Caterina Murino talks sex, love and ‘Hemingway’s Garden of Eden’

Italian beauty works to define her career post-James Bond

Caterina Murino in 'Hemingway's Garden of Eden'

Looking at Caterina Murino, it’s hard to believe she wanted to be anything other than a model and an actress.

But according to the Italian beauty, she never saw herself heating up the big screen. All she really wanted was to be a children’s doctor.

“My family all comes from universities, I never sought this kind of work,” she recently told Tail Slate. But why did she not pursue her goals of being a pediatrician?

“Because I failed twice the exam to get in,” she said with a laugh. “Even though you try so hard, sometimes destiny is whispering in your ear and you just have to listen.”

Murino worked as a model for a time before turning to acting on stage. But it was the then 28-year-old’s role as a doomed lover of James Bond in Casino Royale that ultimately turned heads and jump-started her career.

“[That] helped me very much,” Murino, now 33, said.

This year she’s raising eyebrows in the sexy Hemingway’s Garden of Eden.

Caterina Murino
Caterina Murino

“I never would have gotten the role of Marita if it hadn’t been for James Bond,” the actress said.

In the film, Murino stars as a young rich woman who encounters a pair of newlyweds on their honeymoon.

David (Jack Huston) and Catherine (Mena Suvari) aren’t exactly a normal couple, however. Catherine is increasingly unsatisfied with her just-started marriage. She then pulls Marita into a twisted game of sex and relationships as she continually toys with the mind of her writer husband.

“I think it’s so important that in the relationship that David and Catherine have, they are so in love with one another, but the craziness of Catherine pushes David… to accept another woman in his life,” Murino said.

When they aren’t standing around smoking cigarettes or gulping down absinthe, the easily manipulated David bounces between his wife and Marita.

“This movie is about relationships, it’s about fear, it’s about sex, it’s about love,” she said. And “Catherine and Marita are a mirror. A mirror of the same person.”

The role calls for Murino to not only shed her clothing a few times (which isn’t as revealing as it sounds with the help of some clever camera angles and lighting), but engage in some intimate moments with both Huston and Suvari.

“I’m very comfortable with my body, but it was difficult for me to accept this,” Murino said. Although it wasn’t the first time she filmed sex scenes, because of the way it was shot, she felt more at ease.

“It wasn’t just there to show the [nudity] in the movie, and everything was very elegantly shot,” she said.

Murino has a few projects in the works for 2011, including the Canadian series XIII. Starring Stuart Townsend, Murino plays the gritty role of Sam, which she says won’t be about her good looks.

“You’d never think it was me,” she said. “Long hair, dirty hair, full of tattoos and piercings. It’s completely different.”

As she bounces from movies to television to the stage, Murino is grateful for the opportunities playing a Bond girl has given her, but strives to show she is more than just a pretty face.

“Sometimes you get a chance to get away from the image of a Bond girl, and I’m always trying to pick different roles that don’t depend on my appearance,” she said.

Hemingway’s Garden of Eden opens Dec. 10 in NYC and LA.

Michael Sheridan

Michael Sheridan has written, directed and produced more than a dozen short films under the banner of Maynard Films, and has worked as a writer for more than a decade for websites, magazines and newspapers.

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