Olga Kurylenko on ‘Magic City’ – Exclusive

The former Bond girl tells about her new Starz series and Daniel Craig's comments about Quantum of Solace.

Fred Topelby Fred Topel

After the Television Critics Association panel for Starz’ new drama “Magic City,” I saw Olga Kurylenko standing all by herself. I was planning to talk to her about the new series anyway but now I got an exclusive. She plays Vera, an immigrant in 1959 Miami, married to hotel owner Ike Evans (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). We also talked about her upcoming movies and the Quantum of Solace backlash from Daniel Craig himself.


CraveOnline: What are the dramatic storylines for your character in “Magic City?”

Olga Kurylenko: Well, she’s in this different world for her and basically she’s trying to be a stepmother. She really wants to have a family of her own. That’s her thing. She wants to have children. She is really missing dancing and by all means she’s trying to go back to performing, which is very difficult because Ike doesn’t really agree with that, doesn’t want her dancing.

She’s the queen and she’s not to be on stage. That’s how he sees it. So this whole struggle with her, whether she’s going to be able to perform again or not and to keep the relationship at the same time. I think she’s also trying to mean something in this world. She doesn’t want to be just a wife or a housewife. I think she’d really like to be equal to her husband and maybe help him when she can. She’s quite proactive. She’s going to be developing in many different respects.

CraveOnline: Do we get to see you perform?

Olga Kurylenko: Yes, there are little glimpses of dance, yeah.

CraveOnline: What sort of training did you do for that?

Olga Kurylenko: I went to the ballet school in Miami. I just took a couple of ballet classes and some jazz. I had private training also just to go back into this whole thing because I trained when I was a kid but it was a long time ago. So this was a great opportunity to start doing it again, to start dancing and I had a blast.

I loved it. I thought what a great thing, I should be dancing all the time. It’s one of those things. Movies are good for that because they force you to do a certain kind of training and learn new skills, and that was one of those. I’m looking forward to going back to it and doing some more.

CraveOnline: Have you been asked to do anything outrageous on the show, since it’s Starz and can be R-rated?

Olga Kurylenko: No, nothing outrageous here really. It’s one of the few that didn’t ask me to do anything outrageous for once.

CraveOnline: Is it hot in Miami?

Olga Kurylenko: Very hot, yeah. Especially in summer it was very humid but I like it. I love it. I’m so glad. I had a great time. I love the heat. I love sun. I feel better in warm countries.

CraveOnline: Are you a history buff? Have you researched this era in Europe or America?

Olga Kurylenko: A little bit. I read the book “1959” about what kind of things happened that year because our show starts in 1959. And then I went on the internet a lot. It’s a really great resource because you can type any subject in Google and you get thousands of articles. You pretty much can research anything.

There’s Wikipedia, there’s all kinds of stuff. It’s actually great nowadays. Any questions you have, you go on the internet. You can research anything. You can watch videos on YouTube, things like that. I watched old movies, like the very romantic black and white movies which really helped me with the relationship that Ike has with Vera.

CraveOnline: What were the names of some of the movies?

Olga Kurylenko: Oh God. Well, I rewatched Casablanca.

CraveOnline: That was the ‘40s.

Olga Kurylenko: Yeah, but it’s the same romance. Oh God, I’m very bad with names. I watched tons of black and white movies. It was all on Netflix but the names, I’m really bad with names. It doesn’t matter, I saw tons of things and that really helps because there was something so pure and a little naïve in the way they portrayed love. It wasn’t dirty as sometimes we see now. It was beautiful and I much prefer watching those kind of relationships.

CraveOnline: Does the show have that innocent attitude even though it’s being made now?

Olga Kurylenko: That’s the thing. This story between Ike and Vera is very similar to that. There’s something very pure and romantic about it. It has that feel. There’s nothing dirty about our relationship.

CraveOnline: Where is Vera from?

Olga Kurylenko: Her mother’s Dutch and her father’s a gypsy. So she’s half and half and basically after World War II, she goes on a ship to America but ends up in Cuba because of the over quota and lives in Cuba for a couple of years.


CraveOnline: Is it easy for you to be flexible with your voice and the accent?

Olga Kurylenko: I think I just use the accent I have because since she’s a foreigner anyway, it’s perfect. I don’t speak as an American I guess and my accent is unidentifiable. People don’t know where I’m from when I speak, so yeah, I think that’s perfect. But it’s also funny because when I listen to myself talk, I find myself speaking quite with a somewhat Hispanic accent even which would be perfect if she lived a couple years in Cuba and she could totally have that accent and she speaks Spanish obviously.

There is a moment when I speak a little bit of Spanish. We realize she absolutely understands Spanish because people don’t know she does.

CraveOnline: Did the Spanish accent just come out on set when you were around other people speaking Spanish?

Olga Kurylenko: Maybe it’s something that still stayed from Bond because I played a Bolivian and I had to work on a Hispanic accent. So somehow I think that’s easy for me to bring back. I can speak with a slight Hispanic accent somewhat so that certain words I could pronounce in that way. So I think that goes through and also the fact that we did have a lot of Spanish speaking people on set. It’s true that when you listen to them it’s easy to copy them. You can just copy them. I hear the way they speak, I can just speak the way they speak.

CraveOnline: Since he’s shooting a new Bond movie, Daniel Craig has said he always knew there were problems with Quantum of Solace. That seems a little convenient after the fact. Was anyone really speculating about problems with the script while you were making it?

Olga Kurylenko: What I heard from the director in the beginning was that he thought that the script wasn’t complete or something. I remember they were just rewriting it. They rewrote it and I think he participated and there was another writer, but that’s all I remember.

So they were working on it as they went but that happens very often. A lot of scripts people just modify things and suddenly you get new pages sometimes a day before your scene. “You know what, we just changed the whole dialogue.” So that’s a common thing that happens.

CraveOnline: Do you have any more movies coming out?

Olga Kurylenko: This year there’s one coming out in Europe that’s a French movie about Chernobyl, the accident that happened in Chernobyl 25 years ago. It’s called Land of Oblivion. I don't know if it’s going to come to America but it went to more than 20 festivals already. It went around the world so I’m very happy with it. The Terrence Malick film should come out in 2012 but I don't know when exactly.

CraveOnline: You shot that already?

Olga Kurylenko: Yeah, I shot it like a year and a half ago, right? Not last fall but the fall before. So that’s going to come out this year. There’s going to be The Expatriate that’s going to come out.

CraveOnline: Do you get to see any cuts of the Malick film along the way?

Olga Kurylenko: Oh no, with Terrence, no. He doesn’t show anything. I probably recorded about 400 pages of text. I read a book because there’s a lot of voiceover. I’ve only seen the approximate trailer that they were showing in Cannes that they made up a while ago. The movie wasn’t even cut but now they’re very close. I think they’re very close to being done.

CraveOnline: What will that character be like?

Olga Kurylenko: That character is different. She’s Russian, born in Russia, immigrated to France, has a daughter so she’s a mother. It’s about the relationship. My character has the relationship with this American man played by Ben Affleck. She’s basically desperately looking for real love but it’s just very difficult. The whole film is about their understanding and how they are trying to make their relationship work. It’s a very tough love story. They do love each other but there are various complications.