, worked in bars… this whole notion that I’m some kind of glamorous movie star is not remotely true.”
GoldenEye was a huge success, kicking off Pierce Brosnan’s time as 007 with a bang. Janssen enjoyed a period in the limelight, also starring in the X-Men movies as Jean Grey. Since then, she’s mostly done smaller projects, and the occasional drama series like Nip/Tuck.