Famke Janssen Felt 'Misunderstood' After Breakout James Bond Role: 'I Was Thrown to the Wolves'

Famke Janssen said she "realized a long time ago that I don't really like people knowing anything about me"

Famke Janssen attends the Los Angeles special screening of Universal's "Redeeming Love" at Directors Guild of America on January 13, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.
Photo: Amy Sussman/Getty

Famke Janssen is hanging tight to her true self while navigating her Hollywood career.

The X-Men and Taken actress, 57, opened up to The Independent about tending to be "super private" and that she "realized a long time ago that I don't really like people knowing anything about me."

"I feel incredibly misunderstood at times. It's the dichotomy between the way I look and what is happening inside," she said. "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 played Xenia Onatopp in 1995's GoldenEye opposite Pierce Brosnan's James Bond.

She said that after her breakout role in that film, she "felt like I was thrown to the wolves" with media attention as she "had to deal with the stereotype of" being a "model turned actress turned Bond Girl."

Irish actor Pierce Brosnan stars as James Bond alongside Dutch-born actress Famke Janssen as the villainous Xenia Onatopp in the film 'GoldenEye', 1995. Here they are filming a scene in the Casino de Monte Carlo, Monte Carlo, Monaco.
Pierce Brosnan and Famke Janssen in GoldenEye (1995). Keith Hamshere/Getty

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"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," said Janssen. "I decided I'd rather be less famous and do things on my terms."

She added, "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."

Janssen explained to The Independent that she came "from nothing" and is "self-made" — "This whole notion that I'm some kind of glamorous movie star is not remotely true," she said.

"It was a very conscious decision to take a different path. I had to create longevity for myself and work on my craft. I would have been much more famous and made much more money if I'd just gone with whatever was given to me in those moments. But that's never been the way that I do things."

Famke Janssen, one of the latest actresses to play a role ina James Bond film, arrives at the world premier of the new 007 adventure "GoldenEye" in New York 13 November. The latest James Bond is played by British actor Pierce Brosnan.
Famke Janssen at GoldenEye in November 1995. BOB STRONG/AFP via Getty

The actress told PEOPLE back in 2015 about how GoldenEye "propelled me into the business."

"There's always a catch-22 with these types of movies because historically women have just been categorized or demeaned in whatever ways in these films, so I was very clear about what as a woman it was like to be part of that franchise and what could potentially happen after that," she said at the time.

Janssen added that she thought the Bond movies had adapted to be more socially aware and less stereotypical in its depictions of women.

"I'm really happy that, especially with a vehicle in the Bond genre, which really traditionally hasn't been very kind to its women, that I've had maybe, hopefully, the tiniest little bit of an effect," she said at the time. "That those women could be strong and different and unique and that's what I tried to do with the parts that come my way."

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