Interview: Spectre and No Time to Die Actress Brigitte Millar

Brigitte Millar is an award-winning London-based, bilingual European/English actress. Shortly after finishing drama college, she was cast as Emmeline Vance in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and has worked on many high-quality projects since. In 2011 she won the award for Best Supporting Actress at the International Film Festival in Los Angeles for her role as Amelia Holland in the multi-award-winning feature film David is Dying. In 2015 she appeared as Dr. Vogel in the Sam Mendes 007 outing Spectre opposite Daniel Craig and Christoph Waltz. This fall Millar reprised her role in No Time To Die directed by Cary Fukunaga. In this interview Millar discusses her career, playing Vogel, and fan reaction to the fate of James Bond.

This interview contains spoilers from the movie No Time to Die.

Jason: Could you start by telling us what brought you to this specific career path?

Brigitte Millar: It was by chance. I wanted to study art and my parents weren’t at all for that idea, I studied languages and I worked as a translator and personal assistant. Later on, I realized that office work wasn’t making me happy. I moved into the fitness industry for a little while, and then I was made redundant from my job, and I was obviously moping around the House as one does, and my brother said, ‘well, you’ve always wanted to do something artistic. Here’s your chance.’ So I signed up for a dance course. Then my brother said, ‘there’s this acting activity?’ Then I went and did the acting and I loved and enjoyed it so much that I decided to pursue it as a career and the rest, as they say, is history.

Jason: Can you share an interesting story that happened to you since you began this career in acting?

Brigitte Millar: I remember, whilst I was a drama college, I used to do a bit of background work because I wanted to learn how things worked on set. I was on (Tim Burton’s) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and we were shooting a scene in a little butcher shop and it was so picturesque and pretty and it was so lovely, I thought, ‘gosh, this is really what I want to do for the rest of my life.’ And that was the moment when I really knew this is it! I found what I’m really looking for, and I found it so fascinating and interesting, and I loved it so much. I was soaking in the atmosphere, and you know, and the way people work and all the rest of it.

Jason: That must’ve been quite a big production for your first time, as most people in acting start small. Are you able to identify a tipping point in your career when you started to see success?

Brigitte Millar: I think what after I played Emmeline Vance in Harry Potter which looking back is a relatively small supporting role, but I was on set for 21 days, and it was a proper acting job and working with all the other professional actors who had  tons more experience than me. There was one particular actor who took me under his wing and  showed me the ropes and the little dos and don’ts. Being in Harry Potter is actually is quite something not everybody gets the opportunity to be in.

Jason: With that fandom there’s no such thing as a small role, it’s like Star Wars where even the smallest role becomes bigger than life. So how did your role in Spectre role come to you?

Brigitte Millar: My agent submitted me. The role is of a German scientist, so they wanted authentic German actresses for the role, and my agent submitted me because I am that. I was born and raised in Germany. At least part of a part of my life. I have spent part of my life here and then I got an audition and booked it. That was quite something,

Jason: I watched it again about a week ago. I watched the two of them, Spectre and No Time to Die, together.

Brigitte Millar: That’s the smart way to watch them because a lot of actors and a lot of people say you can’t really understand No Time to Die if you haven’t watched Spectre, but obviously that’s up to the individual if they want to do that. But I agree that’s the way to watch them.

Jason: Do you have any stories about that experience of making these movies?

Brigitte Millar: It was quite intimidating walking into that boardroom because this was a massive hall.

Jason: Yeah, it looks like something from The Godfather. It looks massive.

Brigitte Millar: It was massive. Everything looked really expensive and impressive, and it was quite intimidating. There were probably 150 or so people on set at any given time, including the extras and the background artists and the rest of it. For me to say my speech in front of 100-plus people was quite daunting.

D. Vogel (Brigitte Millar) sits at a large table while addressing a meeting held by Blofeld

Jason: No Time to Die has been out a few months now. What have you heard about the reaction?

Brigitte Millar: I’m sure you can imagine there are people that absolutely loved it. They said that they cried in the cinema when Bond was dying. And then there are the other people saying, ‘what, he’s dying!? He’s dead!?. Unbelievable, no, no, no. I can’t accept that. That is not in the tradition of the Bond movies.’ And they hated it, so you have the two camps; those who hated it and those who loved it.

Jason: I knew when I was watching it, there were going to be people who were going to love this, or they were going to hate it. I’m more in the love category. I thought it was a really daring move. Can you share three things that most excite you about being an actress?

Brigitte Millar: I think one of the things that excites me most is when I have taken on a new character in a project, and I’m preparing the scenes and the role and exploring the world of the character, learning the lines. It’s a little like slipping on a glove and you see how it fits and what it feels like. I find that really exciting.

