By Stuart Jeffries
The star of gothic fantasy Penny Dreadful talks about the risks – and pleasures – of acting on the dark side
Only very beautiful women and, perhaps, motorcycle couriers can get away with leather trousers. Detective Saga Norén in The Bridge? Just about. Ronan Keating? Not so much.
These thoughts occur as I’m introduced to Eva Green at an apparently select members’ club in the gothic revival St Pancras Renaissance hotel in London. She’s wearing black boots, black leather trousers, tailored black singlet, has long, dyed-black hair and lots of black eye makeup.
“I am a vampire,” she laughs, as we retire to a sofa in a darkened corner, “and I never expose myself to the sun. I have very fine skin, you see.” She daily applies suncream (factor 30 or 50) under her makeup.
Green is drawn to the dark side in other ways. The 35-year-old French actor is in London to promote her role as gaunt, statuesque, demonically possessed, cheeks-sucked-in-so-much-it-must-hurt-after-a-hard-day’s-shooting clairvoyant Vanessa Ives in Sky series Penny Dreadful. The drama is a gothic mashup of Dracula, Dorian Gray, Frankenstein, steampunk aesthetics, vampires, werewolves, diabolical possession and obsolete alienist psychiatry. When I reviewed the first episode in 2014, I found it as impossible to take seriously as Ronan Keating in leather strides, notwithstanding all the impressive acting talent on show, including Rory Kinnear, Simon Russell-Beale, Helen McCrory, Billie Piper and Green herself. But the Victorian-set drama, whose third series starts this week, has since garnered decent ratings and won awards, so what do I know?
One day, Green whispers to me confidingly in husky, French-tinged, but nearly over-articulated English, she was in her trailer in Ireland. She was getting ready to film a scene in which Ives becomes demonically possessed and speaks in voices. In preparation, she was listening to a recording of the voice of a young German woman called Annaliese Michel. You can hear Michel’s ostensibly demonically possessed voice on YouTube, before she underwent Catholic exorcism rites in 1974. It is disturbing listening, and made all the more so thanks to hindsight: Michel died the following year, after which her parents and two priests were convicted of negligent homicide. “As I was listening to it,” says Green, “my makeup artist came in, heard these noises and said: ‘Oh my God, I’m getting out.’ And she ran off. I can understand why. It feels as if it’s contagious.”
by Ed Gross
There’s always been something betwitching about Eva Green, and that quality is on full display in Penny Dreadful, the John Logan created series that has just begun its third season.
The show, set in Victorian England, brings together many of the characters from classic Gothic literature – among them Dr. Frankenstein, Dorian Gray and, this season, Dr. Henry Jekyll – in an ever-growing canvas of storytelling. Green portrays Vanessa Ives, officially described as “poised, mysterious and utterly composed.” Vanessa is “a seductive and formidable beauty full of secrets and danger. She is keenly observant – clairvoyant even – as well as an expert medium. Her supernatural gifts are powerful and useful to those around her, but they are also a heavy burden. Her inner demons just may be more real than emotional, and they threaten to dextroy her relationships, her sanity and her very life.”
The actress’ credits have included such films as Ridley Scott’s Kingdom Of Heaven, the James Bond film Casino Royale, The Golden Compass, Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows, 300: Rise of An Empire and the forthcoming Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children. She had previously been drawn to television and the role of Morgan in the short-lived Camelot.
Empire conducted this exclusive interview with Green shortly before the premiere of the new season of Penny Dreadful.
Given a career made up so largely of film, what was it about Penny Dreadful that made you willing to commit to it?
The role is so meaty. It’s quite rare to find something so rich. John Logan really insisted and insisted and at first I was, like, “Oh my God, I can’t commit to TV. I don’t know if I can.” But then he really kind of talked me through the several seasons and the arc of the character is absolutely beautiful, so I couldn’t say no. So many things to explore as an actor; it’s a gift.
You mentioned the arc. How would you describe Vanessa’s evolution over the course of what we’ve seen so far?
