The former Bond girl, who will be seen shortly in Gone Girl with Ben Affleck, says she feels uncomfortable, “because people think I have walked into this profession through connections and looks.”

She reckons that people sometimes assume her success has been easily earned, “and it’s not f****** easy," she tells the Telegraph.

"I don’t have connections. And I didn’t have parents, or a social set, who had anything to do with the film industry,” she said.

The actress first came to public attention in Die Another Day at the age of 21. She later starred in Pride and Prejudice, An Education and more recently, Jack Reacher.

The actress's ‘very clever partner’ of six years is Robie Uniacke, a mathematical researcher,18 years her senior. 

Her parents are opera singers who raised her in a flat in Earl’s Court before she won a scholarship to badminton school, in Bristol. She subsequently studied at Oxford, temping to pay her fees. “As an actress I never thought I’d be earning any money,” she said.