“I love extremes”
Fatale in Sin City, possessed in Penny Dreadful, the actress with 50 shades of dark is now shooting the new Tim Burton film. Today, the bewitched muse of L’Oréal Professionnel dreams of comedy.
Daughter of a cinema icon of the 70’s – paragon of the sexy and cheeky French – and of a Swedish dentist, Eva Green resembles nobody else, even if she comes with a twin sister the story reveals nothing about but the name.
The chosen one, it’s her. Eva Green. Even if it may sound like a pseudonym, it isn’t one. Eva, Ève, biblical name of legendary echo and cinematographic reminiscence – Losey, Mankiewicz. Green : the green of her eyes? They’re blue, huge and particularly expressive. Back in the days of mute cinema, she would have made acarnage. Although it would have been a shame, her low voice is a treasure.
Tim Burton chose her.
This day, we photograph her for the cover of Madame Figaro. The hard working little soldier is exhausted but doesn’t mention it. The actress arrives from Dublin, where she has worked every day for six months on the set of the second season of Penny Dreadful, a horror tv show that we adore, coming May 3rd in the United States. Her character – the mysterious Vanessa, mystique and possessed – joins Dracula, Frankenstein or Dorian Gray in Jack the Ripper’s Victorian London. Tomorrow, she will be in London, where Tim Burton is waiting for her. He chose her – praise the heavens – for the principal role of Miss Peregrine in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. With an expected March 2016 release date, it comes from the book written by Ransom Riggs, which stayed on the list of American best sellers for over a year. As background though, probably, a franchise à la Harry Potter.
Sin City, an American controversy.
Last year was her year. Other than the high success of Penny Dreadful, we saw Eva Green in four films, a record for the actress whom we are accustomed to working sparingly: White Bird, 300, The Salvation and Sin City, of which the poster, suggesting the curves of her generous breasts, created controversy in America. “Americans love to nitpick this genre of story without much interest”, she sums up in a tired voice. “They have a sense of drama. In the beginning, when journalists questioned me on this subject, I showed myself quite aggressive. Then I realized I had to do with it, and I changed my tone. Much ado about nothing.” Sin City is all hers, she plays the typical femme fatale that seduces, manipulates and kills for pleasure, in the great tradition of the 40’s noir films. When her character dies about halfway through the movie, the viewers’ interest collapse with her – even Jessica Alba cannot help it.
We compliment her, she shies away. In the life of this obsessed and fierce worker, nothing is taken for granted : “I’m always afraid to disappoint.” she invariably repeats. “The coincidence of release dates made me very exposed last year, but this attention means nothing. There will always be someone to tell that a nice little film that nobody saw is good for nothing.”
Eva Green has no Instagram, doesn’t go out with popular boys and doesn’t spend her time on red carpets. You’ll never see her in the first row of a fashion show. She is a distant beauty that was never really in fashion, even though fashion tried to capture her. (She has been the muse of a Dior perfume, she is now the face – and hair – of L’Oréal Professionnel.) “The circus around fashion doesn’t interest me and scares me a little”, she says before naming Kim Kardashian and all these “plastic girls”: “It’s depressing”, she concludes. The beauty of Eva has nothing to do with surgeries. Also, directors keep undressing her body for years, ever since Bertolucci, in The Dreamers. “It’s not so easy to shoot a nude scene, it’s very embarrassing. But in those moments, I’m beyond modesty or immodesty: I’m someone else, to put it simply. I divide myself into halves. People often think that I’m a seductress, but five minutes in my company will convince you otherwise. I live like a nun. In my life, everything changes and nothing changes.”
Internet sites sharing personal information of celebrities did not claim her a boyfriend, and everything leads to believe Eva Green focuses only on her films. All summer, it’s Tim Burton, “a humble human being, sensitive and deeply intelligent.”, she will focus her thoughts on. In Dark Shadows, he made her a blonde witch that tormented Johnny Depp. This time, for the second collaboration, her partners are young teenagers: “The most dangerous actors!” she says, smiling. “You must get used to them very quickly. In the movie, I play some sort of Mary Poppins that protects very special children. She transforms in a falcon. It happens in London in 1940 – a very particular atmosphere, typical of Tim Burton, it seems.” The director definitely holds his ideal ‘Burtonian’ woman, better than Helena Bonham Carter, his ex-wife. Labeled gothic since the beginning – smokey eyes became her trademark – Eva remained a dark beauty against all. “But nowadays, after two seasons of Penny Dreadful, I need something else, she tempers. Having been so deeply immersed in the dark forces — even if it’s fiction — made me a little taciturn. This ends up being intrusive. I need light and comedy. But at the same time, this immersion in a TV series is something extremely liberating for an actress: we can go far. And halftones don’t suit me. I like extremes.”
The unfathomable Eva Green hasn’t shot a film in France in ten years (“Arsène Lupin”, opposite Romain Duris). Can French directors be that blind? “I don’t receive anything significant, unfortunately!” she states without bitterness. “In recent months, I’ve loved “Respire”, by Mélanie Laurent. I love this girl who tries different things from project to project. And then, “Sils Maria”, by Olivier Assayas. Its three actresses are superb.”
Eva Green, 34 years old and looking extraordinarily young, loves Paris, but lives in London. After filming for “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” ends, Eva plans to travel. Maybe to Tanzania. Will the spectacle of the Mount Kilimanjaro allow her to forget her anxiety? “My lack of confidence is disastrous. I still don’t know what I’m missing. It’s an inner thing I can’t untie, and being successful doesn’t change anything to it. This job is a constant questioning. I can put on a strong face, but I don’t get used to it… On the other hand, I know that being an actress doesn’t solve everything. We live intensely, but it’s not enough. I don’t want to wake up at age 50 telling myself that I’ve done nothing but films.”
Thank you to our friend Phil for translating this feature article interview!