Though her birthday is disputed, The Other Wiki cites it as being November 5, 1965, and Janssen was born in the Netherlands. Despite being Dutch, Famke also speaks English and French, as evidenced by her acting career. Despite this, her early career was that of a model, after a failed attempt at an economics degree in Amsterdam (described by the actress as one of her stupidest moves), and she also produced several TV commercials. Finally, in the 1990s, she moved into acting. Several almost B-Movie-level roles passed, including one with Jeff Goldblum, before she obtained a role in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, "The Perfect Mate". This was quickly followed by a role in the Clive Barker adaptation Lord Of Illusions.
Despite the potential pitfall of being a Bond Girl (there is talk of the curse that condemns many an actress' career, as seen with the output of over 50 percent of the actresses in the series after their Bond role), Janssen was savvy enough to not carve out an acting career based solely on blockbusters. After Deep Rising, she established herself as a talented indie actress, though she was notable for appearing in the creepy remake of House on Haunted Hill. She then appeared in the three X-Men movies as Jean Grey, widely accepted as a decent portrayal of the character, despite the screwover she got during the Last Stand — When X2 clearly sets up the Dark Phoenix Saga, perhaps the most famed story from the comics.
Since then, Janssen has been notable for playing transsexual life coach Ava Moore in Nip Tuck and for her ((finally!!)) leading roles in movies such as 100 Feet and Turn The River, as well as a role opposite Liam Neeson in the Luc Besson movie Taken. Surprisingly, she was one of the few people he did not 'find and kill'.
She provides examples of:
- Action Girl: Famke occasionally plays this, in films like Deep Rising and I Spy. Not so much these days.
- Card-Carrying Villain: Again, Xenia. Phoenix, and her snippy bitch-wife in House on Haunted Hill.
- Dark Action Girl: Memorably done and carrying on the Bond series tradition with Xenia Onatopp.
- Death by Sex: She famously kills with her thighs in Goldeneye, and it's somewhat played with in X3, where she pretty much kisses Cyclops to death.
- Distressed Damsel: Almost always subverted, except in 100 Feet, where there's pretty much no-one around to help her anyway. It helps Famke usually plays darker or somewhat tougher characters than the average Hollywood actress.
- Every One Remembers the Stripper: Famke's role as Xenia Onatopp from Goldeneye is still her best known, even fifteen years and a whole bunch of great films later.
- Fan Service: Her character in Goldeneye kills during sex. She has has the oligatory sex scene in a number of her movies.
- Femme Fatale: A couple of her roles, including the Phoenix, Xenia Onatopp, and her character in the remake of House on Haunted Hill, although she's a bit too snippy and snarky, and is nasty even in death.
- Foot Focus: In her movie Love and Sex, opposite then-future Iron Man director John Favreau, specific mention is made of Famke's size eleven feet. Some say they're actually larger, and there is an online group desperate to get a good shot of Famke's soles, which are surprisingly elusive.
- Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: A number of her characters do it, most notably in her smaller roles, but Onatopp in Goldeneye gets cigars.
- Lady in Red: Her first appearance in Goldeneye, the smoking number she wears throughout House on Haunted Hill, and the outfit she wore as Dark Phoenix in The Last Stand.
- Older Than They Look: According to The Other Wiki, she's nearly 50. She could pass for a woman in her late 20s.
- One of Us: After the first X-Men movie, Famke did a lot of research on her character and read up on the Dark Phoenix Saga, hoping that the story would eventually take place in the movies. It took 2 years for Famke to finally speak out against The Last Stand and she was understandably pissed that her character's role was so diminished.
- Sensible Heroes, Skimpy Villains: Played straight and subverted across Famke's career. Onatopp has a mixture of these, including her more modest leather military gear and the suit on the train, but then also has the lingerie, cleavage-revealing dress, and that robe. Jean Grey has a full leather bodysuit, but beyond that, Famke's characters are a little more average.
- Statuesque Stunner: Janssen stands 5'11/180 cm tall.
- What Could Have Been: She was cast as Serleena (the alien who disguises herself as an underwear model) in Men in Black II, but had to drop out due to a death in the family.
- Woman in Black: Many of her roles: nearly every outfit in Goldeneye (except the white robe pictured above), Jean Grey's leather suit, and the Spy Catsuit in I Spy.