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The stunning femme fatale characters that have dominated recent and past films

Femme fatale characters have always been alluring to audiences around the world due to their mysterious, beautiful charm and deadly traps.

From Zoë Kravitz in The Batman to Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct they all have one thing in common – they are seductive women, yet clever, and often outwit their male counter parts.

Diane Kruger is an old school temptress as she embraces the role of a femme fatale in Marlowe, a moody film noir.

To honour the seductive character, FEMAIL looks back at some of the most memorable femme fatales throughout history…

Diane Kruger in Marlowe (2022)

Diane Kruger in her 2013 film The host. She is now starring in new moody film Marlowe as a detective who becomes embroiled in an investigation with a rich Californian family

In Marlowe, the detective becomes embroiled in an investigation with a rich Californian family residing in Bay City after Diane’s character Clare hires him to find her former lover.

The moody film is built around Philip Marlowe, the laconic private detective created by author Raymond Chandler and the film’s plot is adapted from The Black-Eyed Blonde book by novelist John Banville.

Diane co-stars alongside veterans such as Jessica Lange, who plays her mother, and Liam Neeson, who plays the detective she tries to seduce.

She described the role as ‘fun to play, mysterious and dangerous at times’, and said she was drawn to the old-Hollywood feel of the film’s setting of 1939 Los Angeles.

Speaking to Tatler she said: ‘Those femme fatale characters are always fun to play. For me, it’s kind of why I became an actor… I just think they are mysterious. They feel– I don’t know – dangerous at times.’

Denis Moschitto and Diane Kruger 'In The Fade' Film - 2017. Diane has told Tatler that she enjoys playing Femme Fatale characters

Denis Moschitto and Diane Kruger ‘In The Fade’ Film – 2017. Diane has told Tatler that she enjoys playing Femme Fatale characters 

Even though Diane plays the Femme fatale character in the new flick, which was released on December 3, she see’s her co-star Jessica as the real intimidating and alluring presence

Even though Diane plays the Femme fatale character in the new flick, which was released on December 3, she see’s her co-star Jessica as the real intimidating and alluring presence

‘I love that old-Hollywood feel, you’re on those movie sets, everything’s beautiful and those costumes and old cars… It just feels like you’re in a movie.’

Even though Diane plays the Femme fatale character in the new flick, which was released on December 3, she see’s her co-star Jessica as the real intimidating and alluring presence.

Speaking to El Pais she said: ‘With Jessica Lange, she really intimidated me. There is something about her that makes you see her as the primordial femme fatale. You can’t not feel her presence.’

‘If you were in a room with 100 supermodels and Jessica Lange entered, you wouldn’t be able to stop looking at her.’

Zoë Kravitz in The Batman (2022)

Zoë Kravitz played Catwoman - also known as Selina Kyle - in this year's The Batman, which featured Robert Pattinson as the Caped Crusader

Zoë Kravitz played Catwoman – also known as Selina Kyle – in this year’s The Batman, which featured Robert Pattinson as the Caped Crusader

To ensure she nailed the part of the seductive feline-inspired woman, she opted to use an unusual process to help her find and develop her character, which she revealed in March on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

To ensure she nailed the part of the seductive feline-inspired woman, she opted to use an unusual process to help her find and develop her character, which she revealed in March on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

Zoë Kravitz played Catwoman – also known as Selina Kyle – in this year’s The Batman, which featured Robert Pattinson as the Caped Crusader. 

To ensure she nailed the part of the seductive feline-inspired woman, she opted to use an unusual process to help her find and develop her character, which she revealed in March on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

While thinking of ways he would have approached the role of Catwoman, host Jimmy Fallon turned to his guest and revealed he would ‘study cats’ and ‘drink milk out of a bowl.’ 

Kravitz wasted little time and confessed, ‘I did that,’ for which Fallon replied back back, ‘You did not,’ but she insisted, ‘I did.’

The host reiterated, ‘You drank milk out of a bowl?’, but this time Kravitz got a little cheeky and replied, ‘Maybe,’ before adding, ‘I’m method, dude!’ which is a reference to method acting.