Jason: Is there a character you’re most proud of portraying?

Brigitte Millar: Obviously, Dr. Vogel in these last two Bond movies is a great role. I love playing villainous characters. They always get the best lines, and you get the opportunity to show a completely different side of yourself. Also, the gang leader in Catherine in the Quiet Hour was very different because that was a sci-fi, and she’s quite a nasty character, so that was a part of myself to explore and see how I would handle that. That was really exciting and I enjoyed that.

Jason: What are your hobbies outside of acting?

Brigitte Millar: I like to keep fit and I like to do things like yoga and spin and things like that for myself. I love the arts, I love to go to museums and galleries, and I like meditation. I have a spiritual side to my personality. I like metaphysics and that sort of thing. That’s quite rewarding as well.

Jason: And you’re skilled in hand combat and weapons training, including sword fighting. What about that aspect of acting do you enjoy?

Brigitte Millar: I’ve done that. I think for most actors it’s quite good to have some weapons training because sooner or later it might come up. I find it interesting handling a gun, and obviously they’re not real guns, but they look and feel real. Firing a gun is quite strange feeling because you realize how much power it has. I have never handled a real gun in my entire life and I wouldn’t want to, but  I have a little more of an understanding of it’s power.

Jason: Do you have a favorite life lesson quote, and how is that relevant to you?

Brigitte Millar: I suppose for me, it was Antoine de Saint-Exupery who said “you are responsible for that which you have tamed.” and I find that when you have your family and your friends and your partner, husband, wife, those are people that you have let into your world, and they have let you into their world. And there is this special relationship, and I think that’s something precious and something to be valued and to be looked after and treasured. And I see that in professional relationships as well as in personal relationships. So honoring the relationship, valuing the relation, valuing the other person, honoring and respecting the other person, I think to me, is important in my professional life, as well as in my personal life.

Jason: Are there any exciting projects you’re working on you’d like to talk about?

Brigitte Millar: I’ve got several projects in the pipeline, but nothing’s really come to fruition. I’m still waiting to hear from producers and directors, but I have. Projects in the pipeline, some in the US and some in the UK, so I can’t wait to hear. I can’t wait to get started. Some interesting and exciting roles.

Brigitte Millar

Jason: What’s the best way for readers to follow you online?

Brigitte Millar: My website, and IMDB.

Jason: We touched upon the reaction to No Time to Die. Is there anything else you’d like to expand upon there?

Brigitte Millar: There’s the impact in the sense that he’s now dead, and that obviously puts a great big question mark over the franchise. Nobody really knows how things are going to come about if they are continuing. How are they going to continue? What are they going to do next? That’s  obviously I think the big question right now in the Bond community.

Jason: I assume I know the answer to this, but if they asked you to return, would you?

Brigitte Millar: You mean if she would be cloned and then come back like Dolly the Sheep? Yeah, absolutely. Why not? Anything can happen in these movies. Just out of curiosity, what’s your opinion? Have you any thoughts on what the next step could be?

Jason: I have a feeling they’re going to go much younger. I think they’re going to go back to Bond’s early years training for MI6. That’s my thoughts. I think that would be an interesting approach to the character, and they can get several movies out of that.

Brigitte Millar: Young Bond, we’ll see. I’m sure it’s going to be a few years.

Jason: I thought these last two movies were just wonderful. I’m a huge Sam Mendes fan ever since seeing American Beauty in the theater, I was completely knocked out by his skill.

Brigitte Millar: He’s quite amazing. He’s phenomenal. Not only that, but he gave me a lot of artistic freedom. I got one note from him and other than that he just left me the job. He’s wonderful with actors in general,

Jason: I hope you work with him again. Thank you for speaking with us, and I’m sure we’ll see you in more exciting projects,

Brigitte Millar: Thank you very much.

Written by Jason Sheppard

Entertainment reporter living at the end of very cold Canada. Proud owner of a diploma in journalism and just about every CD by John Williams ever released. Favorite directors are Spielberg, Scorsese, Kubrick, Tarantino, Fellini, Lynch and Fincher. Twin Peaks, Sopranos and Six Feet Under are the greatest TV dramas ever crafted and I love 90s sitcoms such as Spin City, Sports Night, Newsradio, Seinfeld and even that one with Deadpool working in the pizza place. Click linkies below to follow me.

Leave a Reply

Film Obsessive welcomes your comments. All submissions are moderated. Replies including personal attacks, spam, and other offensive remarks will not be published. Email addresses will not be visible on published comments.

A Mighty Wind’s A-Blowin’ Heartfelt Emotion

Marathon Man

“Is It Safe?” Marathon Man’s Interrogation Scene