By Neala Johnson
“It’s nice,” says Eva Green, “not to play the girlfriend.”
“I don’t want to be the woman in the script where it goes, ‘There’s a beautiful, mysterious woman …’ Just, OK, forget it. I think I would feel unhappy … Some people play it very well but I want to be as equal as a man, you know what I mean?”
Oh, we know what she means.
As far as mysterious girlfriends go, Green played a stunner — to Daniel Craig’s James Bond in his first, bracing outing, Casino Royale.
So impactful was Green’s Vesper Lynd, Bond basically spent the next three films getting over her.
But now the London-based Frenchwoman is over it too. Searching for the word to perfectly capture what she wants to do from here on in, Green finally settles upon “other”.
“It’s exciting to be other.”
If it’s other she wants, Green could wish for no better co-conspirator than Tim Burton.
She teams with the famously eccentric director for a second time on Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, a fantastical adaptation of Ransom Riggs’ best-selling young-adult novel.
Green plays Miss Peregrine, a woman who, while protecting a gaggle of children with unusual abilities from outside threats, also has a peculiarity of her own: as the name suggests, she can transform into a bird.
“I remember Tim called me a year before the shoot. He was like, ‘I’ve got this book, I wonder if you would be interested?’ I was like, ‘Anything, I’d play anything for you’. But he was like, ‘No, no, I want you to read it and see if you like her’.”
A woman-bird who’s handy with a crossbow, has absolutely no love interest and is slightly bonkers? It’s safe to say Green liked her.
“Tim called her Scary Poppins, which I thought was quite funny,” the 36-year-old laughs. “But she’s not a bad, mad woman — it’s all to save her children. She has the ability to transform into a peregrine falcon and because peregrine falcons are the fastest animal on earth, she delivers lines very quickly.
“I watched some documentaries on birds. It was kind of a challenge — I was trying to have little, sharp movements with my head and not much blinking at all, using my hands like claws, my long nails. You always worry that you’re going a bit over the top, but I had a lot of fun … playing her like Mary Poppins on speed.”
By Naomi Pike
Eva Green might be a Bond girl, a Hollywood leading lady and a BAFTA winner, but she’ll never forget her first time gracing the cover of Vogue. Green’s debut was almost eight years ago, but she can recall the shoot with Patrick Demarchelier as though it was yesterday.
“He is such a wonderful photographer and it’s effortless as well. It’s timeless and sophisticated and I always love his use of lighting. He’s an artist that doesn’t have an ego. There is a relationship with him – it’s not that I’m an object.” The rapport that the pair share is visible in the black and white images that the shoot produced. She’s laughing and pulling faces, but strikes a glamorous pose in Prada on the cover.
While she might be happy to reminisce over her time shooting for Vogue, one thing she confesses she is “not great” is watching her own films. When we meet she is yet to see Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, in which she takes the titular role.
Another part of the acting rigmorale that Green prefers to steer away from – and is now in a position to have the option to avoid – is auditioning. “I’m always blessed when I’m not auditioning. I hate auditions. I’m rubbish, actually, and I get so nervous. My heart is about to pop out. It’s a disaster.”
Green is not a person you think of having a nervous disposition. On the red carpet she chooses bold yet ephemeral styles – something that could be linked to the characters she has chosen to play in her over 15 years on screen.
“It’s funny really as I don’t really have time to try on clothes,” she remarks as the conversation turns to the “baroque” aesthetic that she has become synonymous with. For the premiere of the film which marks the second time she has worked with Tim Burton, Green chose a scarlet Elie Saab gown.
However, securing her first choice was a bit more problematic. “I would have loved to wear an original Alexander McQueen dress, because he loved birds,” she reveals. As the name might suggest, her character Miss Peregrine is able to transform into a peregrine falcon, so a feathered gown would have felt particularly apt. “But it’s all in museums,” she sadly confesses.
Green first made a name for herself in Bernardo Bertolucci’s 2003 film The Dreamers, and the now 36-year-old admits that the pressures of being an actress in Hollywood have altered for her. Now it is age as well as “fighting to not play a love interest.”