In preparation for the role, she studied cats, which included their movements, tendencies, and overall personalities.

‘I watched a bunch of cat videos, feline videos, watching them fight. And what I was so interested by was the fact that you can’t read their face at all, which is why I think people are kind of creeped out by them,’ she explained to Fallon.

‘You can’t tell what they’re going to do,’ the actress said of the feline species as a whole.

Fallon and Kravitz then proceeded to describe how cats have the ability to show loving affection and then go into attack mode, very quickly.

‘They go, ‘”Oh my gosh Kitty loves me”, Fallon said, in a role playing exchange of how humans react to cats, for which Kravitz interjects, ‘Then all of of a sudden Kitty scratches your face out.’

‘They don’t care,’ Kravitz said in her overall description of cats’ personalities.

‘They were the hardest thing to control during the shooting. We were doing like, crazy stunts, and like, all that was fine. But then, like, getting a cat to stay in one place – impossible.’

The daughter of actress Lisa Bonet and rocker Lenny Kravitz went on to share about how she was encouraged to make a connection with what would be Selina’s cats in the movie.

Ana de Armas in No Time To Die (2021)

Ana de Armas was praised by viewers after playing the role of CIA agent Paloma in No Time to Die, Daniel Craig's final film as James Bond

Ana de Armas was praised by viewers after playing the role of CIA agent Paloma in No Time to Die, Daniel Craig’s final film as James Bond

Prior to the production's release, she declared her character would be the most 'bada**' Bond girl in the film franchise's 59-year history

Prior to the production’s release, she declared her character would be the most ‘bada**’ Bond girl in the film franchise’s 59-year history

She told The Sun: 'Paloma is a really complete character. She's definitely something else that I don't think we've seen in other Bond girls in previous movies. She's a lot of fun — very active, very bada**.'

She told The Sun: ‘Paloma is a really complete character. She’s definitely something else that I don’t think we’ve seen in other Bond girls in previous movies. She’s a lot of fun — very active, very bada**.’

Ana de Armas was praised by viewers after playing the role of CIA agent Paloma in No Time to Die, Daniel Craig’s final film as James Bond.

Prior to the production’s release, she declared her character would be the most ‘bada**’ Bond girl in the film franchise’s 59-year history.

She told The Sun: ‘Paloma is a really complete character. She’s definitely something else that I don’t think we’ve seen in other Bond girls in previous movies. She’s a lot of fun — very active, very bada**.’

However, in March 2020, she told Vanity Fair of her initial fears of portraying an ‘unrelatable’ woman in the spy film.

The Cuban-born actress explained her reservations about taking the part, saying: ‘Obviously I was jumping all over the place and very excited. 

‘But I needed to be sure it wouldn’t jeopardise all the work I’d been putting in, that it wouldn’t ruin everything. And the Bond women have always been, for me at least, unrelatable.’

However fans applauded her role, with many saying they hoped that she will return to reprise the character in future films.

Gal Gadot in Red Notice (2021) 

Ryan Reynolds, Gal Gadot and Dwayne Johnson in the 2021 film Red Notice. Gadot (middle) played the role of The Bishop

Ryan Reynolds, Gal Gadot and Dwayne Johnson in the 2021 film Red Notice. Gadot (middle) played the role of The Bishop 

Gadot (pictured) told Cosmo.ph that she was excited to play the villainous and cheeky character

Gadot (pictured) told Cosmo.ph that she was excited to play the villainous and cheeky character 

Gal Gadot, 37, is best known for her role in the 2017 blockbuster film Wonder Woman.

The Israeli actor and model played the role of The Bishop in 2021’s Red Notice, starring alongside Ryan Reynolds and Dwayne Johnson. 

Fans praised her role as the main antagonist of the action-comedy film, with many saying that she ‘carried’ it and she was the ‘only reason’ they decided to watch the film. 

She told Cosmo.ph in 2021 that she intrigued to be able to play a different character from what she is used to. 

