M.   /   December 09, 2007   /   19 Comments

BY COLIN BERTRAM

Saturday, December 8th 2007, 4:00 AM

‘Do you mind if I smoke?”

Not your typical opening line, but then again, Eva Green is not your typical young actress. Sure she’s gorgeous and her star is rapidly ascending. But Green’s Gallic air – she was born and raised in Paris, France – comes across not as being arrogant, but as self-assured and confident.

Wearing a black designer suit with her long dark hair pulled back and tucked under, Green, 27, leans forward on the edge of the couch, ready to discuss her role as the witch Serafina Pekkala in the big-budget fantasy epic, “The Golden Compass,” which opened Friday.

While she may not yet be a household name, her sexy, sultry looks and soft accent are known to millions following her star turns in “The Dreamers,” “Kingdom of Heaven” and as Vesper Lynd, who melts James Bond’s heart in 2006’s “Casino Royale.”

As Serafina, Green’s role is that of a guide to the film’s audience. An ages-old good witch who knows of the prophecy concerning the main character, Lyra Bellacqua (Dakota Blue Richards), Serafina threads the story together across all three installments. It’s an important role for an actress who had no prior knowledge of the books.

“They approached me for the part about a year ago and gave [me] the script,” says Green. “And it was quite difficult on the page to actually understand the story. They told me that I should read the books and that it is a trilogy [Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials”]. I fell in love with them.”

A love that made her eventual meeting with the author that much more daunting.

“I saw him twice before shooting and was scared a bit. He came to my trailer and it was all, ‘This is Philip Pullman,’ and I was worried that he would think that I was not the Serafina he imagined. But he is a very sweet man – like a college master, a teacher, very knowlegeable.”

For “Compass” director Chris Weitz, there was never any doubt as to who should play Serafina. “She was the first person I thought of for that part,” says Weitz. “There is something that distinguishes Eva from the rest of the actresses of her age. I don’t think she is very interested in being a movie star. I don’t think she grew up wanting to be a big star in Hollywood. And that really makes an impression on the screen.

“She obviously has a tremendous amount of physical grace and poise that makes her perfect for the character. There is something about the lack of concern with earthly matters that you get off of Eva.”

Green, who now resides in London, has a fraternal twin sister. Her father is a Swedish-born dentist, and her mother is Marlene Jobert, a French-Algerian writer of children’s books very different from “His Dark Materials.”

“I gave [my mother] the books [after I got the part],” says Green. “She said how grown-up the story was and that it is quite scary for children. She was very impressed. She enjoyed it, and I think she like the daemons” – human souls manifesting themselves in the form of companion animals.

Lighting a second cigarette, Green is still keyed up from the previous week’s wrap of her next cinematic project.

“I just finished a new movie called ‘Franklyn,’ a low-budget movie, completely crazy, with first-time director Gerald McMorrow and starring Ryan Phillippe. It’s about three characters who are lost souls – very tormented, schizophrenic – but quite funny, too. I play two characters who are very opposite. One is a very dark artist and the other one is very full of life, good sense of humor.”

Looking ahead, if “Compass” is the worldwide hit its studio is hoping for, the remaining two chapters of the saga – “The Subtle Knife” and “The Amber Spyglass” – would go into production late next year with a schedule requiring back-to-back filming, says Green.

Is Green worried that changes made for the movies will anger fans of the novels?

“You can’t be completely true to the books, otherwise audiences would be in the cinema for weeks!” she says with a grin. “We have to treat it as a different piece. The religion is quite diluted in the first one, but as it goes on, I think they can’t really avoid it because that’s what it is – it’s all about God. So, good luck to the studio with Book 3!”

Source: NY Daily News

19 Responses to “Eva Green guides ‘Golden Compass’”
  1. Lola Says:

    There are several new clips/interviews incl. Eva at http://youtube.com/results?search_type=search_videos&search_query=eva%20green%20the%20golden%20compass&search_sort=video_date_uploaded&search_category=0&search=Search&v=&uploaded=

  2. George Says:

    “…Marlene Jobert a French-Algerian writer of children books…”. The interviewer has lost some episodes. I hope Marlene never read it…

  3. Tom Says:

    Got my copy of TGC, not impressed and unfortunately it will probably be a box office flop.

  4. George Says:

    Tom according to IMDBpro Moviemeter, TGC is first in the box office this week with an opening of $26.1 million (!) the past weekend. This is good news as the sequel -where Eva has a more significant part- becomes more probable…

  5. Tom Says:

    Yes, but the problem is that they were hoping for an absolute minimum 30 million and more importantly, anyone in America who has any interest in seeing the movie probably has done so (with few exceptions). While the US has embraced Tolkien and Harry Potter, the vast majority of Americans have never heard of Philip Pullman before now and even then it is in a negative light. Regardless of what you think his books mean, he has a reputation here of an Atheist pushing an anti-Christian agenda.

    The reviews I have read are all indicating it is an average movie if not poor, with little vested interest in the characters. While people love to see what Nicole Kidman is up to in her personal life, neither she, nor Daniel Craig is remotely a box office draw in the US, and Eva is pretty much a non-entity in the States. We are also having a Hollywood writer’s strike. That means that the cast does not have the opportunity to visit all the talk shows and promote the film since the tv hosts are all honoring the picket lines.

