She has starred in everything from An Ideal Husband on stage to Downton Abbey on screen, but Samantha Bond is arguably still most famous for playing Miss Moneypenny in the aptly named spy adventure films. Fans of both the Bond films and Bond herself can now see the actress starring in Joe Orton’s raucous comedy What The Butler Saw at the Vaudeville theatre, putting the Outnumbered star’s funny bones to the test alongside comedian Omid Djalili.
We challenged the actress to a revealing Q&A and discovered a love of macaroni cheese and Kevin Spacey, a passion for dance and a surprising route into acting involving puppy fat and an ancient Greek princess.
What first sparked your interest in performing?
I was raised by an actor, Philip Bond, and a TV producer, Pat Sandys. After my first love, ballet, disappeared due to immense and intense puppy fat, I had the most wonderful teacher who thrust a copy of Sophocles’ Electra into my hands. That was it, I’m afraid.
What is the finest performance you have ever seen?
Oh, my God! What an impossible question! Just before going to drama school I saw Jonathan Pryce’s Hamlet – just incredible! And Sir Derek Jacobi’s King Lear, last year – awesome. Also, any performance Sir Anthony Dowell ever danced.
If you could create a fantasy production to star in, who would you cast, who would direct and what would it be?
Kevin Spacey. Richard Eyre. Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?
Comedy or tragedy?
Both please! Comedy is so difficult and tragedy so exacting! Both are equally exhausting!
Period drama or contemporary?
The great thing about being offered a classic is that you know it is a really fine piece of work. New, contemporary writing often involves a more fluid, flexible approach. I relish the challenge of both.
Do you have any regrets?
What do you consider your big break?
Definitely, [playing] Juliet opposite Kenneth Branagh, which Ken also directed.
Do you have a pre-show routine or any rituals?
I do a full vocal and physical warm-up. I don’t have pre-show rituals, but once established I do like the pre-show routine to remain the same.
Where do you head after a performance?
Joe Allen, Sheekeys, The Ivy – or home!
What do you do when you’re not performing or rehearsing?
Rest. Cook. Clean. Launder. Iron.
What would you choose as a last meal?
What book, film or album do you find yourself recommending time and time again?
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kindsolver.
What ambitions would you like to fulfil?
I’ve danced with Sir Anthony Dowell – anything else is a bonus!
What do you look for when taking a role?
A great script.
If you weren’t an actor, what would you be?
I’d be a really good nursery school teacher.
How would you like to be remembered?
She was fun!