She said: ‘She’s villainous, cheeky, and always a few steps ahead of the boys. She has this charm that I really, really liked.’ 

Although, in the interview she later revealed that it wasn’t an easy task to get into character and perform all those impressive stunts, saying that she had she prepare and work hard. 

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Red Notice director Rawson Marshall Thurber admitted that he was surprised by Gadot’s athleticism.

Gadot, in Versace and Stillettos, outshines Reynolds and Johnson in the pivotal fight scene.

Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct (1992)

Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct with Michael Douglas. She played the part of the film's main antagonist Catherine Tramell

Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct with Michael Douglas. She played the part of the film’s main antagonist Catherine Tramell 

Sharon Stone in 1992 film Basic Instinct. The actress later revealed in her memoir that it was this role that nearly broke her

Sharon Stone in 1992 film Basic Instinct. The actress later revealed in her memoir that it was this role that nearly broke her 

Known for primarily playing femme fatales and women of mystery on film and television, Sharon Stone became one of the most popular sex symbols of the 1990s.

In 1992 the American actor took the role of Catherine Tramell in the film Basic Instinct and later its sequel Basic Instinct 2.  

Stone told Instyle: ‘I was 32 when I got the part of Catherine Tramell in Basic Instinct. 

‘It was probably as late as you could be in your career without a big break. But from the moment I read the script, I knew I was the right person for the role.’

Basic Instinct was Stone’s 18th film, after starring in low rate films and TV shows.  

However, she later revealed in her memoir that it would be this role of Catherine Tramell that would nearly break her.  

She wrote: ‘I can say that the role was by far the most stretching that I had ever done in terms of considering the dark side of myself.

‘It was terrifying. I had walked in my sleep three times during production, twice waking fully dressed in my car in my garage. I had hideous nightmares.’

Sean Young in Blade Runner (1982)

Known for her roles in the sci-fi genre, Sean Young, 63, most notable role was in the 1982 hit film Blade Runner

Known for her roles in the sci-fi genre, Sean Young, 63, most notable role was in the 1982 hit film Blade Runner

A 22-year-old Young played the part of Rachael, the replicant love interest of Harrison Ford's character Rick Deckard in 1982's Blade Runner.

A 22-year-old Young played the part of Rachael, the replicant love interest of Harrison Ford’s character Rick Deckard in 1982’s Blade Runner.

Young revealed that she has never thought of herself as strong-willed but admitted to making men nervous in the 1980s

Young revealed that she has never thought of herself as strong-willed but admitted to making men nervous in the 1980s

Known for her roles in the sci-fi genre, Sean Young’s, 63, most notable role was in the 1982 hit film Blade Runner. 

A 22-year-old Young played the part of Rachael, the replicant love interest of Harrison Ford’s character Rick Deckard in 1982’s Blade Runner. 

NME reported in 2021 that the American actor alleged that the film’s aggressive love scene between her and Ford was the result of her turning down Scott’s advances.

Rachael will for ever be Young’s defining role, but she had, for a time, a full career beyond it. 

For much of the 80s, Young was a bona fide movie star, a poised brunette with a fragile edge. 

In 2021, Young told the Daily Beast she ‘did make men nervous, and for no particular reason.’

In the same interview she said that she didn’t think of herself as strong-willed.

Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard (1950) 

Gloria Swanson, (pictured) is known for her portrayal of 'Norma Desmond' in the widely praised 1950's flick Sunset Boulevard

Gloria Swanson, (pictured) is known for her portrayal of ‘Norma Desmond’ in the widely praised 1950’s flick Sunset Boulevard

Gloria Swanson was 50-years-old when she played the character of Norma. This would be her comeback role

Gloria Swanson was 50-years-old when she played the character of Norma. This would be her comeback role 

Gloria Swanson and William Holden in Sunset Boulevard. Swanson later admitted that she felt she was in the shadow of her character

Gloria Swanson and William Holden in Sunset Boulevard. Swanson later admitted that she felt she was in the shadow of her character 

Gloria Swanson, known for her portrayal of ‘Norma Desmond’ in the widely praised 1950’s flick Sunset Boulevard that won her a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award nomination. 

