M.   /   December 09, 2007   /   3 Comments

9 December 2007

From Bond girl to witch queen, in the upcoming $180m Golden Compass, Eva Green certainly knows how to cast a spell. In a candid interview she talks about fame, frocks and four-letter words

GASPING FOR a fag and with a little dog nibbling at her ankles, Eva Green is doing a rubbish job of promoting her new film.

‘My part is not really big, big in this one,’ the French actress says in her mellifluous but clipped English. She’s talking, distractedly, about The Golden Compass, the Hollywood blockbuster adaptation of Northern Lights, the first book in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. Green plays Serafina Pekkala, the flying witch queen who comes to the rescue of adolescent heroine Lyra Belacqua. But as Green is yet to see the film, she’s unable, or unwilling, to talk at length about it.

Lyra first encounters Serafina on page 302 of the prize-winning, 399-page book. Pullman describes her as having ‘a voice so like the high wild singing of the aurora itself that Lyra could hardly hear the sense for the sweet sound of it.’

‘Eva,’ I ask, ‘how do you “act” that?’

Green laughs and lets out a wineglass-shattering squeal. She sounds less like an aurora-aping witch-diva than that bloke out of the Darkness. ‘Of course I can’t do that,’ Green says of Serafina’s voice. ‘How can you do that? It’s all my presence and my acting,’ she purrs, sarkily, before acknowledging that, yes, however, in the film she does do a lot of flying – even though she’s no fan of heights – and can now use a bow and arrow with some aplomb. ‘I talk in like a Norwegian/Rrrrrussian accent,’ she adds, rolling her Rs Slavonically, ‘something like that.’

Is she in the film more than her character is in the book?

‘Me? No, not much! It’s a strong character because she is helping Lyra, and more like the mother to Lyra than Mrs Coulter (played by Nicole Kidman). She’s teaching her a lot of things like – I’m gonna sound terrible – but how to love and things like that.’

And what about Lord Asriel – a towering but largely background figure in Northern Lights, played in the film by a beardy Daniel Craig – is he in the film more? ‘They’ve made his part very important because he’s Daniel. But Serafina is a strong character who becomes bigger in the second book. So, yeah,’ Green laughs… ‘why am I doing this interview now?’

Well, because she says things like that. Because in The Golden Compass, a film bristling with armoured bears and ‘daemons’ and weaponised zeppelins and arctic wastelands and heroic acting from Kidman and Craig, ice-cool, Kohl-eyed Green is the thing you watch. No wonder Pullman’s story has been tweaked to get her onscreen a lot earlier.

Of her participation in The Golden Compass, Green says bluntly: ‘It’s quite prestigious. It’s a witch – that’s quite cool! I feel like a little girl. I loved the books, they’re beautiful. The third one, The Amber Spyglass, the land of the dead and the harpies…’ she sighs appreciatively. Then, the shrug again. ‘And I had no scripts, and you need to work.’

How does she feel that the all-powerful and sinister Magisterium is no longer just a religious entity, as it is in the book, but a more general authoritative body? That the atheistic sentiment of Pullman – a vocal opponent of the Christian doctrine within CS Lewis’s Narnia chronicles – has been watered down?

‘That’s a real tricky question,’ Green says slowly. ‘Because it’s a book, and we’re trying to reach a big audience, I don’t know how they’re gonna treat it. I know the Magisterium is present…’ She stops. ‘I don’t think I want to talk about it. But it is present. But it’s a very tricky subject and I’m not very good at talking about the…’ Another halt. Green would rather admit she’s unsure than blather platitudes and generalities. ‘They don’t want to say it’s an anti-Christian thing,’ she concludes eventually. ‘So I’m just gonna shut up about that.’

Casino Royale was a huge success. Can Green remember a specific point when she discovered that her – and the producers’ – gamble had paid off?

‘When it made money,’ she smiles. She says that, contrary to heated internet rumour, she will not be reappearing in the as-yet-untitled ‘Bond 22’. For a start, Vesper Lynd is dead. But Bond will try to have his little revenge for her death, pursuing Lynd’s duplicitous Algerian boyfriend. ‘So, yes there will be pictures (of Vesper) and things like that. I don’t know who the Bond girl’s gonna be. I’m a bit jealous! I hope it will be terrible,’ she lies. ‘I will be the love of his life!’

‘Having worked with Daniel Craig on The Golden Compass, how does she think he’s changed since becoming Bond?

‘He’s working like a dog. He really wants to prove that he can do other stuff. He’s working on (second world war resistance drama) Defiance at the moment. It’s great for him. I mean, everyone wants him. Independent movies, Jim Jarmusch, anything. He doesn’t have “the Bond curse” at all. He’s great. He deserves it.’

Earlier this year Green won the Rising Star award at the Bafta (no actor had ever been nominated for playing Bond himself before Craig). Casino Royale, she concedes, ‘did me a lot of good’. But it has cast a long shadow.

‘It’s so difficult to find good parts, really, really hard. People don’t know how to place me,’ she thinks. ‘Now I receive a lot of… Like, I received something so similar to the Bond thing: “she ends up in an elevator under water” – it’s a f***ing joke. “She’s very mysterious…” No no no no no!’ So she turns these (presumably lucrative) parts down. But at the same time, she sighs, ‘I need to earn some money.’

Source: Khaleej Times Online

3 Responses to “Foreva green”
  1. George Says:

    Why I have a strong feeling of deja vu for this interview?

  2. Irina Says:

    George,I have this strong feeling too 😉

  3. Monique Says:

    George and Irina: All about Eva interview…see December 1 news…