Her magnetic allure is the key to her inscrutable sensuality. She’s gorgeous, fragile, and utterly irresistible
You needed a really special woman to irremediably break James Bond’s heart: an inscrutable woman able to convey contrasting sentiments such as fragility, determination, fear, sensuality, desperation and mystery with just a glance. That would be Eva Green, the actress who played Vesper Lynd, the great love of Daniel Craig’s 007. Hers is not a stage name, but she followed in the footsteps of her mother, the French actress Marlène Jobert. “In the beginning, my mother kept telling me not to choose this career because it is a cruel world and I’m very fragile. Perhaps I was also afraid of being compared to her, not only in terms of a mother-daughter relationship, but also on a professional level.” When you meet Eva for the first time, you are struck by her beauty and by her magnetic allure, those slightly guarded smoky eyes, dusky voice, and disarming shyness. “I know I’m vulnerable, extremely shy and insecure. I feel I can only truly express myself when I’m acting.”
Discovered by Bernardo Bertolucci, who launched her in the film The Dreamers in 2003, Eva became internationally famous with Casino Royale. It was, in a certain sense, an opportunity that turned out to be a mixed blessing. It made her one of the most famous and unforgettable Bond girls, but it also transformed her, despite herself, into the femme fatale archetype that every director wants. That is why she is twice as happy today to be the heroine of the action fantasy flick 300 – Rise of an Empire. In it, she is Artemisia, the warrior queen thirsting for revenge. It is a very virile and physical role. “I like having to handle a sword and fight like a man. What girl wouldn’t be happy to be a man for at least one day?” But that was just an interlude because Eva has gone back to being the dark, sensual, and enigmatic actress that we were accustomed to seeing on the screen. Whether it is on TV, with the series Penny Dreadful where she is Vanessa Ives, an unsettling girl from a good family possessed by evil spirits in Victorian London, or in the movies as Ava Lord, “the dame to kill for” in the next Sin City, Eva is quite the irresistible femme fatale.
Source: Vogue ItaliaBy Maria Grazia Meda, excerpt from Vogue Italia, September 2014, n. 769, p.348 Published: 09/15/2014 – 07:00
The actor felt fortunate to have so many electric scenes with Eva Green in Season One
You’re working a lot with one of the most interesting actresses out there in my opinion, Eva Green, and your scenes with her are very electric. Tell me about the experience of working specifically with Eva, because there’s something special going on on-screen between the two of you.
That’s great to hear. She is so hardworking, and I don’t know how she does it, really, because she’s in so much of the show, and the language is beautifully dense. She’s always on it. It’s a joy to work with everyone on the show. I mean, I really enjoy working with everyone equally, but it’s great to hear that about the scenes with Eva. I do really enjoy working with her. The first time I ever saw her on screen was in “Casino Royale,” and she definitely stands out in that film, and she stands out in everything she does.
Read more the rest of Reeve Carney’s interview HERE.
Gregg Araki talks about White Bird in a Blizzard and working with Eva Green (at 6:30 mark).
By Fred Topel
Director Greg Araki discusses the psychology of his female characters and looks back on ‘The Doom Generation’ and Sundance in the 1990s.
Would a woman like Eve be diagnosed today as depressed?
I do think that she’s definitely depressed.
Maybe even bipolar.
Yes, possibly bipolar. I just saw her character as being a very tragic figure in the sense that if you think about when she grew up, she grew up in the ‘50s and ‘60s. Her role models were Jackie O, etc. Eva Green and I talked about these old school Hitchcock movie star heroines that were always these glamorous, like the perfect wife, the perfect mother. Shai’s character talks about it a little bit in the film. That was her only option. She didn’t have an option of become a doctor, travel the world or do this. It was just you’re going to get married and have kids. He character itself to me was very tragic in the sense that she had no choices in life and so found herself in this existence that was for her, soul crushing.
How did you approach photographing Eva Green as the ‘80s homemaker?