Sometimes she goes back and forth. At the end of season two, she loses her faith, and faith was absolutely everything to her, so she’s most of the time in the darkness, but is somebody that aims towards the light. There’s a lot of turmoil… she’s someone who becomes almost like a Joan of Arc, but there is something very pure about her.
By Jennifer Weil
Eva Green is a multitasking maven. She recently took time out from filming the Tim Burton movie “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” to appear at the press launch in Paris of the new L’Oréal Professionnel Pro Fiber line. Green might have been named the international face of the L’Oréal-owned professional hair-care brand just a few months ago in late January, but hair has played a leading role all her life. The actress, sporting a long black Hervé Leroux dress, sat down with WWD at the Le Meurice Hotel to have a discussion.
WWD: You first dyed your hair dark around the age of 15. What made you do that?
Eva Green: I wanted to change something. You know, like when you go through your teenage years. I hated school. I was a good student, but I just wanted to breathe in something new. I was in awe of a friend of my mum who had dark hair. She was quite weird, beautiful. I was like: ‘Oh wow, I’ll go to the hairdresser and try that.’ So I went there, I dyed my hair blue-black and came back home. It took me a while to get used to it, and then I actually really liked it. I felt more like myself. It’s weird.
WWD: Has hair played an important part of your character creation at work?
E.G.: Hair defines your character, your state of mind. At the moment I’m in a Burton film, and it took weeks and weeks to find the right hairdo. It’s kind of a weird character. Her name is Miss Peregrine, so there is a bit of a birdlike hairdo in her. It helps you to create the character when you find the hairdo. It’s also like a costume.
WWD: What have been some of the interesting hairstyles you’ve had during your career?
E.G.: In “Dark Shadows” I wear a blonde wig. I was really worried at the beginning, … I was not sure [but] Tim Burton was like: ‘No, no I want you blonde.’ That made total sense for the character and actually was a very good idea, kind of a trashy Barbie. And that helps you tremendously to find the character.
I dyed my hair red six years ago, seven years ago for a role that I ended up not doing, but you feel different. I had a fringe, as well, a year ago for a movie called “White Bird in a Blizzard.” I kind of loved it. It’s a tiny detail, but you feel different. It’s funny.
WWD: What have been some of your favorite roles?
E.G.: I loved a movie called “Cracks” by Jordan Scott. It’s a small film, lots people haven’t seen it, unfortunately, but it’s a beautiful, passionate love story between a swimming teacher in the Thirties, that I play, and one of her students. I really loved that story. It was kind of a gift for an actor.
WWD: Are there any sorts of roles you’ve not gotten to play that you’d like to try?
E.G.: Yes, of course. It’s always hard as an actor because you’re being put in a box. Lots of journalists ask me: “Oh my God, why do you just play evil characters or dark characters?” I feel like I’ve played other characters, maybe that’s what you’ve seen only of me. I like complex characters, complicated people. In darkness you have light; you have different facets in the darkness. So maybe a comedy or something that people don’t expect me in — but the comedy is always a challenge, and it’s rare and it’s quite funny. But yeah, I’d like something kind of [like a] dark comedy.
WWD: Any directors you’ve not worked with yet that you’d like to try?
E.G.: I don’t know where to start. So many. Something simple. I’m sick of people saying that I do femmes fatales or I’m sexy. So I think I have to be careful now and play dirty hair, raw, a Mike Leigh movie or something, you know. No lipstick. I don’t know. Dirty hair for L’Oréal.
Something not too sophisticated, that’s what I mean. In “Penny Dreadful” I’m not very sophisticated. It’s not glamorous, let’s say.
WWD: What about stage acting?
E.G.: I’ve done plays. I get very nervous. I had a few blanks on stage so now I’m like, “Oh my God.” But it’s very electric, and it’s true that there is something kind of magical because there is a direct response with the audience. You’re not cut in the editing room. You are your own master, so that’s great but that’s really scary at the same time. I have to gain confidence again.
WWD: Back to beauty, what are your secrets?
