Posted by Stef in Apr 25,2011 with 3 Comments
For an actress who’s far from a household name, Eva Green is notoriously picky about the kinds of roles she accepts.
Since she shot Bernardo Bertolucci’s “The Dreamers” nearly a decade ago, she’s appeared in only a handful of films. One of those movies was “Casino Royale,” the 007 smash which relied heavily on her mesmerizing performance as Vesper Lynd. But she’s the first to admit she’s not among her agents’ favorite clients.
“I think I drive them a little crazy,” said Green over the telephone from New York. “I’m kind of a pain in the (butt). I know it. I’m sorry, but I need to love something because I know if I don’t love it, I’m not going to do it well.”
These days, Green has been falling in love with increasing frequency. She stars in the new Starz series “Camelot,” shares the screen with Ewan McGregor in the upcoming Sundance hit “Perfect Sense” and gives birth to her own clone in the cutting edge sci-fi flick “Womb,” due later this year.
First up is “Cracks,” a film directed by Ridley Scott’s daughter, Jordan Scott, which gives Green her first name-above-the-title role. Set in an English boarding school where a sophisticated instructor named Miss G (Green) casts a spell over her students, the movie (opening Friday in area theaters) is a strangely compelling cautionary tale about the dangers of obsessive love.
If all of these projects weren’t enough to raise her profile, Green also recently landed one of the starring roles in Tim Burton’s reboot of the gothic soaper “Dark Shadows.” In the much-anticipated Victorian-era potboiler, set for a 2012 release, Johnny Depp will play vampire Barnabas Collins while Green will portray the beguiling witch Angelique.
“It’s a meaty role,” she noted. “Angelique has a love/hate relationship with Barnabas. I can’t talk too much about it, but she’s madly in love him. And he’s very attracted to her, too, but hates her. It’s very funny, very complicated.”
Green describes herself as one of Burton’s biggest fans. “Oh my God, I have to pinch myself every minute because he’s my favorite director ever,” she enthused. “He’s amazing. And the movie has such a great cast. I hope he won’t be disappointed in me.
“Why do I like him so much? He’s such a poetic director. There’s something sad and beautiful about everything he does. He’s a genius. There’s no one like him.”
Off all the characters she’s played in her decade-long career, her favorite is Miss G in “Cracks.” Seemingly fearless and loved by all of her teenage charges, the swim teacher is shaken to the core by the arrival of a new Spanish student named Fiamma (Maréa Valverde).
“This role is a gift for an actor because it allows you to show so many colors,” said Green, 30. “Miss G seems so tough; she’s the queen of the school. Everybody adores her. Then she falls madly in love with this exotic girl, and you see the cracks. She’s a very vulnerable character.
“She’s lonely; a little girl herself, really. This school and these girls are her whole life. They’re everything to her. The tough part was trying to bring as much sensitivity and humanity to the character as possible because she could have become a total monster very quickly.”
Green believes Miss G isn’t gay but rather besotted with Fiamma because the student represents everything she’s always dreamed of being. “Miss G has never known love,” said Green. “I think she wants to be Fiamma because Fiamma has done all of this stuff. She’s a world traveler. She’s had boyfriends.
“I imagined Miss G was an orphan who wound up in this boarding school and never got out. She was raised there and then became a teacher… I think Miss G is a lot like Blanche DuBois. Very in her head and very fragile.”
Raised in France, Green is the daughter of a Swedish-born dentist named Walter Green and the Algerian-born Marlene Jobert, an actress whose movies include “To Catch a Spy” with Kirk Douglas and “Rider on the Rain” with Charles Bronson.
“My mother retired to raise her children and now she’s writing books for children,” noted Green. “She didn’t influence me to become an actor. Quite the contrary, really. She said, ‘Don’t do it. You’re crazy.’ She knows how tough a job it is. You always have to wear your golden armor in the (show-biz) world.
“And she knows I’m fragile so I think she felt compelled to warn me but now she’s supportive. She comes with me on every set and gives me advice.”
Green insists that growing up she was painfully shy. “I was always hugging the walls at school,” said the actress who has a twin sister.
“If the teacher called on me, I’d be blushing, wishing to die. It’s paradoxical that I have this crazy job and that I wound up playing a schoolteacher in ‘Cracks.’ I was a geek in high school, I would say.”
Discovering theater marked a turning point in Green’s life. “There was a drama class and I kind of had fun because I could become someone else. It was good for me because suddenly I could channel my emotions. I got into it quickly and became very passionate about it.”
Green was doing theater in Paris in 2007 when Bernardo Bertolucci happened to catch her onstage and cast her in “The Dreamers.” Even though the role required nudity, Green was eager to participate.
“I was such a big fan of Bertolucci’s,” she recalled. “I adored ‘Last Tango in Paris.’ I had the poster on my bedroom wall. I didn’t think twice.”
Hollywood took notice and a few years later she snatched up the role of Daniel Craig’s love interest in “Casino Royale.”
“It kind of made me well known and that was good because it allowed me to do more independent stuff,” said Green. “And Vesper was a very interesting Bond girl. She wasn’t just sexy, she was human. That was the thing. She was a bit damaged.”
Green followed up “Casino Royale” with “The Golden Compass” and Ridley Scott’s “The Kingdom of Heaven” but it wasn’t until she landed the role of the disturbed Miss G in “Cracks” that she connected deeply with a character.
“Miss G stayed with me,” explained Green. “It was such an emotionally charged character. I almost didn’t want to leave her because she was like a little friend. But I’m not Daniel Day-Lewis. At the end of the day, she’s gone, she’s dead.”
For Green, acting is a way to make a leaving and a means of self-expression. “It’s certainly no ordinary job,” she explained. “I think about it all the time. It feeds me every day. It makes me feel good.”
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