She’s just the most amazing actress in the world. Eva was only 32 when we made this movie. In the film, there’s young Eve and there’s older Eve, so when we were casting, it was like we could cast an older actress and try to make her look younger for her younger scenes. Or we could cast a younger actress and try to make her look older. When you see Eva, when she’s young, the scene in the restaurant where she’s like this glamorous kind of movie star character, when she’s getting married and she’s like this radiant bride, that’s what Eva Green looks like. When she would show up on set, we did minimal makeup on her. No prosthetics, nothing. It was literally just all of her acting. She just showed up and she was this withered, sad, kind of tragic figure. She’s just amazing.
Read the rest of Gregg Araki’s interview HERE.
By Hillary Weston
“I’m very shy and awkward, so playing all these characters and taking on these different roles from myself makes me feel alive and gives me blood,” Eva Green tells me when I ask about the mysterious and darkly seductive roles she’s known for in contrast to the person she is off-screen. “I’m breathing and alive when I’m acting, and I’m confident when I’m acting—I’m not always in real life.” But for the alluring French actress, her intense sensuality and cunning intellect have made her one of Hollywood’s most sought after women, from her breakout role in Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Dreamers and her turn as a bond girl in Casino Royale to starring on Showtime’s Penny Dreadful and her latest role in Gregg Araki’s White Bird in a Blizzard.
Starring Green alongside Shailene Woodley, Araki’s film (King of Teenage Doom) takes us back to the late 1980‘s to tell his dark suburban dream, based on Laura Kasischke’s novel of the same title. In White Bird, we follow Kat (Woodley), a 17-year-old girl whose emotionally unstable mother, Eve (Green), vanishes mysteriously one afternoon. Caught up in her newfound sexuality and exploration of desire and emotion, Kat represses the confusion and anger of her mother’s haunting disappearance, as her father (played by Christopher Meloni) continues on with his life in the shadow of Eve’s absence.But as the story unravels, we’re given insight into Eve’s life, with surreal flashbacks and snow-covered dreams, revealing the natural of Kat’s uneasy relationship with her mother and how deeply miserable Eve was in her caged-in life as a homemaker.
And although she is but a mere decade older than Woodley in real life, Green manages to elevate her Mommie Dearest-esque character to someone untethered by time, a ghost haunting their lives. Wonderfully theatrical while not going entirely over the top, Green plays up the ugliness of Eve’s alcoholism and anger to age herself, adding a sense of hyper-melodrama akin to one of Fassbinder’s women on the verge. So with White Bird in a Blizzard now out on VOD and in theaters next week, I stole some time with Green to chat about her fears about playing Shailene’s mother, her ability to make herself invisible, and acting inside a dream.
As a new actor to the world of Gregg Araki, how did you become involved in the film?
I remember I was in Bulgaria doing the 300film and my agent was like, “My god, you need to look at this I’m sure you’re going to love this.” And then I just really loved the story, and it was so unusual and frustrated and it had such a great conflict with the daughter. I was very moved by it, so I said yes straight away!
Had you been a fan of his past films?
Yeah, I remember I saw Mysterious Skin in the cinema when it came it. It was dreamlike and very tormented. There’s something in his films that are a bit David Lynch in a way. Seeing the film in the cinema I remember it was like a dream and fucked up and I loved that very much. His other films are all teenage trashy bonkers funny and this one, White Bird, I find more grown up. It’s in another category of its own.
How was the experience of turning in this character and playing a woman who was written significantly older than you? Did you read the book to get of the feeling of who she was?
When I found out my daughter would be played by Shailene, I was like, oh my god! It’s a bit unbelievable; we look more like sisters. But Gregg was like, don’t worry, it’s a bit surreal and you’ll have another hairdo. I was worried that it would not be believable, so I loved her journey. You see her young in her 20s and then it ages me. But I tried to portray that aging more in her character. She’s an alcoholic and her body changes and her voice changes, so it was a challenge.
She only exists in these surreal memories and in flashbacks, so in a way she felt ageless.
There’s something about your character that also felt out of time and very rooted in melodrama, like she belonged to films of the past, in opposition the natural cool of the teens.
It’s true. She’s kind of a mixture of a lot of women. She could have been a movie star but she didn’t fulfill her dreams and got trapped like a bird in a cage. Sometimes it felt like, am I going completely over the top, a complete alcoholic kind of thing, but Gregg allowed me to go there because it was a dream. You have all these teenagers and they’re cool and I had the excuse of being in a dream.
