M.   /   October 18, 2008   /   15 Comments

She made her debut as a naked nymph, says she’s better looking than Charlize Theron and that Carla Bruni dresses like a granny – and turned down the Bond-girl role when it was first offered to her. No wonder Hollywood doesn’t know what to make of the gothic, bewitching French actress Eva Green
By Maureen Paton

After arriving on the movie scene as a naked nymph at the centre of a ménage à trois in Bernardo Bertolucci’s 2003 film The Dreamers, she made her name as the double agent Vesper Lynd who broke Daniel Craig’s heart in his 007 debut Casino Royale, before going on to play the flying sorceress Serafina Pekkala in the 2007 film of Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass.

Such roles were perfect for the witchy beauty of this enigmatic French actress with the long dark hair and kohl-rimmed blue eyes, who was a 007 heroine every bit as bold as Bond.

I’m expecting her to be more than slightly scary as she turns up at her publicist’s Soho office in figure-hugging black, but she politely and firmly sends the PR away so that we can be alone.

There’s clearly no messing with Eva, who fixes me with a stare and opens a packet of crisps as she speaks her mind on such subjects as Hollywood hype, why she eclipses golden girl Charlize Theron, Carla Bruni’s frumpy clothes and the ‘ridiculous’ rumour that linked Eva romantically to the French president Nicolas Sarkozy (of which more later).

Cripes. A Bond girl with attitude who eats crisps – whatever next?

Although the little heart-shaped face is softer in real life than in photos, it’s still a relief when she smiles, which she does frequently and warmly.

I can see why Empire magazine called Eva, 28, one of ‘the 100 sexiest stars’, and why she came 16th in Maxim magazine’s hot list. ‘That’s because of Bond,’ retorts Eva with a scornful pout. ‘I don’t take that sort of thing seriously.’

She’s meeting me to publicise her role as an ambassador for Montblanc jewellery and watches, whose advertisements show Eva with an Arctic gaze.

It’s quite a transformation for someone who was so shy as a child that she ‘hugged the walls’ at school and was sent for therapy by her mother, a former actress who gave up the business to rear Eva and her twin Joy and to write children’s books.

So confident has Eva become that at first she turned down the part of Vesper. ‘I didn’t want to audition at first because I thought, “Bond girl – oh God,”’ she says, rolling her eyes at the cliché. ‘But then they gave me the script and it was different from what I had expected, so I agreed to audition.’

Yet she’s honest enough to admit that the experience of being a leading lady in such an iconic movie turned out to be daunting. ‘It’s always scary to act – you are always worried you are going to be fired,’ she says.

According to Eva, Daniel Craig had gone through agonies of doubt himself about taking on the role of 007. ‘Playing Bond was quite a difficult experience for him because he was afraid of not measuring up,’ she reveals. ‘Then he saw that I was freaking out too so he protected me and gave me advice about being assertive with the director if I was unhappy about something.’

But despite the excitement generated by her performance as a heroine with a dark side, she is adamant that she won’t relocate from London – she has been living in Primrose Hill for the past three years – to Los Angeles. ‘Hollywood wouldn’t suit me,’ she says. ‘In LA it’s all about work – studio people have their five minutes with you and they go, “Oh mah Gahd, I love your movie.” You just feel very self-conscious there.’

So the bilingual Eva does her own thing in the capital instead. She likes the freewheeling style of London, which she considers ‘less judgmental’ than Paris.

Her gothic style often gets her compared to Helena Bonham Carter – whose husband Tim Burton happens to be one of the film directors that Eva most admires.

She first developed a taste for all things goth when she started dying her dark blond hair blue-black at 15. One fashion editor nicknamed her Morticia Addams for arriving at a fashion event in ‘shockingly bad Givenchy’.

But such crimes against blandness don’t bother Eva at all. ‘When I’m at an event, I like to be an eccentric dresser. I will just keep wearing what I like,’ she shrugs.

She’s the daughter of Swedish dentist Walter Green and French-Algerian actress Marlène Jobert, who appeared in such masterpieces of French cinema as Jean-Luc Godard’s Masculin Féminin.

At 14 Eva decided that she, too, wanted to be an actress when she saw Isabelle Adjani, also part-Algerian, in The Story Of Adèle H, Truffaut’s film dramatisation of a Victor Hugo story about a woman in the grip of an obsessive love.

Although Adjani has experienced racial prejudice in the past, Eva says she herself has never encountered any problems – except for national stereotyping.

As the fifth French actress to play a Bond girl, she explains, ‘When I go to LA, people just think of me as a sexy French girl who drinks and smokes. Everywhere people like to typecast you as a
femme fatale.’

Yet that whiff of danger suits her, for she likes to work, as well as dress, on the dark side.

The Golden Compass director Chris Weitz had cast her as the witch-queen Serafina because of something ‘unplaceable’ about her.

Currently, however, the two much-anticipated sequels in the Pullman trilogy are on ice because of the
credit crunch.

‘At the moment it’s quite dead,’ admits Eva, who had to overcome vertigo to film her flying scenes. ‘They were really hard, and on the last day I freaked out and said I couldn’t reshoot one scene. But I learned to use a bow and arrow.’

There’s more danger ahead with the movie she has just completed, the upcoming indie film Cracks that marks the debut of rookie director Jordan Scott, daughter of Ridley Scott, who is executive-producing. Cracks casts Eva as Miss G, a glamorous and unconventional new teacher at a girls’ boarding school in the 1930s.

