Running free: Sebastien Foucan – the Bond villain who ‘Lived Another Day’
There are not many Bond villains who survive to tell the tale of their encounter with 007.
Sebastien Foucan is neither shaken nor stirred, although that’s more than can be said for his character “Mollaka” — who was blown to smithereens by Daniel Craig in the 2006 epic “Casino Royale.”
Foucan has proved even more elusive than the acrobatic bomb-maker he portrayed in the villages of Madagascar, where he vaulted through jungle and a construction site, leaping perilously off buildings and cranes.
Rather than “Die Another Day,” the career of Foucan — known as the founder of free running and a developer of its close relative Parkour — has taken off in a way he never dreamed of.
“Being in the James Bond movie was just amazing,” the Frenchman tells CNN’s Human to Hero series. “It was fantastic working on a big stage, fighting James Bond and having the helicopter shoot everything.
“Knowing that I’ve never done any acting, I didn’t plan to be in a movie like this. It was just fantastic.
“For the discipline, I think it was a big platform and I think it just made free running bigger and bigger.
“It keeps growing. I worked with Madonna on her ‘Confession’ tour and my life changed at this point because I went from being a free runner, an ambassador, to something even bigger.”
Foucan has come a long way since running around Paris as a teenager with the likes of Parkour founder David Belle.
Parkour — which is taken from the French word “parcours” meaning “route” or “course” — consists of being able to “move freely over and through any terrain using only the abilities of the body, principally through running, jumping, climbing and quadrupedal movement.”
Foucan, while a keen student of Parkour in his teens, believed that the discipline was far too narrow and lacked a spiritual aspect.
Instead, he created a fusion of the art — taking Parkour and a new philosophical approach to bring about free running.
“It’s a lifestyle,” he says. “There is no beginning, no middle and no end. It is part of my life.
“It’s like a bird. When a bird wakes up, it’s a bird, it’s flying, and for me it’s exactly the same thing.
In 2003, Foucan finally decided to break away from Parkour after performing in London, where he now resides.
His belief that “all the world is a playground” gives him a feeling of freedom which he treasures.
“Parkour at the beginning was very one-dimensional,” he says.
“It was very A to B, ‘we shouldn’t do this, we shouldn’t do that,’ which doesn’t work for me as an artist.
“I really feel like I want to express myself. I don’t want to have any limitations.
“Free running is known as using the environment and expressing yourself — which means you can do anything you feel. It’s part of you.
“You can do flips, tricks, swing, anything which is creative and feels beautiful — it’s more my way. It’s freedom of expression for me.”
While most of us would simply walk around our city or neighborhood by using the sidewalk, such an idea is almost alien to Foucan.
If there is a slope to slide down or a wall to run up, then he needs no invitation to perform some of the moves witnessed in that breathless sequence where he runs from Bond.
“As soon as I get outside, my mindset turns to free running,” he explains.
“I use the whole environment and instead of just following a straight path, I do my own way of going outside.
“If it’s just to jump, to perform, you have to be really focused on what you’re going to do, where you’re going to put your step, on your technique also because the surface is completely different.
“It can be metal, it can be concrete and there are so many elements — sometimes you can have also people coming and walking past.
“You need to pay attention and that’s what you’re thinking about before you do a single move.”