You’ve worked with a lot of great directors, but what was the experience like working with Gregg Araki?
In the beginning it was a struggle to find the money for the film and then the actors. But it’s nice that this film was made all with heart, and Gregg is very open and he’s so passionate. He’s like a child on set, with this passion and he’s so loving. He’s really all about who these characters are and the story. It’s all fun. There’s no judgement or games or bullshit. It’s pure joy and we all loved it.
How was Shailene as a co-star and daughter?
I was intimidated at first. I thought, oh god am I going to measure up? Is this going to believable? But Shailene was so great and she calmed me down and made me feel confident. She was very supportive. She’s very wise and very mature, an old soul. And she’s also very aware of the world and extremely bright and amazing.
Looking back on the roles you’ve played, there’s been a lot of characters that fall into the darker, more dramatic realm. Do you tend to gravitate towards these roles or do you find that people approach you for them because that’s how they perceive you as an actor?
You take what you find, but I am always looking for something that’s complex and something that’s interesting. I also don’t want people to put me in a box of one character also. So I always hope people have enough imagination. But I am always drawn to something complicated. It’s jubilating in a strange way, but you also have to be careful.
Do you find that you’re a much different person off-screen and not the mysterious woman we often see you play?
Oh, yeah. No one ever really recognizes me really. I take the tube all the time and it’s fine. I can make myself invisible, I have that power. I’m also very shy and feel so awkward that playing all these characters and taking on these different roles from myself makes me feel alive and gives me blood. I’m breathing and alive when I’m acting and I’m confident when I’m acting. I’m not always in real life, but I would like to be. So I think I’m very different for sure.
What are you working on now?
I’m going to Ireland to shoot the second season of Penny Dreadful. I get to play a very gifted and fabulous character. It’s an interesting character and one of the most interesting I’ve gotten to play. She’s in the dark but she’s fighting to get to the light and she goes through such an amazing, rich journey.
Let’s talk about your latest, very exciting, project – the television series Penny Dreadful. How did you get involved?
This is a good question. I’m not quite sure. It was the fortunate turn of events that Showtime approached me with an offer to write the score. Not the opposite, as it usually happens. There were apparently a few people who recommended me. Firstly, John Logan, the writer and creator of Penny Dreadful, knew and appreciated my work. Secondly, it was Juan Antonio Bayona who directed and shaped the series. Eva Green would play my music on the set, while they were shooting. She was a great ambassador (for my music).
I got invited to Dublin for meetings with Bayona, Logan and Eva Green. It was a great feeling, that my music was expected and requested. Also, seeing all the sets, built with such astonishing level of detail, was really a great experience.
Read the rest of his interview HERE.
Source: Films On Wax
Our friend Thomas Perillon of Le Bleu du Miroir recently got to interview The Salvation’s director Kristian Levring and its main protagonist and Eva Green co-star Mads Mikkelsen in Paris. Here are what they have said about Eva and her participation in the film:
THOMAS PERILLON: Mads Mikkelsen was an obvious choice for the main part. What about Eva Green who probably has the most complex and enigmatic part of the movie ?
KRISTIAN LEVRING: Actually, I met Eva pretty quickly after Mads confirmed us his will to do it. I needed an actress with the necessary strength for the part, to play this mute character on screen. I had the feeling that Eva would be interesting in that way. When I met her, we started to talk about the part, she was very intrigued but a bit uncomfortable. For an actor, dialogues are very important. But she made her decision during this first meeting because she really wanted to accept that challenge. Working with Eva was very easy. She understood immediately what I was expecting from her to play Madelaine, how to communicate only with her eyes and body-posture.
THOMAS PERILLON: What you did in The Salvation with this character Avenger driven by Mads Mikkelsen or mute Widow played by Eva Green…
Exactly. When we wrote the film, we have severely limited the dialogues. Sometimes a character had long dialogues but it was not true to the spirit of the Western. We had to shorten to go to the essentials. So we are left with very little dialogue – especially compared to what I used to do. It also was a challenge that was interesting to meet: Bringing more things with the fewest possible words. Suggest rather than show.
THOMAS PERILLON: What made you think about Madelaine’s character, played by Eva Green?