E.G.: Sun cream, protection, food — what we eat is the most important: lots of green vegetables, raw vegetables, organic. Everything has to be organic.
By Katina Vangopoulos
From getting her acting start in Bertolucci film The Dreamers, Eva Green has spent the last decade on some of Hollywood’s biggest movie sets working with Ridley Scott and Robert Rodriguez to becoming a Bond girl. As her latest turn in White Bird in a Blizzard makes its debut on Blu-Ray, here’s a look at three Eva Green performances that lend to her standing as a modern femme fatale.
1. Vesper Lynd, Casino Royale
In what is arguably the best James Bond outing ever, Green is her most effective as the only woman to ever truly gain 007’s affection. Vesper Lynd is a woman torn between right or wrong as she is forced to play for both sides. But her love for Bond is real, Green able to switch from smouldering to caring with ease before breaking the action hero’s heart. As an unconventional Bond girl this not only made Green a star to be noticed, but made Casino Royale what it is – a Bond film with heart.
2. Ava Lord, Sin City: A Dame To Kill For
Frank Miller’s favourite Sin City creation came to life in a sequel nearly 10 years in the making, and Green revels in the neo-noir world of his imagining. Her turn as the dame of the title is the centrepiece of the film as she controls everyone and everything. Green is her most seductive as Ava, luring hapless men into a false sense of love and security. It’s safe to say she wasn’t too afraid to get her clothes off in the name of art either.
3. Angelique Bouchard, Dark Shadows
While the film as a whole was a bit of a jumbled effort by Tim Burton, Green is given a lot of room to ham up the femme fatale stereotype as Angelique, the witch obsessed with Johnny Depp’s Barnabas. She plays Angelique as a straightshooter with conviction, a businesswoman who knows what she wants. But her pining for Barnabas brings a lighter, near-comical side to the character, a point of difference for Green who is otherwise used to dramatic roles.
Source: Movie Mezzanine
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.
The French actress would have finally found her niche? She’s back with Penny Dreadful, an American horror TV series. Eva Green reveals her capacity of reinventing herself with genre films.
– Magazine Scans > GQ (France) – June 2014
Thanks to daphne for letting us know that Eva was featured in this week’s issue of Madame Figaro. 🙂
Magazines & Newspapers > 2014 > Madame Figaro (France) – February 21, 2014
Q&A session for Eva Green – 09.05.2013
9. What was your experience with Robert Rodriguez’s way of filming? I guess you shot a lot of scenes in front of a green screen. Was it more difficult than conventional shooting? How was the chemistry between you and Josh (Dwight) Brolin?
Well for the green screen, it was pretty distabilizing as there’s nothing real around you, so the most important thing is to connect with the other actor, otherwise you’re lost… Josh Brolin was a wonderful partner, he really does have that «film noir » aura about him, hard boiled with a heart of gold…
10. How do you spend your free time during shooting periods, e.g. in Austin and Johannesburg? (I hope there was (is) some free time…)
In Austin, it was a very intense shoot and as I was cast last minute, I spent all my free time working with my coach in my hotel room…
One of the nicest things about being an actor is you get to discover all these exotic places, and South Africa is one of the most beautiful countries I’ve ever been to. We shot « Salvation » surrounded by baboons, cheetahs, and buffalos… How cool is that ?
11. What do you prefer more: reading books or watching movies? Any books or movies that you liked lately?
I love both.
« Tabu » by Miguel Gomes was the last film I saw and I thought it was really a gem, we don’t make movies like this anymore. It was eccentric, gentle, and daring…
I just read « A Long Walk to Freedom » by Nelson Mandela and he is my hero !
12. What is your favorite sport? (either to watch or to do)
I love watching rugby. Very sexy, dirty men!
13. What’s more likely for you in the future: to play in a London theater someday or to create a twitter account 🙂 ? What’s your relation with new technologies (internet, smartphones, tablets, social media)?
I love the internet but it can be addictive…
14. According to your experience, talent or hard work is more important in becoming a good actress? Or is it actually talent for hard work?
