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About The Production (Continued)
Overall, Stephens found playing Graves a great challenge and unforgettable experience. "My favorite Bond film is From Russia With Love," he says. "I love Robert Shaw's performance. His scenes with Sean Connery are so gritty, and you really thought Bond had met his match. That's the trick. If you can make the audience believe, even for a second, that Bond has had it – even though you know he's going to win in the end – then you're on a winning streak."

Oxford-educated Rosamund Pike is only 22, but she's already established herself as a fine stage and TV actress. Now she makes her motion picture debut in a leading role as ice-cool Miranda Frost. When she found out she got the role, she says, "It was the biggest adrenaline rush I've ever had about getting a job.

"This is my first feature film," Pike continues. "The fact that it's a James Bond film makes it even more nerve-wracking. You have a responsibility to create another fantastic Bond character and live up to all the expectations. But it is brilliantly exciting."

Pike describes her character as a "tough cookie." Frost is an Olympic fencing champion, "and anyone who has the drive and commitment to reach that level has a pretty daunting sense of themselves and their ability," she says. "She also has the natural aggression an Olympic champion needs in order to win. She infuses every waking moment with that same spirit. For good or bad, she wants to succeed in everything she does."

Pike found working with Pierce "immensely rewarding and fun. He's an absolute professional," she says. As for their requisite Bond love scenes, "I hope our love scenes will be as passionate and exciting as one expects. It was new for me, but Pierce was great and very supportive. He put me at ease by telling me about some of his first love scene experiences in other movies. Kind of someone's history of bad sex!" she laughs. "It really helped to break the ice."

While making the movie, Pike was continually impressed by the Bond franchise's staying power. "This is the 40th anniversary," she says, "Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli have been recognized by film institutes like BAFTA (‘Special Award for 40 years of James Bond Films') and the London Film Critics Circle. When you're at award ceremonies and they show a commemorative reel of bits from the Bond films, you see all those key phenomenal moments passing before your eyes and suddenly think, ‘My God, I can't believe I'm now a part of all this!' It's very exciting."

Like Stephens, Pike had to train in fencing for her role, but she also had to learn how to handle a gun. "I had never even held a gun before. I was pretty gun shy," she says. But as she was preparing to fire her first round, the film's armourer, Joss Skottowe, said to her, "I guarantee I'm going to have to stop you smiling. That's what people do when they fire a gun for the first time." That's exactly what happened. "I felt like a kid in the school playground acting out a scene from a Bond film," she laughs.

When asked how she feels about the "Bond Girl" label, Pike says, "I'm always going to be thrilled to have played Miranda Frost. I don't think there are many actresses who wouldn't like the chance to create one of these women. They're so special. I can't wait to see how it goes down with audiences. I've been involved with this since November 2001, but it will become part of my life forever. It's a on

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