KRISTIAN LEVRING: Her character was made after a classic western, The Searchers by John Ford. In his 50s movie, John Wayne goes looking for a woman who got kidnapped by the Indians. I love this movie, it’s a masterpiece. Madelaine’s story is mainly inspired by this character.
Read the rest of Thomas’ interview with Kristian Levring HERE.
THOMAS PERILLON: This is the second time you co-star with Eva Green and still no word exchanged on the screen. It’s a funny coincidence, right?
MADS MIKKELSEN: That’s right, this is not the first time we made this remark … In the film we had shot before, we had not hardly spoken to (Mads Mikkelsen and Eva Green does not communicate in their common sequences of Casino Royale , ed.) And in this one … I do not say a word either! You could say that we had an almost brotherly relationship. But Eva is a beautiful woman and a fantastic actress with whom I enjoyed reworking.
Read the rest of Thomas’ interview with Mads Mikkelsen HERE.
Eva Green first made a splash as an actress by appearing nude in Bernardo Bertolucci’s sexually-charged 2003 film, The Dreamers. Now, just over a decade later, the former Bond girl (she played Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale) is again making waves as the oft-naked femme fatale in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, the long-awaited sequel to the original 2005 film. Even the poster for the film was banned in the US for showing the outline of Green’s ample bosom under a white shirt. None of this is of much concern to the fearless French actress, however, who has few qualms about nudity.
“I don’t understand the fuss,” Green says. “No one in Europe pays much attention to nudity, and even though I’m not particularly desperate to show my boobs, I was willing to do it for this film because it’s shot with such artistry and beauty.
“I had to almost forget that I was naked so that I would stop worrying or feeling self-conscious when I was standing naked in front of a crew wearing nothing but a thong. You don’t have any other choice.”
Directed by Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller (the author of the Sin City graphic novels), A Dame to Kill For sees Jessica Alba return to her role as exotic dancer Nancy Callahan who is determined to avenge herself against her tormentors. While Alba once again declined to appear naked, Green’s sensational physique is fully on display as femme fatale Ava Lord whose psychotic delight in sending men to their doom makes this of the most memorable female performances in years.
The visually-stunning, avant-garde film was shot in 3D using green screen technology where the actors worked on a bare set with the background filled in later during the post-production process. The cast includes original Sin City actors Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis, Rosario Dawson and Benicio Del Toro while Josh Brolin and Joseph Gordon-Levitt join Green as key newcomers.
The 34-year-old Eva Green is also about to start filming the second season of the Showtime TV series, Penny Dreadful, a Victorian era horror/thriller co-starring Timothy Dalton and Josh Hartnett. She will also be seen in The Salvation, a western feature that reunites her with her Casino Royale co-star, Mads Mikkelsen. Some of Green’s recent films include this year’s 300: Rise of an Empire, and Dark Shadows (2012), which co-starred Johnny Depp.
Eva Green (her last name comes from her Swedish dentist father and is pronounced “Gren”) is currently single and lives in the Primrose Hill section of London. Her mother is retired French actress Marlene Jobert. Eva also has a non-identical twin sister, Joy, who is married to an Italian count from the Antinori winemaking family and lives in Normandy.
Q: Eva, your appearance as Ava Lord in this Sin City sequel is causing a minor sensation in the press. Do you think the amount of nudity involved is justified?
GREEN: I wouldn’t have done the film if I didn’t think that the nudity was handled in a beautiful and sensual way… I trusted Robert (Rodriguez). He came to my trailer and swore to me that I would look amazing with the right lighting and shadows. You feel quite vulnerable and exposed of course when you are naked on a set. You also feel silly standing naked with the green screen behind you and you’re all alone on a stage. It’s not that sexy at all when you’re doing scenes naked. But you trust Robert and Frank’s vision and it looks stunning. It’s not vulgar, it’s not indecent – it’s art.
Q: Is the nudity meant to shock audiences?
GREEN: I don’t think so. It’s being faithful to the atmosphere of the graphic novels that Frank Miller wrote and my character is the archetypal femme fatale. Ava uses her body as a means of manipulating men and getting them to do anything she wants.
