‘I Was Thrown to the Wolves’: Famke Janssen on Fame After ‘GoldenEye’
Fame really is in the eye of the beholder.
“GoldenEye” breakout Famke Janssen reflected on her tenuous experience with the press after her skyrocket to celebrity in 1995, starring alongside Pierce Brosnan in the now-iconic James Bond film.
“The Bond movie dictated a lot of my relationship with the press,” Janssen told The Independent. “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 realize every actor in the world thinks they can control the press, but ultimately the press always wins.”
Janssen continued, “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. I feel incredibly misunderstood at times. It’s the dichotomy between the way I look and what is happening inside. But that comes with being in a Bond movie and playing this crazy assassin. All of my friends and family know that I’m goofy, and sensitive, and that I play these characters who are so different from that; other people probably think I’m just playing myself.”
Janssen starred as Xenia Onatopp, a Russian killer who infamously tries to murder Bond by holding him between her legs. Janssen previously addressed the “enormous stigma” around being a Bond Girl. After “GoldenEye,” Dutch actress Janssen went on to star in “City of Industry,” “Celebrity,” “The Gingerbread Man,” “The Faculty,” and “House on Haunted Hill.” She later played Jean Gray in the “X-Men” franchise.
On set of “City of Industry,” Janssen recalled co-star Harvey Keitel asking, “Can you even do your own laundry?”
“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,” Janssen said. “I feel incredibly misunderstood at times.”
Janssen later wrote and directed “Bringing Up Bobby,” a story of an European immigrant who is forcefully separated from her son upon moving to the U.S. Milla Jovovich led the film, which was not well-received by critics.
“When you write or direct, it becomes so personal. I had to take a few steps backwards because [‘Bringing Up Bobby’] just took too much out of me. And how it was received, and how people would talk about it…I didn’t feel valued, or seen. I just thought, ‘Can I go through this again?’” Janssen said. “It was like heartbreak. I think sometimes I’m too sensitive for this world.”
She said 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.”
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