Why Goldeneye's Famke Janssen Felt She Was 'Thrown To The Wolves' After Her Bond Girl Experience

Famke Janssen poses in a uniformed disguise in Goldeneye.
(Image credit: Danjaq, LLC and MGM)

The pressures of starring in the James Bond movies can be pretty difficult for anyone. Even outgoing Bond Daniel Craig has admitted to pressure being part of the game when it comes to the almost 60 year legacy this property has enjoyed. 

That sort of intensity is arguably even more punishing on the actors that have played Bond girls through the years. Recently, Goldeneye’s Famke Janssen came forward to discuss that very subject, and how her experience making the action movie left her feeling as if she was “thrown to the wolves.”

It's a sentiment that's not an exaggeration either, being pulled from a direct quote from Janssen’s recent interview with The Independent. Promoting her latest film Redeeming Love, the woman who played the villainous Xenia Onatopp against Pierce Brosnan in his 1995 007 debut described how she felt about the press coverage surrounding her role. Said the actor,

The Bond movie dictated a lot of my relationship with the press … honestly, after GoldenEye I felt like I was thrown to the wolves. 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. 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 … But fame comes at a price, and it wasn’t one that I was willing to pay.

Of course, Famke Janssen wouldn’t completely shun big ticket roles in her cinematic career. While Goldeneye may have subjected her to that “onslaught of attention,” it thankfully didn’t discourage her from taking the role of Jean Grey in the pre-MCU era X-Men movies. Knowing that Janssen accepted that part on her own terms and after dealing with the huge spectacle that is doing press for a James Bond movie puts another rather impressive lens on that decision.

Sadly, it wasn’t just the press that scrutinized Famke Janssen rather unfairly in her post-Goldeneye career. Further along in her interview, the Redeeming Love star recalled her experience on the 1997 film City of Industry, which saw co-star Harvey Keitel asking some specific questions about her hiring:

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. Harvey Keitel was all, ‘Can you even do your own laundry?’ – that kind of thing. 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.

Arriving just two years after Famke Janseen had helped kickstart the Pierce Brosnan era of James Bond, City of Industry already saw unfair preconceived notions forming around her fledgling resume. Between this and the press cycle for Goldeneye, Janssen formed a plan to shape her own career in a manner of which she approved. 

Though carefully selecting those opportunities may have led her to be “less famous” than she potentially could have been, it didn’t stop Famke Janssen from becoming a fan favorite. Her legacy as one of the most iconic Bond Girls is still very much intact, with Goldeneye's Xenia Onatopp being as lethal and as exciting to watch as she was back when she debuted. 

Not to mention, there’s obviously enough fans who’ve asked about Jean Grey’s potential return to the X-Men saga that Janssen has considered an MCU reprise in recent years. As we've seen Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart reviving their own roles in the more recent era of comic films, the door seems open for the original Jean Grey to return much as she did at the end of X-Men: Days of Future Past. That sounds like a win against the wolves, if you ask us. 

Famke Janssen fans are currently in luck, provided they’ve got an Amazon Prime subscription in the US market. Not only is her latest film, Redeeming Love, currently available as part of that streaming library, but so is Goldeneye.

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.