Nudity is a weapon for her. I’m playing ‘a dame to kill for’ as the title says, and her physical and psychological aura is so strong that she literally drives men so crazy that they are willing to kill or be killed for her.
Q: You’ve done nudity before, including a memorable nude scene in your first film, The Dreamers. Does it bother you that nudity seems to cause so much of a fuss in some countries?
GREEN: I am a bit frustrated with all the talk about my nude or sex scenes. I’m not a porn actress! (Laughs) But sometimes if you’re going to play a character there’s going to be sex involved because that’s a very normal aspect of life and most people are naked when they f**k! Nudity is a lot easier to play than doing a sex scene which can feel cold and mechanical because you’re being told to put your hand here or there or the actor is told to put his hand on your boob and then kiss your breasts and so on. That can be much more awkward although if you’re shooting a sex scene all day it just becomes boring after a while.
Q: Is it fun to play such a dark character like you do in Sin City?
GREEN: You enjoy the sense of power she has. She’s the ultimate kind of man-eater, a total fantasy who changes her personality and behaviour to transform herself into exactly what men desire and what any given man wants her to be. Ava has the kind of power that a lot of women would like to have over men! (Laughs)
She’s a true chameleon and it was interesting to be able to play all the variations of her character – one moment she’s a damsel in distress and the next moment she’s this sensual goddess and then she’s a total bitch. She’s a psychopath with absolutely zero sense of right or wrong and no conscience whatsoever and definitely the most evil woman I’ve ever played or could imagine playing.
Q: What was it like working with such an interesting cast?
GREEN: I was very excited to be asked to do the film. I was cast at the last moment, about a week before shooting started, but I was so happy to be part of it. I was also very happy to get to work with Josh Brolin whom I’ve admired for many years. He brings so much intensity and emotion to his facial expressions and he has these sharp features that are perfect for the extreme character he plays.
Q: The film is shot entirely on a empty set with a green screen in the background. How difficult is it to act with no scenery or props of any kind?
GREEN: It’s very close to being on stage. When you do theatre, the furniture and background is usually very minimal you don’t pay any attention to the props. All your energy is focused on the other actor or actors you’re playing your scene with. That’s how it was making this film. There’s just the crew around you and you have to imagine the setting that’s eventually going to be filled in later. I had read the graphic novels before starting work on the film and so I had a good understanding of the surroundings.
You also get used to miming opening a door or looking in certain directions where something is supposed to be happening or knowing where the walls are supposed to be. It takes a bit of discipline but it also intensifies your work because your entire concentration is on the other actor.
Q: You tend to play extreme characters. Do you think the public has a strange perception of you?
GREEN: (Laughs) Most people have this image of me as a very dark kind of woman or a real bitch. It probably doesn’t help that I like to wear black a lot and that adds to the impression that I’m very cold or distant. I should probably try to play more balanced kinds of characters but often the juiciest roles for women are the darker characters. But it would be nice to do a good love story once in a while although no one thinks of me when it comes to those kinds of films.
Q: Most people don’t know that you’re actually quite fair-haired in real life?
GREEN: I’m fairly blonde. I’ve been dyeing my hair black since I was 15 and I’ve stuck with that look ever since. It’s my way of hiding myself I suppose. I think I look more interesting with dark hair. It’s part of my self-image and we all have a darker side. I like to put masks on sometimes because I haven’t always been that confident and you fall into the trap of continuing to hide your real self even though you’ve changed and grown a lot as an individual. I feel more open but it’s not always easy for me to show that.
Q: Are you a fairly fearless person?
GREEN: Oh, no! I can be confident about some things in my life but I often become very anxious when I’m thinking about a film and I’m not sure how to approach my character. I go up and down. Some days I will feel very strong and determined and other days I will feel lost in life and wondering what I’m doing. I would like to be more like my mum who is much tougher than I am.
Q: You’ve appeared in some big films of late like 300 and Dark Shadows. Do you think A Dame to Kill for will lead to a lot more work for you?
GREEN: I don’t know. I hope so! (Laughs) I always feel it’s a miracle when I get offered any role. I’m surprised that I’m allowed to do this job. Making movies is my way of living out different kinds of fantasies and that’s one of the main reasons I love acting so much.
