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She's played Bond Girls and teachers, bimbos and bitches

and now, as she tackles her first comic role, FAMKE JANSSEN

says she's happy to put her foot in it. Literally. Words: Nigel Floyd

A WILLOWY, SIX-FOOT BRUNETTE WITH A HUSKY VOICE AND 'MORE ENERGY than I know what to do with'. Dutch-born actress Famke Janssen is a talkative. funny and thoughtful woman. Not that you‘d know it from her interviews. Reading through her press coverage. it’s almost impossible to find anything in which she isn't pigeon—holed as an ex-model or a Bond Girl. Years after she gave up the catwalk. casting directors would ask. 'l)idn't you used to be a model'."

Janssen hopes her first comedic role will change all that. In Love & Set. a semi- autobiographical romantic comedy by Valerie Breiman. she plays a frustrated. love- lorn New York tnagazine writer who falls for a painter (Jon Favreau). Shooting to the heart of the modern relationship. it‘s sharp. charming and funny. And Janssen is hilarious.

‘l‘d been dying to do comedy before.‘ she says when 1 meet her in London‘s (‘ovcnt Garden Hotel. her long legs and size ten feet curled comfortath beneath her as she lounges on a sofa. ‘but nobody was ready for me to do it. Nobody thought I could do it. But ever since I started acting. l‘ve realised that I could do more than people expected of me. From the moment i walked in. they probably thought. "She looks like that. so she obviously can’t think. and she almost certainly can't act". It’s taken tne eight years to overcome those obstacles. but I‘m slowly getting to a place where I‘ll be ready for whatever is around the corner.‘

Most people know .lanssen only as Xenia ()natopp. the sexy assassin in Golden/{ye who crushes her victims to death with her muscular thighs. a trick she was pressured into doing ‘live‘ on The David Letterman Show. Yet her varied body of work also includes a femme fatalc in (‘live Barker‘s Lord Of Illusions. a leggy model in Woody Allen‘s ('e/e/n'itv. a starchy schoolmistress in Robert Rodriguez~ 'l'lze l'aeu/ty. and the bitchy wife of Geoffrey Rush‘s eccentric millionaire in House ()1: Haunted Hill. ()1: tnost recently. her role as the telepathic Jean Grey in X-J/Ien.

A sure sign of intelligence is the ability to mock oneself. Janssen has this down pat. When I ask if there‘s a link between an internet site called l’amke‘s Shoe Problems and the gag in Love & Sex about her character’s size ten feet. she laughs and takes up the baton immediately. ‘Yes. that's related to my feet in real life. Valerie Brciman had written a script which used certain of her own insecurities and flaws. But when l was cast. those things. like the fact that her nose is a little crooked. didn't really apply to me. Then Valerie said. “OK. we'll change it to fit you". So we picked up on my flaws and they‘re in the movie for everyone to see.‘

Such details make her character in Lave & Sex more credible. even if some reviewers had a problem with the romantic pairing of Janssen and l‘avreau. best