By GARTH PEARCE
EVA GREEN has been hailed as one of the best Bond girls ever, following her role as Vesper Lynd in 2006 film Casino Royale.
The 32-year-old French actress made her controversial screen debut three years before then, in The Dreamers – in which she spent much of the film naked.
She has built a reputation as a risk-taker but tells GARTH PEARCE of her mother’s warnings.
“MY mother Marlene Jobert was scared for me to become an actress like her. She knew I was too sensitive and fragile.
“So I have learned from her how to appear to be tougher than I really am. She said: “You want to be an actress? Then act as if you are not scared of anything.”
“Her advice made me feel alive. I was constantly encouraged to express myself and truly live my life.
“After doing three years at a drama school in Paris, I moved to England to do more training and try to perfect my English.
“My father, Walter, is Swedish, so I am a real mix of nations. My mother was worried for me taking my first big film, The Dreamers.
“It was directed by Bernardo Bertolucci, famous for Last Tango In Paris and the sex scene between Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider.
“She was scared because of the myth of Maria Schneider being traumatised by the scene and the filming. Things did go wrong for her afterwards. (The actress had drug problems.) The sex scenes were quite full on and frank in The Dreamers. It was originally going to be Jake Gyllenhaal as the male lead but he had a problem with the full frontal nudity.
“The actor Michael Pitt took over instead. There was one scene in which he genuinely had to become aroused, but that was very difficult for him. It is not easy, unless you are a porn actor.
“I had a scene in which my own character has to lose her virginity. I had to remember how I felt when I first had sex. I am so reserved in real life, but I surprised myself completely.
“I was asked if I wanted some alcohol before some of the scenes — and admit that I did have some whisky. There was a breaking of the ice before the sex scene.
“The actor Louis Garrel came into my trailer and said: “I will show you my d*** if you show me your breasts.”
“So I did — and he did. He said to me: “They look great.”
“So when it came to the sex scenes, it made it a little easier.
“But I hated my body. My mother understands how genuinely shy I am. She knows I am body conscious. Although she is concerned about appearances, like all actors, she anticipated something we are so often asked in acting — to lose weight.
“She would tell me: “You have a great figure. Do not go on a diet, just because someone asks you to do so for a film.”
“Sure enough, I have been asked to lose weight for a film — not the Bond film, where they were happy with my figure. My mother’s words of warning flashed up and I did not go on a diet.
“I have a non-identical twin sister, Joy, who is very different. She is much more down to earth than me.
“I was always very studious and would never go out at weekends. In class, I would blush and sweat every time the teacher asked me something.
“I never went clubbing. I don’t dance. I don’t like the fact I can be approached by men. Maybe I think too much.
“I also have always felt much older than my years.
“I sometimes feel as if I am floating, sort of daydreaming, not living my life fully.
“Love? When I love someone I always give everything. And then you have to work at it all the time.
“The first few months are great but afterwards it becomes hard work. It is not as passionate or crazy.
“I had an actor boyfriend, Yann Claassen, when I did The Dreamers and we were together for several years.
“I would hate it when he talked about his movies and I was not working.
“And he felt jealous when I was filming, because the film crew and other actors become like your family. So it is often easier to be alone!
“I love life in London, which has been my home for the last seven years. The food is better than in Paris.
“I love Australian red wine, rather than French. And English men are NOT uptight.
“Another myth is that French girls are sexy. We are no different, despite British men thinking we have this magic sex appeal and are sophisticated, elegant and well-dressed. Not true.
“I love my work, but the best advice my mother gave me was not to make the job my life. She is still a shoulder to cry on, even now.”