I’m still trying to be less intellectual in my approach to my work and more instinctual, though. I would like to be more natural in the way I get into my characters and let myself rely on my instincts more. I’m naturally shy and introverted and it’s a side of myself that acting helps me overcome. But it’s a slow process.
Q: You’re often portrayed as a sex symbol and your Sin City film will probably add to that kind of image. How do you feel about that?
GREEN: I have always felt very self-conscious about my appearance. I have never seen myself as being beautiful the way I am sometimes described in the media. Whenever I spend time in Los Angeles I tend to feel ugly compared to all the beautiful women there. It’s not part of the way I see myself at all.
Q: Are you confident when it comes to love?
GREEN: It’s beautiful to feel intense passion but it’s also dangerous. It’s hard to have your heart broken and you want to protect yourself from being hurt again. But you have to be able to grow and learn with each relationship and hope you find love.
By Emily Zemler
Eva Green is impressively terrifying in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. In the film, out August today, the French actress embraces the role of Ava Lord, a dangerous femme fatale set on revenge and murder. It’s an impressive and powerful performance from Green, who also recently appeared in 300: Rise of an Empire and currently stars on Showtime’s Penny Dreadful. The role also meant that Green spent much of filming with director Robert Rodriguez in various states of nudity. So much so that the promotional poster for the movie featuring the actress was deemed too racy and had to be edited due to the visibility of a nipple. We caught up with Green at a recent press day for the film in Los Angeles and chatted about working on Sin City, being naked and that infamous nipple incident.
You’ve been making a lot of movies with green screen lately.
I mean, I didn’t do this movie because it was green screen. It was a really cool project. The script was great. And yes, it was green screen–ike greener than ever: no furniture, no nothing. There was nothing there. Sometimes you have props, but it’s quite a weird world. The first day you’re like, ‘Oh my God.’ I was lucky because I had real actors to interact with. I know some of the other actors did not have that chance.
Is that a challenge to have nothing around you?
You don’t know how it’s going to turn out. So the other actor is saving you. It’s like theater. I haven’t done theater in 10 years.
So this is like doing theater without actually doing theater?
Yeah, exactly. You have a small audience and you can fuck up. It’s wonderful.
Why was the character of Ava Lord interesting to you?
She is so extreme and irreverent. She’s like a homage to the great characters of film noir. It was just fun to play somebody so evil. She’s so jaded with no sense of morality. I’m so not like that.
She definitely taps into something most women probably wish they could channel.
Yeah, I wish I had a bit of her power. She’s scary.
You basically wear no clothing the entire movie. Was there ever any trepidation about being naked so much?
Any actor and any actress are very nervous when we have to do that kind of scene. It is not gratuitous [with Ava]–the way she uses sexuality to get men and use men is part of her character. But also it’s not realistic. It is art. Robert lights it in such a way. He promised me there would be lots of shadows and stuff and things would be added in post. That was very important. But on the day you feel nervous. And then you kind of forget that you’re naked. It’s very strange. You’re so stressed that it’s like, ‘I’m not naked. I’m not naked. I’m not naked.’
Do you do anything the day before to prepare for that?
A lot of actors get drunk. But I was cast a week before shooting so I didn’t have time to do much prep at all: So no time to go to the gym. I put myself in the hands of Robert and asked him to remove the cellulite in post-production.
Is that the secret to losing cellulite?
I don’t know! I think with shadows they can. I mean, can you imagine a femme fatale with really bad cellulite? That would be another version of ‘Sin City’!
Speaking of nudity, what was your reaction to the controversy over your poster for the film?
I don’t really understand it. If people have a problem with the poster then they’ll probably have a problem with the film. You see nothing on the poster really. It’s like ‘Why?’ I thought it was bad publicity or something. I don’t know what the problem is.
I looked at the original and the edited version side by side and could not really see the differences.
There’s no difference! It’s a setup or something. I don’t get it.
What do you think about Americans being so prude when it comes to nudity and sex?
It’s very subjective. In this movie it’s so not pornographic. It’s very decent, I think.
What did you think of the film once you saw it?
I haven’t seen it! I hate watching myself. It has nothing to do against the film. It’s just me and my ego. I can’t watch myself. I become very self-conscious.
