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Freerunner Sebastien Foucan talks about his work on Casino Royale

23-Mar-2007 • Casino Royale

French athlete Sébastien Foucan played the crane-jumping baddie, Mollaka, alongside new Bond Daniel Craig in Casino Royale. He's a founder of free running, in which participants overcome obstacles while running, jumping and doing acrobatics. He's also toured with Madonna and has been in her videos for Hung Up and Jump. Casino Royale is out on DVD - reports Metro.

Were you surprised by the success of the new Bond film?
It was a surprise. But all through the filming, I always felt we were working on something good.

Were you a fan of Bond before you got involved?
I was definitely a fan. My favourite was Octopussy.

How does it feel to be part of the Bond villain lineage?
There have been some great villains – my favourite was Jaws – and it’s odd to be a part of that. I’m just starting to realise that I’ll always be part of it.

Did the crane-jumping sequence take long to film?
We spent two months working in the Bahamas.

Sounds like hell.
It was actually very difficult. We worked very hard but it’s a great place to spend time. It’s a paradise. The hardest thing was to have only one day off a week. The schedule was very tough.

How hard does Daniel Craig punch?
We had a lot of fights and Daniel is very strong – thankfully, we don’t punch for real. But it often came a bit too close for comfort. I gave as good as I got, though.

Are you annoyed you were killed off, meaning you can’t be in the next Bond film?
No, no. It’s just something you have to accept – that’s it.

Do you think there’ll ever be a black James Bond?
It would be great – especially if they pick me. I’d like that role but I don’t know. They’d have to make a really good movie because I think choosing a black Bond would be criticised a lot.

Do you think you’ll do more films?
We’ll see. I’m open to proposals. I like working with people when it’s as a team. You can work together, make yourself better and grow. I’m working on a film at the moment but I can’t reveal what it is.

What’s the idea behind free running?
It’s about combating negative energy. It’s hard to talk about the philosophy – it’s easier just to start doing it. Just by participating, you’ll feel it. It’s about trying to be in connection with your body, your spirit and your environment. It fits with a lot of Asian philosophies.

What does it involve?
Of course, there’s the running and the jumping part of it but it’s more about moving with your environment, judgement and timing – the whole capacity of a human being is included.

How much training do you do each day?
It’s not about being the best; it’s about getting better. I just follow my rhythm, so I do as much as I want each day – sometimes up to seven hours. I’ve been doing this for 17 years and, for me, it’s about maintaining my level.

Is there a limit to how long you can do it for?
If it was a competition or a sport, there would be a limit. But, for me, this is a lifestyle, so there’s no limit. I don’t have a goal to be the best or to be the champ. It’s about how long I can practise and keep the passion to do it.

Do you have a favourite city for free running?
I like to say my favourite city is the next one. If the environment is new to me, it’s perfect.

Is it dangerous?
I can’t say my discipline isn’t dangerous. Like every physical exercise at a high level, there’s a risk. But I always emphasise safety to young people starting. It’s difficult with some children because they don’t always listen.

You seem pretty disciplined. Do you ever just slob out?
Of course. It’s not very important to me to be on a special schedule. I just try to have a good balance. I eat what I want to eat.

What’s Madonna like to work with?
She’s very disciplined, too. She’s a perfectionist. We understand each other well. She’s an inspirational person. She shows you that you can reach what you try to reach.

Are there a lot of parties on tour or does everyone need their rest?
We had some parties – not to dance, just to say hello to people. All the dancers who work on the tour are professionals and we knew what we had to do. We definitely needed our rest more than we needed to party. It’s amazing – when I finished Bond, I said: ‘Wow, I’ve never done anything like that.’ But Madonna’s tour was even more demanding.

So Madonna’s even tougher than Bond?

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