Green has kept her personal life out of the public eye. Unlike many of her peers, her social-media presence is minimal. Her friends keep trying to persuade her to join Instagram but she fears the intrusion. “I prefer having my own bubble and I would feel too vulnerable to have it exposed. I think I’ve always protected myself quite well but it’s always been tough since day one. That’s the big challenge, and at the same time to remain vulnerable as an actor. Sometimes I just want to say ‘fuck it, I’m going to in the mountains with my animals’ and not to have to deal with all that cruelty.”
They say you should never work with children or animals, but with the majority of the roles in Miss Peregrine being played by those not yet able to even hold a UK driving licence, she was left with little choice. Not that her experience was anything but pleasant. “Sometimes you worry are they going to be focused enough? Are they going to get tired? And actually absolutely all of them were focused, very professional. They were just beautiful. I was so nervous before meeting them because you can feel that they can see through you, and you’re not going to be credible as a strong headmistress-like figure. But there is a grace to children and as an actress that is wonderful to watch. It’s a real inspiration.”
The book that which this film is based on was released for the YA audience 2011, but feels completely at home in the world of Tim Burton. The characters as atypical as the ones most associated with him: Edward Scissorhands, Jack Skellington, the Maitlands.
Much like her feelings for Demarchelier, Green has great affection for Burton. Ahead of this film, the two had previously worked together on 2012’s Dark Shadows.
“He is so easy to work with,” she says warmly. “The wonderful thing about Tim is that he has no ego. He is very kind, normal and fragile. There is something equal with him that I love. Even working with the children he was like ‘What do you think? How do you feel?’ which is so nice. He’s so open to ideas as well. He’s wonderful and amazing.”
As it to be expected in any Burton epic, the visual is as much of a defining characteristic as is the plotline itself. Green’s character is all dark colours, nipped-in waists and striking shoulders. Her signature midnight black hair, which so seduced the camera in Casino Royale, is pinned with a cowlick curl. While her locks might be more on the navy side for this character, in reality Green’s hair is surprisingly little more dramatic than a “mousey” shade, reflecting her Swedish-French roots.
“My dark blonde was actually quite bland,” she confesses, admitting that she has darkened it to have “something happening” since she was a teen. “A friend of my mum had very dark hair. She was from Yugoslavia and I wanted to look like her.”
Besides wanting to look like her mum’s friend, a darker shade did feel more natural for the young actress. But, much like she won’t be defined by the characters she plays, the decision was not as simple as “I am dark, so I should have dark hair”, or a case for wanting to be more easily recognisable. Green admits to possessing the ability to make herself invisible as she walks through London in swathes of scarves and glasses. Unfortunately, with her CV continuing to expand and a beauty as powerful as hers, her anonymity is becoming scarcer and scarcer.
By Stephen Schaefer
As the protective mistress of a troupe of World War II orphans, Eva Green vividly creates a woman with extraordinary powers in Tim Burton’s “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” (now in theaters).
In 1943, with Nazi Germany bombing Britain, Green’s Miss Peregrine fiercely guards her young charges — each of whom has a distinctive “peculiarity,” like the ability to freeze objects, float up into the sky or ignite fires.
Their mistress has a power of her own: the ability to transform into a peregrine falcon.
For Green, 36, that meant screening a 1965 film classic and meeting a falcon.
“The indication Tim gave me was, ‘She’s like a weird Mary Poppins.’ So I watched ‘Mary Poppins.’ It’s more than she can fly. It’s more the physicality because of her bird-like quality.
“A peregrine falcon is a bird of prey. It’s the fastest animal on the planet, so doing a Tim Burton movie, you have to bring an edge to it. You move your head quite sharply. You can’t blink. I had to deliver the lines very fast, sort of like Mary Poppins on speed. That was fun!”
As for that falcon, “It was quite regal, actually. There’s something quite acute and fascinating. They remain quite still, and in a second, grab the prey — and that’s it.
“That’s why Tim calls her ‘Scary Poppins’ — because she’s a bird of prey; she can kill to protect her children. But she has that maternal quality as well.”
Did Green, who just ended her “Penny Dreadful” series on Showtime, get in touch with her inner bird?
“God! It’s true,” she said, laughing. “It’s not too easy playing a bird. It’s all very angular, precise. On my own, I tried to be a bit sharp. It’s just a feeling — you worry: ‘I might have gone too far, done too much.’ But Tim’s there, and he would say, ‘less,’ ‘more.’ ”
As this film is Green’s second collaboration with Burton, following 2012’s “Dark Shadows,” some critics have anointed her as the legendary filmmaker’s muse.
