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New Bond cast revealed with Monica Bellucci and Lea Seydoux taking leading roles

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The 24th James Bond film has been announced as Spectre, and with it, two new Bond girls, revealed as Monica Bellucci and Léa Seydoux.

The actresses, who will play Lucia Sciarra and Madeleine Swann respectively, had previously been tipped to join the cast, but it was only officially confirmed today at a launch event at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire by direct Sam Mendes. Filming begins next week, although no further information was given about their roles.

Léa, 29, was most recently in the international spotlight for her role in Blue Is The Warmest Colour, which won the Palme d'Or at Cannes. However, it was criticised by some for a perceived anti-feminist vibe and attracted attention for a graphic seven-minute long lesbian sex scene between Léa and co-star Adèle Exarchopoulos - a scene it was revealed took ten days to shoot.

Lea Seydoux

Blue is the Warmest Colour garnered Lea Seydoux international attention

Beginning her career in French cinema, she's also starred in Woody Allen’s 2011 Midnight In Paris alongside Owen Wilson, this year's The Grand Budapest Hotel and big budget films like Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol and Inglorious Basterds.

The French star has family in the business, with grandfather Jérôme Seydoux the chairman of film company Pathe and her mother Valérie Schlumberger a former actress, and so grew up around showbiz, counting rock star Mick Jagger and shoe designer Christian Louboutin as family friends.

Discussing the pressures of being a Bond girl, she told reporters she would approach the role her own way, saying: "You have to get rid of the pressure, you just have to invent something new."

Her new Italian co-star Monica has been in several Hollywood productions, including The Passion of the Christ and The Matrix Reloaded, as well as smaller arthouse films. By following in the footsteps of Halle Berry and Ursula Andress at the age of 50, the actress is also making history as the oldest Bond girl to join the cast.

Monica Bellucci

Monica Bellucci appeared in the Matrix films in 2003

When asked at the launch what makes a good Bond girl, Monica quipped, "A good director!"

The pair will appear alongside returning star Daniel Craig, who is embarking on his fourth Bond film as the titular spy, set to be released in October next year. Other new cast members include Sherlock's Andrew Scott and Guardians of the Galaxy's Dave Bautista, as well as Austrian actor Christoph Waltz, who has been seen in Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained. Ralph Fiennes as 'M' and Naomie Harris as Moneypenny also return.

Images: Rex Features

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