Will you ever do theater again? You don’t have to watch yourself there.
I’m the kind of the person where that would suit me. I’m a control freak and I could prep, but it’s so stressful. I’m so worried about blanking out onstage. It happened to me, actually. At three o’clock every day you go, ‘Okay, in four or five hours I have to go there.’ I have so many butterflies and I get so nervous. There’s a part of me that would love to, but I don’t know if I’m brave enough to go back there.
Do you have that same anxiety on a film set?
No. Because you can fuck up and do it again.
By Kyle Buchanan
“You cannot defeat the Goddess,” says one character in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. “She cannot die.” He’s referring to Ava Lord, the seductive black widow who gives the film its title, and when she’s played by Eva Green, who can blame him for using heavenly superlatives? There’s always been something otherworldly about Green, who first impressed (and undressed) in Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Dreamers, won best Bond Girl ever honors withCasino Royale, and just this year starred as the formidable Artemesia in 300: Rise of an Empire and toplined the Showtime series Penny Dreadful. A few weeks ago in Los Angeles, the slinky Green met up with Vulture at The Four Seasons to tell us how she got into character for the Robert Rodriguez–directed Sin City, and how she felt about getting out of her clothes for it.
Do you consider yourself an inhibited person when you’re not shooting?
So it must surprise you how bold you can appear onscreen, especially in all of Sin City‘s sex scenes.
It’s very ironic, because I’m very shy. People don’t believe me: “She did The Dreamers, and all these other nude scenes!” But I remember telling my publicist, “I’m really naked in Sin City. Just wait.” I don’t know any actor who’s comfortable with nudity, but it’s not gratuitous in this film, because she uses her body as a weapon. Still, in the morning when you have a nude scene, you want to die. You feel quite silly to be in a tiny thong with Josh Brolin, who’s wearing flesh-colored Spanx, and you’re in front of a green screen — like, “This is not happening!” But Robert told us, “I’m going to add lots of shadows, and you’ll look great. I knew that I could trust him.
When you play a character like that, does any of that confidence carry over into your real life?
Maybe it gave me some confidence in doing press, because I used to be very nervous doing interviews for TV — and I’m still not great, I get sweaty — but I got better. At school, I was really shy. If a teacher asked me a question in front of other people, I’d melt. Lots of actors are very scared in real life, actually.
Your characters are so forward with men. Are you?
No. I’m shit. [Laughs.]
How much freedom as an actor did you have in a film like this, where Robert is trying to re-create a lot of the frames from the comic almost exactly?
It’s funny, because I was really worried about that before I started filming: Oh my God, you have to be so still! Can I even move my finger? Can I touch the other actor? And yes, he frames each shot like a painting and you have to hit the mark, and some of the stuff he wants exactly like in the comic book, but it was fine — especially because I had real actors in front of me, because I know some of the other actors didn’t. I wouldn’t have liked that, so I was really lucky.
Did you have to do a lot of work beforehand?
I was cast very last minute, like a week before shooting, and usually I like to prep, so I was panicked: “Oh my God, I have to work on an American accent and find the character, and there’s so little time!” So I watched some film noir, like Barbara Stanwyck in Double Indemnity, because this is so femme fatale. At the beginning, I looked at my character and thought, My God, she’s so evil. There are no cracks in her, and her heart is so hard. I’ve played evil before, but that one was 200 percent evil, so I had to find the jubilation in playing her. I brought my body and my heart to Ava Lord.
And none of the men in this movie can withstand her.
Yeah, she’s quite scary. Quite scary! It would be interesting to do a prequel, just to find out why she’s so hard. Maybe she was traumatized? Or maybe she was born crazy.
What do you get out of doing a show like Penny Dreadful, which is about to go into its second season?
It’s fun, and I love fun. I love playing mad people, actually. My character looks quite guarded and very Victorian and tight, and to be able to let it all out … it’s so fun to be that irreverent. It’s like having a really bad Tourette’s moment.
Do you watch the show? Did you see the seance sequence from your second episode?
No, I haven’t! It’s horrible.
Well, at least watch the show so you can get to the part where Josh Hartnett and Reeve Carney make out.
Oh my God. Oooh! [Laughs.]