On her first day on the set of 300: Rise of an Empire, actress Lena Headey knocked on the dressing room door of co-star Eva Green, who had been working on the action film for several weeks.
“I wanted to thank her, she did such a good job holding this down on the female front,” Headey recalls. “She’s a real bad-ass.”
Look out, Greek men. Things have changed in the stylized sword franchise made instantly popular with Zack Snyder’s 300 in 2007.
The original 300 was a showcase for impressively pumped-up male actors including Gerard Butler and Michael Fassbender. But the women are stepping up in the sequel 300: Rise of an Empire (opening Friday).
Game of Thrones star Headey returns as the Spartan Queen Gorgo. But mainly it’s Green’s Artemisia, the revenge-obsessed head of the Persian Navy, who truly steps to the fore with an unquenchable bloodlust — and some show-stopping outfits.
The outfits go from the formidable to the downright scary, including a vest made of human hair (with matching hair wrist bands). “Some of these outfits are bonkers,” says Green. “I love them.”
Director Noam Murro says there’s a method to the fashion madness, beyond pulling fanboys into movie theaters.
“There is an understanding that part of her power is her uniforms,” says Murro, who cites designer Alexander McQueen as a particular inspiration. “These costumes are all by design.”
Green suffered through frequent costume changes on long shoots on a hot Bulgarian soundstage and endured the frequent wardrobe malfunction. One of her leather outfits came with stunning dinosaur-like spikes sticking out of the back, the perfect ensemble for a climactic fight with the Greek general Themistokles
(played by Sullivan Stapleton).
While the spikes look great onscreen, Green says her hair often got caught in them during her vigorous double-handed sword-work. “It was comedic,” she adds.
Taking a break in the outfit during the long shoot days was tough as well. “You couldn’t lie down on your back,” says Green. “You had to lie on your stomach like some sort of weird animal.”
But there were some perks.
“It’s fun to be the only fully dressed one around all of those near-naked guys,” she says. “And they were the ones who had to wax and get the fake tans.”
The Paris-born Green, a former Bond Girl (2006’s Casino Royale) who vamped it up as the villainous vampire alongside Johnny Depp in 2012’s Dark Shadows, says the closest she played to treacherous leadership parts was Lady Macbeth in drama school.
Even though Murro notes Green is “shy and an introvert” in person, he was sure she was right for the audacious part. Without an audition, the actress came alive in full-unhinged fashion when cameras rolled. Green didn’t even protest when Murro asked her for a scene involving kissing a dismembered head.
“I said, ‘I would like you to cut off this man’s head and kiss it.’ And she said ‘OK.’ ” says Murro. “She understood the moment on every level, and she just did it.”
Green admits she has no real memory of filming the scene with a heavy plastic prop fitted with lips. But she did enjoy the ride between the out-there outfits (she took one pair of boots home) and outlandish behavior.
“Killing is not good,” says Green. “But this part is so mad. When you play someone like this, you have to have some jubilation in it. She is a psychopath. I am so far from this in real life.”
Source: USA Today