It’s not unheard of for an actor’s performance to define a film so greatly that it lifts that film to another level. It’s a little more rare, though, in a big-budget, visual-effects driven vehicle like this weekend’s “300: Rise of an Empire.” Yet it happens there because of Eva Green. She owns this movie.
Green — who rose to prominence after playing Vesper Lynd in 2006’s “Casino Royale” — will never be accused of phoning in this performance. She struts and swashbuckles her way through this “300” sequel with confidence and gusto. Actually, “sequel” isn’t quite the right word here. Green plays Artemisia, a commander of the Persian navel forces who battle the Greeks at the same time as the events of the original “300” are playing out. (Many times during this film, we will see glimpses of Gerard Butler’s King Leonidas and even Michael Fassbender’s Stelios.)
For being such an overwhelming force on screen (at one point Artemisia makes out with a decapitated head of a man she had just killed), Green, in real life, could almost be described as shy — and when we spoke, she hadn’t even seen the movie yet because she doesn’t like watching herself in movies. Boy, is she in for a treat.
I love that you went “all in” with this movie.
Oh, thank you … I haven’t had a chance to see the movie yet. That’s terrible — I’ll see it at the premiere.
So you don’t even know how good you are in this yet, do you?
Oh, I don’t like watching myself. But thank you for the kind words.
Thanks to Spot, BigMan3000, Sebastian and everyone else who shared links to the clips.
Eva Green found herself about to lay siege to an army of half-naked Greek soldiers, all of whom looked like they were carved out of marble.
There are perks to being one of two major female characters in the testosterone-infused “300: Rise of an Empire.”
“You can’t help but stare at the beginning,” the French-born actress tells the Daily News of the sequel to the 2006 hit that opens Friday.
“But after a while you become blasé about it. You don’t notice anymore.”
For her co-star Lena Headey, who reprises her role as Spartan Queen Gorgo from the original “300,” the most important man on the set was her 3-year-old son.
“He came on the day (of my big fight scene) and he was mightily impressed that he thought he had a ninja as a parent,” says the “Game of Thrones” actress, laughing.
“That was the highlight for me.”
Off-topic: Shameless Plug again
Two friends of ours have recently opened a fansite dedicated to the beautiful and talented French actress Adèle Exarchopoulos, who won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival (alongside Léa Seydoux and director Abdellatif Kechiche) and several other awards (including the César for Best Female Newcomer last Friday night) for her fantastic performance in Blue Is The Warmest Color. The site is still brand new and is a work in progress. So please take a tour, bookmark the address and keep checking it often for frequent updates and new additions. Belle is very respectful of Adèle and her career.
The film’s standout character this time around is not its hero but its key villain. As we quickly learn, Rodrigo Santoro’s would-be conqueror is all-but a pawn in the vengeful schemes of Eva Green’s Artemisia.
It is hard to argue that Green “steals” the picture when she is one of its lead characters, but hers is the kind of unapologetic arch-villain role that is all-too rare for actresses. It is a terrific performance, and she is aided by a tragic back story that gives the whole film a moral depth that the first film lacked, one that all-but-mocks the self-righteousness of the first film. Green is flat-out spectacular here, giving a fully physical and genuinely shaded star turn that is almost as exciting as all of the hacking and slashing. She has a great confrontation with our hero that deliciously plays with the whole sex/violence shtick while offering real character development that somewhat pays off in the finale. She is worth the price of admission all by herself, and if there were more female roles of this nature in major studio releases I’d complain a heck of a lot less.
Read the full article on Forbes. Thanks to Antigonus for the link.
Admittedly, even if you’re not really one for digital effects, the whole enterprise looks pretty grand. Yet the finest spectacle in all of Rise of an Empire is a human being: Eva Green plays resident bad gal Artemisia, commander of the Persian navy. As a child, she watched as Greek soldiers raped and killed members of her family; then the Greeks made her a slave, violating her and leaving her for dead. She was rescued by Persians and trained as a warrior. Now she hates all Greek men — wouldn’t you? — though her hormones kick into love-hate overdrive when she gets a gander at Themistocles and his noble brow (among other attributes).
But really, who’s looking at him? In her every scene — and thankfully, she’s in lots of them — Green’s Artemisia is something to behold. She makes her entrance in a fringed leather gown with a molded breastplate, sweeping into the Persian palace like a B.C. Morticia Addams. From there, her costumes become even more elaborate: There are one-shouldered numbers draped with chains and dotted with grommets, shimmery columns that resemble liquid metal, and, perhaps finest of all, a skin-tight sheath with a row of silver spikes running down her spinal column like a violent shiver. Artemisia wears gowns even onboard her ship, fer Chrissakes. Her over-the-topness — and, in one scene, her resplendent toplessness — really gets Rise of an Empire cooking.
Read the full article on The Village Voice. Thanks to Leo for the link.
Thanks to Antigonus for the link.
The first question that would seem to apply when regarding any sequel is “Does this feel like it is of a piece with the first film?” It doesn’t have to be the same movie to be a successful sequel, but it should do something interesting. It should either be a response to the first film or a deliberately different type of film or it should build on some interesting story thread or it should enhance our understanding of the world or the characters. By that standard, “300: Rise Of An Empire” is a worthy sequel to “300,” stylistically consistent and equally loony, featuring what may well be the first truly can’t-miss performance in a film this year.
It would not shock me if, twenty years from now, people talk about this film the way they talk about “Poltergeist” now, simply accepting it as common knowledge that Zack Snyder “really” directed the film. It is so precise in the way it builds off the first film’s visual style and so carefully built to wrap around the events of the first film narratively that it feels more like deleted scenes from the first film instead of something that stands alone. That may sound like an insult, but it’s not. I would assume Snyder, who co-wrote the script with Kurt Johnstad, probably signed off on every single storyboard, and I am sure Noam Murro was given full access to all the resources that Snyder had at his disposal. It’s remarkable how much this feels like it is simply more of the same story, told the same way.
Eva Green was really looking for an all-out villain to sink her teeth into, and she got that and more with the role of Artemisia in “300: Rise of an Empire.” Green (“The Dreamers,” “Casino Royale”) sat down with Metro to discuss playing nuts, using sex as a weapon and the allure the mystical side of things.
You’re playing more than just the typical villain in this.
Yes. I kill people, and I’m not very nice, yes. [Laughs] It’s pure villainy. You know, lots of actors will go, “No, she has cracks, she’s human.” And of course you learn about her backstory and how she’s been betrayed by her own countrymen and it has kind of hardened her heart big time. The only challenge is to find maybe some jubilation in this because yeah, she’s just… mental. She has no conscience and she can’t tolerate incompetence, and anybody who doesn’t follow her orders, just [snaps] “Off with his head!” You can’t do that in real life, really.
Not for very long, at least.
No. [Laughs] I think everybody would like to do that sometimes. She’s just so dark, she doesn’t care. She’s so disrespectful. She’s a real baddie.
Thank you to Spot for the link to this photo of Eva and the fabulous Lena Headey at the 300: Rise of an Empire premiere yesterday. We’ll be adding red carpet photos from the premiere soon as well.