Tonia Sotiropoulou lands enviable role as the first Greek Bond girl

By Elis Kiss

At the age of 50, 007 has finally succumbed to some Greek charm. Brief but steamy, the encounter between James Bond and his first ever Greek-born love interest in the newly released ?Skyfall? reveals the quintessential British spy?s more vulnerable side, before he returns to traditional government agent action, bespoke attire and more amorous adventures.

Tonia Sotiropoulou, a native Athenian, spent a week on the set of the 23rd Bond installment starring Daniel Craig and directed by Sam Mendes. The film opened in movie theaters around Greece on November 1.

?James Bond is reborn in this film. He is a more human Bond because Mendes is a very different director. Whether directing a small film or a blockbuster, his work is ripe with emotion and color,? Sotiropoulou told Kathimerini English Edition.

On location in idyllic coastal Fethiye, Turkey, the actress prepared for her scenes alongside Craig, who was working on his third 007 outing.

?Daniel is nice, funny, a very normal guy, it was the most relaxed shooting experience I?ve had so far,? commented Sotiropoulou. ?We were laughing about the sex scene, I was kidding around saying: ?How nice. You?ll hold me for a couple of hours.??

Meanwhile, Mendes became a friend.

?I trust him. He is a very sweet, very normal person who does what he does out of love,? she said.

Sotiropoulou?s appearance in ?Skyfall? comes as a happy addition to the actress?s resume, which also includes parts in series and films including Peter Strickland?s recent ?Berberian Sound Studio,? a horror movie in which the actress stars alongside Toby Jones.

Born in 1987, Sotiropoulou went to drama school in Athens before heading to London four years ago to pursue a career in the British film industry.

?I love British culture and their sense of humor. They tend to be very honest and this can be tough to handle sometimes, but you do learn in the process,? she admitted.

In London, the actress takes care of her pets, takes the grim weather in her stride and enjoys strolling round a city where people, whether famous or lesser-known, tend to mind their own business. She is also taking careful acting steps and has repeatedly rejected casting offers and movie projects she felt were not appropriate for her.

?Many confuse celebrity with success and somehow take on roles they don?t really want. This is something producers and directors sense; you have to be very selective when it comes to what you want to do,? noted the actress, who is expected to sign on for two new films ? one a major studio production, the other an independent movie. ?You either realize that you?re an actor and that?s your job or you?re all about marketing.?

Reaffirming her ties to Greece, the actress recently turned up at a ?Skyfall? avant-premiere in Athens organized by the film?s local distributor, FeelGood Entertainment. At the event she spoke about her involvement in what is certain to be a worldwide blockbuster, a film whose globetrotting journey is picking up more and more rave reviews.

James Bond has come a long way since his transposition from Ian Fleming?s action-packed pages onto the big screen, starting with ?Dr No,? starring Sean Connery, in 1962. The latest cinematic chapter may strike a kind of back-to-the-roots chord with many Bond fans out there, while at the same time signaling changing times.

??Skyfall? comes at a time when Europe is looking inward and facing a broadening crisis,? said Sotiropoulou. ?There is respect toward what is going on right now, there is an element of reflecting today?s average person. A film like ?Diamonds Are Forever?, for instance, just wouldn?t cut it right now.?