– Magazines & Newspapers > 2015 > Mujer Hoy (Spain) – July 25, 2015
– Magazines & Newspapers > 2015 > Glamour (Spain) – June 2015
Mujer Hoy seems to think that Algeria and Nigeria are the same country… Come on, folks! In this day and age, journalists can do a little research with the help of the Internet before posting n’importe quoi… The fine people from those two diverse and culturally rich countries would appreciate it. And so would be, Eva Green fans.
Eva talks about her shyness, being cast as Isabelle in The Dreamers, how it didn’t work out between her and von Trier and why she didn’t star in The Antichrist, dying her hair as a teen, and L’Oréal.
Eva Green: “People only remember the sex scenes”
A trail of mystery and sophistication follows her even when she doesn’t invoke it. The ‘Penny Dreadful’ actress and the new muse of L’Oréal Professionel tries to go unnoticed… but that’s impossible.
”So beautiful it’s indecent”. That’s what Bernardo Bertolucci said when he met her and immediately hired her for one of the most rebellious and exceptionally beautiful characters of ‘The Dreamers’ (2003), his particular vision of May 1968 in France. Eva Green (”Greeeen, it’s Swedish”, she points out, tired, of the English pronounciation of her surname) was studying dramatic arts when she was hired for a screen test. ”I was a big Bertolucci fan and when I got his message to go for an audition. I could barely believed it, even less that he ended up giving me a role.” she recalls through a phone call from London. “Working with him has been one of the biggest experiences I’ve had in my professional life. I thought working for him would be tough, even painful, but he turned out to be a very patient director.”
She had a once in a lifetime chance. And she knows it. “I was very lucky. I studied with other young actors, talented and they worked hard, and many of them are still sadly unemployed.”. I asked her what is the most important thing on an actress’ career. “I’d say it’s 70% of talent and 30% of luck. It’s nonsense but that’s how things work. A bit of luck always help.”
She starts working with Bertolucci and then Tim Burton called, and then Robert Rodriguez (‘El Mariachi’, ‘Sin City’), offers her the role of Vesper Lynd in ‘Casino Royale’ (2006) [TRANSLATOR’S NOTE: The article wrongfully credits Robert Rodrìguez as the ‘Casino Royale’ director, when it actually was Martin Campbell]. The natural evolution of facts takes her to reject a proposition from Lars Von Trier. It was in 2008. The director was working on a movie called ‘Antichrist’, Eva Green had shaken everybody with her sex scenes from ‘The Dreamers’, so Von Trier offered her the role that Charlotte Gainsbourg would end up playing. But, against every prognostic, Eva Green said “no” to the role that might have been the great leap of her career. Many years later, she assures me she doesn’t regret it.
”After ‘The Dreamers’ everybody only talked about my sex scenes. It seemed like that was the only thing that mattered. I thought people would be very unpleasant towards me if I did something like ‘Antichrist’. Besides, I have decided before that I wouldn’t shoot sex scenes for a while because I felt that would have been the only thing people would remember and that would make me feel quite vulnerable”. Lars was openly disgusted with Eva’s attitude but he allowed her to read the script that, as we do know now, was filled with strong sex scenes. “I only told him: ‘Really? There’s no other way to do it?” and he replied ‘No one should question my authority’. That’s how tough he was.”
“I don’t regret it. We simply didn’t have the same opinion about the main aspects of the script. Besides, I like to collaborate with directors, not to blindly obey them. It was a pity because I like, or used to like, everything Lars Von Trier did. He was like God to me.”
It’s curious that directors often see a ‘femme fatale’ in Eva. Why?, I ask. “Because I have puffiness?” she answers. “Because my hair is black, almost blue?” [Laughs]. Then she explains: “I think of that. Sometimes I say to myself: ‘Oh my god! What exactly is a “femme fatale”? Why me? I bet it’s a girl without many sides, always evil.’ Luckily, I will remind myself that I’ve done many other characters that were far more complex. More than a ‘femme fatale’. I’d say that they think of me to play strong women. That sounds a lot better.”
Let’s make a quick look on Eva Green’s roles: Artemisia, the Greek queen of ‘300: Rise of an Empired’ (2014); the cold and manipulative Ava Lord from ‘Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For” (2014); Vesper Lynd in ‘Casino Royale’, the only woman capable to play with James Bond and left him broken-hearted; Vanessa Ives in the TV series ‘Penny Dreadful’, an enigmatic medium with tormented eyes… Eva assures me those extreme characters help her to expel the demons inside her. ”Then, day by day, I can be a pretty normal girl.”
It’s unbelievable, but I ask her to describe one of her ‘normal’ days in her life. “I wake up early, at 7:30 am, and I practice sport for an hour. I almost always run or do some strength training. I dedicate some time to reading every day. I go out shopping, I try to meet a friend, I watch films… Nothing unusual.” That’s it? Eva replies with her silence.
As a teenager, her mother took her to the psychiatrist because she was too shy and didn’t talk with anybody. Now she thinks acting helped her to fight her shyness. ”I’m still shy, but I’ve learnt to control it”, she affirms. What else does define her? Who is Eva Green? “No idea, I’d rather let other people talk about me. I don’t even know exactly who I am. Sometimes I’m an optimist person. Sometimes I’m a sad person. It depends.”
Eva was born in París, but her cultural context is quite diverse. A Swedish father, a mother with Spanish ancestry, even relatives coming from Nigeria [TRANSLATOR’S NOTE: This should be Algeria]. Sometimes she says she feels ‘very French’ and sometimes she feels the opposite. Today, we found her in a not so ‘French’ day. She assures the best seller “How to be a Parisian, wherever you are” doesn’t ring a bell to her.
“I don’t know what being French means. I’m aware that the world expects someone born in Paris to be the epitome of chic but I’m from everywhere.”, she says. By the way, she clarifies that bit where the book assures no Parisian ever dyes her hair is a lie. “Everybody does, you can take my word for it.”
She herself did at 15 and felt ‘free’. “I needed a change in my life.”, she said in a WWD interview. Now, she finds her freedom in her ability to stay inconspicuous. “I’ve got many tricks to become invisible: big sunglasses, a scarf, a hat… I’m always hidden behind one of them.”
Gothic looks suit her so good…
A Victorian London from the end of the 19th century is the dark atmosphere of ‘Penny Dreadful’, where Eva Green plays a medium working to find a childhood friend. Screenwriter, John Logan (‘Gladiator’, ‘The Aviator’…) wrote every chapter, witches, demons, vampires…. besides gothic literature characters like Dr Frankestein or Dorian Gray.
She knows her hair is a key part of that mystery and beauty everybody sees in her. That why she always deliberately takes care of it very much.
”An actress has to have a good relationship with her hairdresser. Mine has always been a close person in my life. We create the styles together. I’m aware my hair is important in my profession, an instrument of my work and I have to take care of it because it can get damaged frequently.”
An international spokeperson for L’Oréal Professionnel, she admits to be an addict to their healing treatments for dyed hair. “Occasionally, my hair needs to rest and to be taken care of with a specific treatment, that’s why I like that there are people doing research and innovating hair conditioners and mascaras.”
Oils are her favourite product. “Their texture is more pleasent and I think the final effect is more natural and light.”
For summer, she prepares to hide her hair. “If you’re going to walk a lot under the sun, the best favor you can do to your hair is to protect it, so you should have many hats in your closet.”
Thank you to Nicolás for translating this interview!