The actor and producer, who died in 1983, played the part of Norma a former silent-film star who draws a struggling screenwriter into her demented fantasy world, where she dreams of making a triumphant return to the screen.

It was this role that was Swanson’s big comeback role in 1950 at the age of 50. She wrote in her memoir: ‘I had a huge specter in the spotlight with me, she was about ten feet tall, and her name was Norma Desmond.’

In Norma’s shadow Swanson admitted to vulnerable during filming, saying that she was creeped out during the filming of the famous waxworks bridge scene with other silent stars.  

But this did not last long and later raved: ‘I am big. It’s the pictures that got small.’

Not content to play garish versions of Norma for the rest of her life, Swanson claims to have deliberately diversified. 

She exhibited her paintings and spent time as a celebrity journalist in Europe, even covering the 1956 wedding of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier of Monaco.

‘Life is a constant surprise to me, and each morning I wake up and say, “What now, God?”,’ Swanson once said.

Gene Tierney in Leave Her to Heaven (1946) 

Leave Her to Heaven is a 1946 American psychological thriller film noir melodrama directed by John M. Stahl and starring Gene Tierney (pictured)

Leave Her to Heaven is a 1946 American psychological thriller film noir melodrama directed by John M. Stahl and starring Gene Tierney (pictured)

The film followed the story of socialite Ellen Berent's obsessive and possessive love for novelist Richard Harland

The film followed the story of socialite Ellen Berent’s obsessive and possessive love for novelist Richard Harland

A 26-year-old Gene Tierney played the part of Ellen Berent Harland, for which she as nominated for an Oscar

A 26-year-old Gene Tierney played the part of Ellen Berent Harland, for which she as nominated for an Oscar

Leave Her to Heaven is a 1946 American psychological thriller film noir melodrama directed by John M. Stahl and starring Gene Tierney, Cornel Wilde, Jeanne Crain, and Vincent Price. 

A 26-year-old Gene Tierney played the part of Ellen Berent Harland, for which she as nominated for an Oscar. 

The film followed the story of socialite Ellen Berent’s obsessive and possessive love for novelist Richard Harland. 

During the time that Tierney was filming the thriller, her love life was very much in the spotlight, including reported relationships with the likes of Kirk Douglas and marriage to fashion designer Oleg Cassini.

It was her role in Leave Her to Heaven that prompted her to say in an interview that playing murderess made her feel ‘mentally unbalanced,’ although she was a ‘naturally happy person.’  

Barbara Stanwyck in Double Indemnity (1944)

Barbara Stanwyck was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role as Phyllis Dietrichson in Double Indemnity

Barbara Stanwyck was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role as Phyllis Dietrichson in Double Indemnity 

Stanwyck was 32 when she took the part and reportedly was hesitant to accept due to the scandalous nature of her character

Stanwyck was 32 when she took the part and reportedly was hesitant to accept due to the scandalous nature of her character

Double Indemnity is the 1944 film about a Los Angeles insurance representative who lets an alluring housewife seduce him into a scheme of insurance fraud and murder that arouses the suspicion of his colleague, an insurance investigator.

Barbara Stanwyck was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role as Phyllis Dietrichson. 

The character Phyllis is considered as one of the best femme fatale characters of all time. 

Stanwyck was 32 when she took the part and reportedly was hesitant to accept due to the scandalous nature of her character.

She reportedly told author Kevin Lally: ‘I said “I love the script and I love you, but I am a little afraid after all these years of playing heroines to go into an out-and-out killer.”‘

However, when director Billy Wilder asked her if she was ‘a mouse of an actress’ she showed him what she was made of. 

And then the next year, she portrayed the title tragic femme fatale in The Strange Love of Martha Ivers. 

She garnered her fourth Oscar nomination for her performance as an invalid wife in the noir-thriller Sorry, Wrong Number (1948).

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk



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