“I don’t know. Muse is such a big word. It’s quite intimidating, a big responsibility. I’m just flattered he asked me to be part of this adventure.”
As Eva Green reunites with Tim Burton on the big screen, the former Bond girl chats to Susan Griffin about playing ‘Scary Poppins’ and her memories of Casino Royale, a decade on…
Eva Green is lamenting her age. “I feel old,” she exclaims when asked how it feels to mark a decade since the release of Casino Royale, the Bond movie that marked Daniel Craig’s debut as 007.
Green played Bond girl Vesper Lynd, a role she’s “proud” to have tackled, although she was tentative when first approached.
In her head, she no doubt had visions of playing bikini-clad arm candy, so was pleasantly surprised to hear the outline for the character: a foreign liaison agent who beguiles Bond but whose deception ultimately leads to her demise.
“Vesper was an enigmatic character, but very human, very sensitive, and it was mainly the love story that was very appealing to me in that one,” remarks the 36-year-old actress, beautiful yet delicate-looking in floor-length black lace.
Green was born in Paris but speaks in an acutely-enunciated English accent, her blue-green eyes defined by layers of smoky eye shadow. She’s friendly, but not someone who will fill the air with unnecessary and inane chatter.
The rumours continue as to whether Craig will step down from the role following his fourth outing in last year’s Spectre.
Does she think it’s time for him to hang up the tuxedo?
“I don’t know,” ponders Green. “He does what he wants, but he’s such a wonderful Bond because he’s so in his body. He’s sexy, raw and rugged.”
Since her debut screen role in Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Dreamers in 2003, where she and her co-stars, Michael Pitt and Louis Garrel, spent a large proportion of their screen-time naked, the actress has forged a reputation for playing empowered women, entirely confident in their own skin. But they’re not all femme fatales, she notes, as is often perceived.
“I played a femme fatale 100 per cent in [2014’s] Sin City: A Dame To Die For, there are not many dimensions, she’s like a psychopath,” notes Green, who studied acting in London and directing in New York, and won the Bafta Rising Star Award in 2007.
“In the other roles I’ve played – some of the roles anyway – they’re strong women, but there is more behind the strong facade. There are cracks in the armour and they’re quite complex.”
Her Bond role aside, Green’s standout performances include Sibylla, Queen of Jerusalem in Ridley Scott’s A Kingdom Of Heaven, warrior Artemisia in 300: Rise Of An Empire, and the possessed Vanessa Ives in the horror series Penny Dreadful.
By Larushka Ivan-Zadeh
In real life, Eva Green is as curious as her characters. In Hollywood, that makes her a breath of fresh air.
‘A BIT bonkers and eccentric — such an unusual character,’ is a phrase actress Eva Green could use to describe herself. Instead the 36-year-old Parisian is enthusing about her titular role in Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children as a magical, pipe-smoking headmistress who can turn herself into a peregrine falcon.
Miss P’s pupils include an invisible boy and a girl who floats like a balloon. Little wonder director Tim Burton dubbed her ‘Scary Poppins’.
‘I love playing someone like this, who isn’t a love interest,’ says Green, whose breakout turn as Bond’s most significant girl in Casino Royale saw the awards come rolling in. ‘I often get asked if I get worried about being typecast as a femme fatale. But I have played so many other things! It makes me sad. Is that how people see me, as a dark kind of icy image? I hope not.’
Green may insist ‘I am not a goth. I am a big geek!’, but today she certainly looks the part: her marble flesh is made paler by her raven tresses (‘it’s actually dark blonde — I have dyed my hair since I was 15’), her petite frame is clad neck to ankle in a black lacy-sleeved Elie Saab trouser suit, all topped off with her favourite chunky silver skull ring.
Bernardo Bertolucci, who cast her in his sexually graphic drama The Dreamers aged 19, once described her as ‘so beautiful it’s indecent’, but the French/Swedish actress is now more likely to be typecast as a witch (as she was in The Golden Compass and Burton’s Dark Shadows, plus a possessed medium in Penny Dreadful) than a Euro sex kitten. It’s something of a relief that in person Green is warm, fascinating company and refreshingly peculiar.
