By Will Lawrence
Eva Green is no stranger to the big screen. Her film repertoire includes Casino Royale (2006), Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows (2012) and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014). Next up, Green plays the title character in Burton’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (September 30). Based on the 2011 novel by Ransom Riggs, the movie follows the birdlike, shape-shifting Miss Peregrine as she protects a group of fantastically gifted children.
To celebrate the upcoming movie, Parade sat down with Green to discuss her character, working with Burton and all things peculiar.
What is Miss Peregrine’s journey in this film?
She is very strong. She runs the home a bit like a commanding general, rather than a governess. She will do absolutely anything for her children and then they do find themselves in a tricky situation. She doesn’t want them to be scared. Everything is falling apart, but she is there to protect them. It is the mission of her life.
So she is a strong character rather than a stern one?
Totally. She is very good. She is like a mother to them. But she does have a lot of authority as well. She wants to be respected. All the children have to be on time because if one of them is not on time—it is quite a complicated story with this time loop. Everything has to be on time. It is all extremely organized so she, as I said, is like a general but it is all for the good of the children.
The “peculiar” in the title, does that just refer to the children’s special powers or are they are actually quirky, unusual children in themselves?
They don’t have special powers but peculiarities. They can fly and become invisible, but at the end of the day it becomes quite normal. They are actually like normal children. They can be sad, happy, playful. I don’t think they are weird.
The way he talks about his own childhood and the fact that these children find it hard to fit in, one suspects it is a very personal film to Tim. Did you get that impression?
Yes, those children are peculiar. They don’t fit in the outside world and I think he felt like this as a child. Lots of people feel like that and identify with that.
All of us at some time in our childhood do feel like outsiders. Did you?
I still feel like this. It is a movie that says that you just have to accept it and kind of embrace it and celebrate it. It is beautiful to be different. Be content with what you have and be who you are rather than trying to be like the others, which is boring.
This film must fit perfectly in Tim’s oeuvre. Even with monsters, Tim manages to find their humanity and compassion, things that other people might find dark.
That is the thing. In the outside world they would be seen as monsters and freaks. They would be persecuted, and on this island their strangeness is celebrated as something that is very beautiful. He has such an understanding for the outcasts. All of them are beautiful. Even the evil characters in his movies seem to have a kind of humanity or something. In his drawings as well, there is always something very endearing about his characters. It is not like he has just one dimension.
Were you a big fan of Tim’s before you did your movies with him?
Yes, totally. He was like my hero. I absolutely adored Edward Scissorhands and Beetlejuice. They are my two favorite movies of all time, so it is like a dream come true.
What is it about those films and Tim in general that appeals to you?
There is something very poetic. Sometimes people say that Tim is very dark. I don’t think so. I don’t really understand what it is. It’s something actually very beautiful, very sensitive. His work is beautiful maybe, but not in a dark way. It is also very funny. Lots of Burton movies are very funny and also fun.
Do you have any favorite moments or memories from shooting the film?
All the scenes I had in the actual house in Belgium, Antwerp. It is always a pleasure to actually be on a real set, and this house feels like it was built for Tim. It was completely real. It was such a weird thing, very Gothic, with a garden which is amazing. The topiary were brought in, in the shape of elephants, centaurs, dinosaurs and I was like, “Oh my God, this is a Burton movie.”