Svetlana Khodchenkova: From Russian model to movie star


Born in Moscow, this 30-year-old Russian beauty started out as a model before graduating to TV and movies in her homeland.



She was in Russian period flick Blagoslovite zhenshchinu (2003) and the TV series Kratkiy kurs schastlivoy zhizni. She was also in Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy (2011) with Gary Oldman.



This leggy blonde studied theatre in Moscow and was already landing professional gigs as a teen. She spent a decade honing her craft in Russia before finally deciding to take on Hollywood.



Guess who's starring in the new Wolverine film? Khodchenkova, that's who! Having made very few films in the West, The Wolverine is her first proper Hollywood blockbuster. She plays Viper, a venomous snake-lady who tangles with Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) in Japan. The Wolverine opens in theatres here today.



On her feelings towards Viper

"For me to play the character I have to love the character. I have to realise why she's doing what she's doing, and obviously she has reasons for everything she does. I worked a lot on that. I love the character."

On Viper's costumes

"Every costume is really different, and also being a woman, I absolutely love the changes. It helps because the costumes and looks progress with the character through the film."

On the difference between working in Russia and America

"Just to start, the hours that actors and everyone else work is different. In Russia, I would probably never work for more than nine hours, but here it would go on to 12, 15. It's different because I'm quite far away from my family and all my friends, the people I love.

People speak different languages, so it's a bit challenging. Sometimes we have crazy moments, with the director giving me directions and me going, 'Oh my God! What is he saying? I need someone to translate!' It's a little bit hectic now and then, but it's funny."


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