– Magazine & Newspaper Scans > 2016 > F*** Magazine — September 2016
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– Magazine & Newspaper Scans > 2016 > Premiere (France) – September/October 2016
Photographer: Ellen von Unwerth
Stylist: Sascha Lilic
Hair: Maxime Mace
Make-Up: Kay Montano
Manicure: Christina Conrad
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by Drew McWeeny
The first real rabid Penny Dreadful fan I talked to was Greg Ellwood here at HitFix. He was a steadfast believer the entire time it was on the air, and he encouraged me to watch it. I was busy cutting the cord, though, moving away from cable subscriptions. I had no cable in the house, none in my office, and chose not to watch anything on TV. I used Hulu, Netflix, HBO Now, Amazon Prime. And if a show didn’t land in one of the services I used, then it just went on a list of things to watch someday. Maybe.
Today is that day for Penny Dreadful for me. After Greg, the person who really picked up that ongoing advocacy for the show was Brian Duffield, who shares my deep abiding love of Eva Green’s work, and he has always been insistent that I was missing some of her very best work by not finding a way to watch the show. I couldn’t justify all of the expense for one title, though. I just waited, and when I moved into my new apartment this week, I finally reversed course, buying a cable/Internet bundle with a very healthy On Demand library. I checked to see if I had a Showtime folder, and then checked to see if they had all of the Penny Dreadful episodes, and just as I got excited about that, Netflix also added the series, although only the first two seasons.
It was suddenly abundantly available and so I put on the first one this morning while working, and that rolled right into the second one, and all of a sudden, there was Eva Green, and there was this seance, and she grabbed this script by the neck and cracked it open and drank the marrow and never once blinked, damn near staring the audience down, daring them to look away.
That’s Eva Green, though. From the moment she appeared in The Dreamers thirteen years ago, she made it clear that she was no one’s fantasy, no one’s object, no one’s simple fantasy. She is willing to follow a good piece of material anywhere, and watching her tear into good writing is one of the great pleasures of film these days. When I spoke to her about her work in 300: Rise Of An Empire, I was practically levitating because it’s such a knowing, accomplished piece of work. She read that script, she got exactly how to make that character spring to vivid life, and she dug in unabashedly. I don’t think Sin City: A Dame To Kill For is very good, but she positively skins it. She leans into the stereotypes that Frank Miller’s using and she twists them all into her own particular versions of them. When she played “the Bond girl” in Casino Royale, she ended up making Vesper into something just as morally and emotionally complicated as the original Ian Fleming conception of the character, if not more so.
Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows has 99 problems, but Eva Green ain’t one. She showed up to that film to play, and she owns Johnny Depp in every scene in the film. Seems apt. In a world where men get to be character actors for decades, building rich galleries of portrayals of a wide range of types and voices and backstories, women are often relegated to teasing out variations on a fairly limited range of roles. Eva Green has never allowed herself to be held back by that, though, and when a filmmaker understands just what a rich collaborator Green can be, it seems like there’s no limit to the rewards that the finished film will reap. She should have the kind of career Depp has, and it seems like she is forcing the industry to bend to that idea instead of her having to give up and just take the girlfriend or wife roles like everyone else.
Today is her birthday, and I don’t particularly care what number it is. What I care about is watching the rest of this series in the weeks ahead, and savoring the way a TV show, especially today as the caliber of writing seems to have risen across the board, allows a great actor to do something they can never do in film, living in a character’s skin over time, building in a million details that make the character even more vivid, even more real. And if I could give her one birthday present, it would be the promise that no one will ever do to her work what Ridley Scott did when he cut the theatrical version of Kingdom Of Heaven in 2005. Her character had a son in the film who played an essential role, but when Scott was pushed to create a theatrical version of the film that was an acceptable length, he chose to cut her son from the movie completely, and it destroyed her character in a way that was remarkable. It was only once I saw the longer cut that I realized just how impressive her work was, and how much William Monahan had given her to do. Here’s hoping that as she continues to move from role to role, filmmakers rise to the challenge and they write strong, smart, eccentric roles for her to play. I’m looking forward to seeing her play Miss Peregrine in Tim Burton’s Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, and you can see the latest trailer for it below. But I want more for her. I want her to conquer. I want her to find a filmmaker who is excited by what she brings to a collaboration. I want Hollywood to deserve her.
In the meantime, I’ve got lots more Penny Dreadful to get to. Celebrate her birthday right and join me if you’re also been missing out.
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