Scottish actor Robbie Coltrane stars as Valentin Dmitrovich Zukovsky in the James Bond film 'The World Is Not Enough', 1999. (Photo by Keith Hamshere/Getty Images)
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Robbie Coltrane Gave The James Bond Franchise One Of Its Best Frenemies
In one of the film's lighter scenes in 1995’s “Golden Eye,” James Bond has a meeting with an ex-KGB-member-turned-Russian gangster named Valentin Zukovsky, played by the late, great Robbie Coltrane. Zukovsky's first scene is a masterclass of character introduction as he strides confidently into his own nightclub, while a trio of cabaret girls rehearses on stage.
Zukovsky is a character audiences actually believe had a pre-existing relationship with Bond, prior to his scenes. He was mostly written to be a cliché — he is merely a Russian gangster who points James Bond toward the next step in his quest — but Coltrane was eager to let the character have a little more pizazz.
He returned two films later in Michael Apted's "The World is Not Enough," with Coltrane upping the character's charm quotient and expanding him into a wonderful, capable badass. "The World is Not Enough" also features Zukovsky in action, and he's seen striding confidently through a violent gunfight, walking with a cane, and casually offing foes.