The cast is entirely female, which should make the love scenes quite a talking point. ‘It’s a beautiful, dark, intense story, and it’s quite a brave film for Jordan to have chosen as her debut,’ grins Eva.

Eva’s movie career began just months out of drama school when she made The Dreamers, set against the background of student revolt in the Paris of 1968. And what a baptism of fire that was, directed by the man who filmed the sexually explicit Last Tango In Paris, which seemed to end leading lady Maria Schneider’s film career.

‘My mother was worried at first because of the sexuality in The Dreamers and the reputation of Bertolucci with Maria, but he was a lovely man, very calm and wise and generous,’ says Eva.

‘When the movie came out, my father was shocked but my mother was very proud because she knew that I was just acting,’ adds Eva, who was outraged when censors removed five minutes from the film on its US release because of American squeamishness about sex.

Her character was a twin like Eva herself. Eva’s twin Joy has followed a very different path: she rears horses in the Normandy countryside with her husband.

‘Joy and I are very contrasting characters,’ says Eva. ‘She never wanted to act, which was quite good because it would have been very competitive between us. We fought and were quite nasty to one another, but now we get on really well. She keeps all the clippings about me.’

All of which must be forming a paper mountain to rival the real Mont Blanc. It was the high profile that Bond gave her that led to the Montblanc campaign, which Eva agreed to do because she felt ‘they are very human – they are interested in you, there’s a real dialogue, which is very rare’. She also liked the links with children’s charity Unicef, which the brand supports, as her mother had worked with them back in the 60s.

But the Bond fame has also brought unwelcome publicity, such as a report that she had turned down the French president.

‘I have never met the man,’ she expostulates. ‘The whole thing is ridiculous, though funny. People like to criticise Sarkozy and put him down by saying he approached many actresses before marrying Carla [Bruni]. I wish Carla well, and it’s good that the first lady is cool.

‘But she used to wear jeans the whole time – and now she has to wear these granny outfits!’ adds Eva, pulling a face at the memory of Carla’s boxy meet-the-queen suit.

Her own partner is Marton Csokas, a New Zealand actor she met on the set of Kingdom of Heaven.

‘It can be difficult to keep a relationship going when you’re apart filming, but we both understand it’s a crazy business.

‘Love scenes are never really pleasant to film, and he’s intelligent enough to understand that – but he doesn’t say what he thinks of mine.

‘He did one himself with Charlize Theron [in the 2005 film Aeon Flux], but it didn’t worry me because I’m better looking than she is,’ she adds wickedly.

It’s nice to see that Eva has learned how to do British irony as well as French intensity, and that Brit actor of the moment Sam Riley, her co-star in the forthcoming sci-fi thriller Franklyn, made her laugh so much during filming ‘that it was really difficult to keep a straight face’.

So there’s a light side as well to this dramatic lady, as she pads off in her leather flip-flops to a nearby Japanese restaurant for lunch.

As she explains with a farewell grin, ‘Life’s too short to wear high heels.’

* Eva Green supports the Montblanc and Unicef education initiative, which raises funds for Unicef in support of its education programmes

Source: Daily Mail

15 Responses to “Eva Green: The art of darkness”
  1. Cal Says:

    <3

  2. George Says:

    Thank you Mariana. A couple of new things emerge from this new interview. She said her sister Joy is keeps all the clipping about her. Joy should visit EGW for the complete collection! (…who knows, maybe she does…).

  3. Ali Says:

    Eva better looking than Charlize?

    No rephrase that, shes 20 times hotter than Charlize!

  4. Mariana Says:

    Ali: Actually no matter what our preferences are, let’s not misquote Eva. She was joking. Like the interview points ou, she learned how to do British irony. 😉

  5. Monique Says:

    This photoshoot is fantastic!!! one of the best for me…her dresses in 6 and 7…amazing…
    and I love 1-5…she looks like royalty…but she looks a bit different in 10…

    Loved the interview…go, Eva!!! Show ’em your spunk!!!

    Joke or not, I agree with her and Ali…she is way better looking than Charlize Theron!!!!

  6. Ali Says:

    Haha, yeah I got her.

    She’s very intelligent, she said something soo true in a humorous and politically correct way. 🙂

    Hopeless romantics like me need girls like Eva haha.

  7. Ea Says:

    Great interview and lovely pics. Thanks Mariana

    I get the joking part, but I have to agree that Eva is 100 time more beautiful…

  8. Lola Says:

    The white dress Eva models in these pics is also Alex McQueen r-t-w 2008/09

  9. Jess Says:

    great photoshoot and interview. and mariana you’re doing an amazing job on this site, as always 😀

  10. spot Says:

    the photoshoot is simply great. the interview seems comfortable. love her humor! 😀

    glad to know she also wears leather flip flops like me 😛

    Jess: i love your site! you’re also doing a great job in it! Nicole Kidman is <3 😉

  11. George Says:

    Jess: Very nice and delicate work with Nicole’s site (…as spot mentioned).

    PS I ‘ve noticed a trend of “lying down” pictures on the heading in a couple of sites ( (: ) that make our necks dangerously bend…

  12. spot Says:

    George: photographers like that pose 😉

  13. EvaAnne Says:

    I love how Eva said Joy keeps all the clippings about her. That’s just so sweet!!

  14. George Says:

    EvaAnne: I agree, they must be proud of each other.

  15. selçuk Says:

    you are very veryy.. beautifull.. ! only have one angel this much beautifull.are you angel?and my bad english:) but ı love you my angel.. and this sacred..