Andrew Osborn

 

 

Chief Russia Correspondent

 

Deputy Bureau Chief Russia/CIS

 

Reuters

 

 

Russia eyes its own female James Bond

The Sunday Herald, 16th June 2006 17:10

by Andrew Osborn in Moscow

The Kremlin has enlisted the services of a glamorous Kalashnikov-toting latex-suited actress to play an

all-action spy designed to rival Ian Fleming’s James Bond.

Anastasia Zavorotnyuk, already dubbed ‘the Russian James Bond,’ is hard at work filming a multi-million

pound blockbuster intended to put the antics of 007 in the shade.

The film has been given the working title ‘Krasivaya’ (The Beautiful One) and has the curvaceous Zavorotnyuk

single-handedly saving the world from a ruthless group of international terrorists.   

Many details of the production are being kept secret but it is known that the film is being at least partly

funded by the Kremlin and that its aim is to  inculcate patriotism and pride in Russia’s FSB

security service, the successor organisation to the KGB.

The character’s film name has not yet been public though she has whimsically been referred to as Agent

90-60-90, a reference to her vital statistics in centimetres.

Images of Zavorotnyuk on set show her clad in a tight-fitting black jump suit with the wind blowing

through her jet-black long hair and spots of blood around her lips.

Mig fighter jets roar over her head at an aerodrome on the outskirts of Moscow as she stares at the camera,

her eyes cold and bereft of emotion.  Swiss-born actor Vincent Perez, one of the stars of

‘Indochine,’ is also starring in the film. ‘Krasivaya’ has been compared to the Lara Croft Tomb

Raider movies as well as the James Bond franchise and Zavorotnyuk’s character is bound to be compared to the

murderous Xenia Onatopp, as played by Famke Janssen in ‘Goldeneye’, and the playful ‘Jinx,’ as played by

Halle Berry in ‘Die Another Day’. The film is being shot in Russia, Ukraine, France,

Malaysia, Italy, Cuba and Norway, and is due to be released this autumn, the same time as Daniel Craig

makes his debut as 007 in a remake of Casino Royale. Sources familiar with the script say one scene has

Zavorotnyuk plunging from the top of the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, while simultaneously

eliminating forty terrorists. A dramatic car chase in Paris has already been filmed

and Zavorotnyuk is reportedly  carrying out many of the stunts herself.

Best known in Russia for her role in a popular TV series in which she plays a nanny, Zavorotnyuk

underwent two months of gruelling training in combat skills prior to filming.

In the film she is reported to handle all manner of weapons including Russia’s ubiquitous AK-47

Kalashnikov assault rifle. One scene reportedly has her  firing the Tsar Cannon,

a sixteenth century 40-tonne cannon located in the Kremlin famous for the fact that it has never been

fired in anger. ‘Krasivaya’ comes hot on the heels of a number of

Kremlin-backed ‘patriotic’ films, notably ‘Lichny Nomer’ (Dog Tag).

‘Lichny Nomer’ also glorified Russia’s modern-day spies --  it had FSB loner Smolin single-handedly

escaping from separatist rebels in war-torn Chechnya, freeing hundreds of innocent civilian hostages from a

Moscow circus that has been seized by Chechen terrorists, and preventing the detonation of a nuclear

bomb above a Nato summit in Rome. The films are all part of a drive by the government of

Vladimir Putin, himself a former KGB spymaster, to boost love of country and restore Russia’s Soviet-era

pride.   Judging by recent Kremlin-backed films, the terrorists

in ‘Krasivaya’ are likely to be Islamic radicals, possibly with links to Chechen separatists.

Such films are unashamedly also used by Russia’s booming arms industry to ‘showcase’ its products and

are typically made with the full cooperation and participation of Russia’s armed forces.

Russia has long been searching for its own answer to James Bond.   

Though Bond films do enjoy a certain following in Russia, Russians are often heard to complain about the

stereotypical portrayal of themselves in them as ham-fisted baddies. 

‘Krasivaya,’ it seems, will go some way to altering that stereotype.