    I have also read estimates that TGC will need to record receipts of 300 – 500 million to break even, after the cost of the movie, royalties, advertising and the theater’s profits. I read this morning that this movie might cost the head of New Line Cinema his job.

    That all being said, only time will tell whether the movie will be a success.

  6. Monique Says:

    Tom: You’re right…TGC didn’t make much noise here in the Philippines, not enough publicity and, well, no one even knows Eva here, except for me and probably less than a handful of people I’ve never met…in fact, when I watched it in the cinema, the theater wasn’t even half-full…and that’s not good, considering the enormous budget they used on the film and the time and effort spent on it…

    Additional: there was an article in the newspaper saying thing like “Golden Compass drags…and disappoints,” and that it was “visually elaborate, but cold to the touch” and things like that…
    Fortunately our Ms. Green is not directly in the line of fire…there was just one picture of her flying over the treetops (which is not new, but if you like I can scan it and upload, but unfortunately I don’t know how to…I’m lousy when it comes to stuff like that), and a mention of her playing Serafina Pekkala…and I think that those who weren’t able to read the book found it hard to understand the film

    P.S. I found an issue of the American Cinematographer with a pic of Eva and Daniel, with a little piece on how they shot the palazzo scene (again, if you want to see it, you’ll have to tell me how to upload it, bec. I absolutely suck at that stuff…anyway, it’s not new, it’s the one where Vesper refused to give Bond the money)

  7. George Says:

    Tom you may be right regarding the US audience. However, things could be worse for TGC with a poor opening.

  8. George Says:

    Monique: In this scene I think Vesper refused to give the key of the elevator-cage…

  9. Tango_down Says:

    George & Monique :
    I don’t understand your versions she was in this elevator-cage because they locked her up there, she didn’t have any key, otherwise she wouldn’t have stayed indoors during all the action, she would have had a certain masochistic tendency.
    She rather gave me impression to lock a mechanism so Bond could not force the opening of the gate.
    But anyway that’s not very important, it’s just that I didn’t see any key in this scene

  10. Tango_down Says:

    Sorry, I have just watched the scene again there is really a key and it was the portal of the elevator that was condemned by a chain.
    You see I didn’t pay attention to all these details, or it’s because I forgot the movie

  11. Monique Says:

    No, sorry, guys…should have made my message clearer…
    A small part of the article was about how they shot the palazzo scene…but the pic of Eva and Daniel was the one where the two of them were arguing on the balcony…wait a minute, where is it?

    Ahh..here..

    http://evagreenweb.com/gallery/displayimage.php?album=247&pos=14

    Only the one I saw in the American Cinematographer was bigger.

  12. George Says:

    Tango_down: The essence is in the details. For example, have you ever noticed in the “Dreamers”, in the kitchen scene where Matthew and Isabelle make love, that the toe of Matthew is revealed from his sock’s hole? (pure Bertolucci…). Thanks again for your kind translation of Marlene Jobert’s interview.

  13. Tom Says:

    I Am Legend has doubled Golden Compass in one weekend!!

    1 N I Am Legend WB $76,535,000 – 3,606 – $21,224 $76,535,000 – 1
    2 N Alvin and the Chipmunks Fox $45,000,000 – 3,475 – $12,949 $45,000,000 $60 1
    3 1 The Golden Compass NL $9,025,000 -65.0% 3,528 – $2,558 $40,968,000 $180 2

    Even Alvin and the Chipmunks has earned more!!! 🙁

    http://boxofficemojo.com/weekend/chart/?yr=2007&wknd=50&p=.htm

  14. Tom Says:

    Phew!!! I just checked some more, these are domestic US receipts. So far, worldwide TGC has done 130 million!! 🙂

  15. Monique Says:

    Tom: good detective work, Sherlock!

  16. George Says:

    Tom you impressed us with your search! Regarding the other movies you are undoubtedly right to be sceptic with the TGC opening. With the new data do you still think that it will hardly break even or the numbers seem more favourable now? I think that the theaters is just one source of income for the studio because I see so many goodies, toys electronic games with TGC in the shops. Besides, I think that it doesn’t open in Australia and Japan yet. Maybe the glass is half full than half empty and we can hope that NL will film part II…

  17. Tom Says:

    There is no doubt that it will be a bigger hit overseas (no offense meant, it’s just easier to say overseas than to say everywhere but the US :)). I haven’t really seen too many toys out in the stores here. I am sure the DVD will also bring in revenue. It’s just at this time, with the writer’s strike the movie won’t get the timely benefit of the late night talk circuit (and we won’t get to see Eva making the rounds :()

    The one site stated that the studios get about 55% of the revenue back, so TGC would have to make between 3 and 4 hundred million worldwide to break even. Then we would have to see whether the studio was happy with the final return on investment.

    Chris Weitz has taken A LOT of criticism over what the finished product has been vs. expectations. Nobody seems to be overly happy. To some, it wasn’t commercial enough, while others think it wasn’t true enough to the books.

    It’s just too difficult to predict what the studio will want to do in regards to the last two books.

  18. Monique Says:

    sorry, I don’t know much about these things, but didn’t TGC cost 180 million to make? and it’s done about 130 million worldwide?…ummm…missing 50 million?

  19. George Says:

    Thank you Tom for the fruitful info.
    Monique the 130 miliion is the gross revenues, so according to Tom the 55% of the revenues can be considered as studio’s income (the rest is for distributors, theaters etc). Hope NL will see the second book as a challenge.