Both talent and hard work are needed to become a success in any job.
15. A lot of reunions lately in your projects. How do you feel about collaborating with familiar people? By the way, do you keep contact with Bernardo Bertolucci?
It’s always nice to work with people whom I’ve worked with before… your first day of school becomes less daunting…
16. What was the best and the worst thing that happened to you during the last couple of years?
Working with Tim Burton was a dream come true… I can die now…
17. Finally, where are you now while completing this Q&A session?
I’ve just returned from South Africa… and keeping busy as usual…
— THE END — I hope that you enjoyed the reading! Thank you very much to Eva Green, her sister Joy and George. 🙂
Movies > Dark Shadows > Bluray Captures
I’ve been doing some updates into the media archive lately, added few videos we were missing and more will come for sure. Meantime enjoy those.
Our first EvaGreenWeb.com autograph contest was a huge success! We received tons of submissions, from lots of different countries! While I knew our contest would be well received, it exceeded my wildest expectations. That’s why, instead of 1 single winner, I decided to pick 2, so that more people would have the chance to win. We’re proud to announce that our first contest winners are: .Rooz (who won the Angelique Bouchard still from Dark Shadows, autographed especially by Eva Green) and spot (who won a beautiful professional shot autographed by our very own Ms Green as well)!!! Both girls are from different countries and different continents. We received submissions from all over the world, from Argentina to Indonesia, from Serbia to Taiwan, from Guatemala to Slovakia, from Brazil to Australia, from Bulgaria to China (for real, I kid you not!!!), etc, etc, etc!
Now, let me explain you how the winners were picked. We wrote down the names of all the contestants and had a friend of ours who has nothing to do with EGW and who doesn’t know any of you draw them from a hat.
We’re still holding a DVD contest for original and still wrapped R2 DVDs of Cracks and The Perfect Sense. Before entering our contest, be sure that you can play R2 DVDs and that you don’t own these films already. You still have time to enter the DVD contest in case you haven’t already!
Thanks to all of you for participating in this event. You are an amazing community and we love working with you! 🙂
Last but not least, .Rooz and spot, please email me at email@example.com with your full names and addresses. CONGRATS!!! 😀
Don’t worry, it won’t be our last contest… Stay tuned! 😉
Evening Standard Magazine (UK) – June 29, 2012, thanks to Lorna
Here’s a preview of what we’ll be picking as the winning prize for the first winner of the first EGW Autograph Contest. It’s a beautiful 8×10 photo of Eva as Angelique Bouchard. EvaGreenWeb.com won’t be written on the photo itself.
Please send your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org with the Subject “EGW Autograph Contest”, and give us your real name, your nickname, your country, and your email address.
We’ll have a winner before August.
Good luck everyone! 🙂
If you’re looking for a vamp, a sorceress or a sex bomb for your latest blockbuster, you call Eva Green. But away from the spotlight she’s misunderstood, finds Richard Godwin
When I arrive to have tea with Eva Green at Sketch, she has already taken command of a plush velvet sofa. One hopes to retain a certain cool when meeting an actress, particularly a French one, particularly one so devastating, and yet, I can’t help noticing, the only chair I can politely take is no higher than a badger. ‘It’s like Alice in Wonderland,’ she laughs, clearly happy to play the spectral queen as I perch at her feet. Or perhaps it’s simply the spell Eva Green casts?
Dressed all in black, dyed hair falling over her grey eyes in black strands (she’s a natural blonde), she appears to recede into the shadows. However, what at first seems like Gothic hauteur turns out to be something a little more delicate. She speaks in a soft staccato, with the barest breath of French accent. Occasionally, her voice fades out altogether, as if she is discreetly turning down the volume, but she is also quick to laugh. ‘A friend was telling me recently that people are scared of me,’ she says. ‘That’s the image I give, I guess. When they know me, they see it’s kind of a shyness thing. I don’t know why they’re scared. Is it my hair? The fact I don’t talk much?’
Fotogramas (Spain) – May 2012