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ARTICLE SARAH FONES

PHOTOGRAPHY PHILIPPE VOGELENZANG

STYLIST BRANDON MAXWELL

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Makeup Kristin Gallegos for Laura Mercier (CLM)  Hair Wesley O’Meara for Bangstyle (The Wall Group)  Manicure Eri Handa for Chanel (Atelier Management)  Set design Erin Swift (Kate Ryan Inc)  Digital technician Charles Lu  Photo assistants Pavel Woznicki and Janneke de Jong  Stylist assistant Hayley Pisaturo  Set design assistant Adam Santucci  Location Neo Studios

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POSTCARDS FROM SSION THE VIDEO(S): BRIT BRIT VS. RI RI HOT TO TROT POWERHOUSE: FASHION SCHOOL

AZURE THING

PHOTOGRAPHY PHILIPPE VOGELENZANG
FASHION BRANDON MAXWELL
TEXT SARAH FONES

FROM BOND GIRL TO SCI-FI SIREN, OLGA KURYLENKO IS AN ACTRESS FOR WHOM THE SKY IS THE LIMIT. NOW SHE'S TACKLING THE ROLE OF A LOVELORN SOUL IN TERRENCE MALICK'S OKLAHOMA-BASED OPUS TO THE WONDER

Terrence Malick’s latest film, To the Wonder, has a lush, ponderous quality to it not unlike that of a gauzy, albeit arresting, fashion editorial. Free of dialogue save for a few voice-overs, it is intense and undeniably radiant. The film’s players—including Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams and Javier Bardem—are handsome and vulnerable. Its backdrops, from the sun-dappled fields of rural Oklahoma to the chilly stone edifices dotting Paris, are achingly picturesque. But if Malick is selling us on anything here, it’s his star, Olga Kurylenko. “He shoots with a very magic light,” she says. 

The Ukrainian-born actress, 33, was scouted in Moscow as a teen, subsequently moving to Paris, where she joined mega modeling agency NEXT. Working successfully into her late 20s, she fronted campaigns for Clarins, Sisley, and Kenzo perfumes. Prior to making her film debut as the lead in Diane Bertrand’s erotically charged L’annulaire, Kurylenko appeared on the covers of Vogue Italia and French Elle

Getting physical has been par for the course for the former model. She’s featured in action flicks like Centurion alongside Michael Fassbender, and Luc Besson’s Hitman, her first English-speaking role. But her best-known screen persona to date is that of Camille Montes, the murder-avenging scene stealer in the 2008 Bond flick Quantum of Solace. In April, Kurylenko stars with Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman in the big-budget sci-fi thriller Oblivion. “Tom is a fascinating person,” Kurylenko says of her costar. “He is one of the most generous actors I have ever worked with, and he has more energy than anyone I’ve ever met! I could watch him work all day long. I learned so much from him.” 

The same could be said for Malick. Praising the Oscar-nominated filmmaker’s quirkiness, tenacity, and empathy, Kurylenko considers him a master of the human psyche. This quality comes in handy on the set of the romantic drama, where Malick’s characters, including Kurylenko’s Marina, are troubled souls. Falling in and out of love, they’re often lonely even in each other’s company. “Terry portrays human problems,” she explains. “He’s perceptive. He sees the problem and knows where it comes from. I think he’s a very good psychologist.”

Kurylenko found herself physically drained on Malick’s set. The role, which required her to dance, fight, and break down, was emotionally exhausting. The experience took her “to the darkest place, ever, out of all of my movies. I’ve never been to such depths as in this one,” she says. “I scared myself, you know what I mean?” 

Malick, who also wrote To the Wonder, did not give his actors a script or scenes to prep beforehand. Rehearsing was impossible, since the writer-director only gave out pages just prior to shooting. Kurylenko described the “read it and go” process as both intimate and daunting. Her reactions, she explained, were more those of a civilian responding suddenly than of an actor inhabiting a studied role. At times Malick’s confidence in his protagonist’s abilities floored her. “You know, I always think about where I come from. And this guy who’s so amazing and whom I admire, he just trusted me. He believed in me,” she says, her voice betraying a sense of awe. “It turned my life into a fairy tale.”

To The Wonder is out in April

EXTRA CREDITS

Makeup Kristin Gallegos for Laura Mercier (CLM)  Hair Wesley O’Meara for Bangstyle (The Wall Group)  Manicure Eri Handa for Chanel (Atelier Management)  Set design Erin Swift (Kate Ryan Inc)  Digital technician Charles Lu  Photo assistants Pavel Woznicki and Janneke de Jong  Stylist assistant Hayley Pisaturo  Set design assistant Adam Santucci  Location Neo Studios

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POSTCARDS FROM SSION THE VIDEO(S): BRIT BRIT VS. RI RI HOT TO TROT POWERHOUSE: FASHION SCHOOL
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