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 Jennifer Vineyard
In the world of Tim Burton’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, the titular unusual kids are blessed (or cursed) with abilities like invisibility, floatation, or having a mouth at the back of their heads. But in the real world, those of us who don’t quite fit in aren’t lucky enough to live in a special home run by Eva Green. Instead, all we have is the comfort and consolation of knowing that we are not alone, that everyone out there is also hiding their own secret habit or quirk. At Monday’s Miss Peregrine’s premiere, Vulture caught up with the film’s cast in the hopes of getting them to share what makes them weird, and they dutifully obliged.
I was always quite weird, you know? I was very shy as a child. I couldn’t go to birthday parties, because I wasn’t very good with groups. I had to go see to a therapist for it. And sometimes I still feel too shy to join a group, and it makes me sad. And that’s why we do movies like this, to tell kids it’s okay: Whatever makes you weird makes you unique and special. I’m actually unloading my feelings with this movie!
By Tom Butler
Have you ever noticed how characters in Tim Burton films never seem to blink? Or point?
It’s all part of the filmmaker’s peculiar masterplan according to Eva Green, the star of the gothic maestro’s new film ‘Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children’, who told Yahoo Movies, “Tim doesn’t like blinking in general.”
“I don’t,” confirms Burton, “I don’t know why. Even when you’re mentioning it now, it freaks me out.”
“And, I don’t know if she mentioned, but Eva’s the only person that I ever let point on screen. I hate pointing, especially pointing extras. I’ve had that. I almost wanna cut their arms off, especially with extras.”
‘Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children’ – in UK cinemas from Thursday, 29 September – is based on Ransom Riggs’ best-selling YA novel of the same name. Released in 2011, the book features striking vintage black and white photographs of peculiar children that help illustrate the story about Jake, an American boy who travels to a remote Welsh island while trying to solve the mystery of his grandfather’s death, where he stumbles upon the mysterious children’s home.
The book spent a whopping 70 weeks on The New York Times Best Sellers list, before Tim Burton jumped aboard Fox’s adaptation, and now fans of the book will finally get to see the peculiar story on screen.
Here we recount the book’s journey from page to screen with help from Tim Burton and Miss P. herself, Eva Green.
A Peculiar Book
Tim Burton: It’d been a bestseller before I’d even ever heard about it.
So, I came into it quite late, but when I looked at the book, I think it’s probably the first time I ever looked at a book and liked it before reading it. Just because I liked the way that Ransom [Riggs] had constructed this story around these old photographs.
I had an immediate connection to that because I love old photographs, and I look at them, and I have some that I’ve collected – not as many as Ransom does, but I have a collection.
Eva Green: Tim said he was going to send me this book and if I was interested, he’d love for me to do it. Even without having read the book, I was in. But, he’s a gentleman so I read the book and I loved those haunting pictures first of all.
You open it and it’s kind of like ‘wow!’ It’s so odd and austere and beautiful and very Tim Burton actually. I found Ransom Riggs’ world and Tim’s are quite similar, so I read it and I immediately saw Tim’s magic in it, and it was an easy decision to make.
Tim Burton: You feel like when you see these photographs, you get such a mixture of feelings of haunting, spooky, funny, or emotional, or sad, or a weird sense of poetry about it, and I think it had all that.
Then when I read the book, I thought ‘wow’, it’s got all the types of themes that I like. The themes of ‘what’s real or fantasy?’ The feelings of feeling peculiar, the labels of that and also, with Jake’s character [played by Asa Butterfield], this idea of feeling like you’re awkward and you don’t fit it.
By Nick Romano
“This is just like speed dating,” Eva Green laughs as she slides into my booth.
Along with the other main cast of “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children,” she’s been cycling through journalists all day with new face popping by her table every few minutes for a quick chat.
When she gets to me, we have 10 minutes to discuss the Tim Burton film in the Gallow Green restaurant of the McKittrick Hotel in New York City, which is a dim-lit, fantastical eatery with an antique subway decorated with potted plants serving as our lunch spot. When our time is up, she’ll move on and repeat the process with another member of the press. So, yeah, it is like speed dating.
What do we use for ice breakers? The usual: the Lynchian menagerie that is this restaurant, the bird cage decorating her hotel room, and changing things up from her femme fatales roles by playing someone who would die for her children.
Moviefone: So, how is your day so far? Have you had a chance to explore this area?
Eva Green: No, no. I just stayed in my room. It was red and there was a bird cage in the back. It’s cool. It’s surreal. It’s like a [David] Lynch movie, like in “Twin Peaks.” I mean, my room was like that. It was all in red.
Yeah, I just got off the elevator and they were like, “Okay, you’re going into this room.” And I was like, “Is this a hotel?”
It is a hotel?
What? Like, for when you have an affair or something? It’s weird.
Alright, well, let’s jump right into this …
[Laughs] What’s your favorite color?
Right? I’m really curious how the character of Miss Peregrine was first pitched to you. Had you heard of the books at all, or were you going off of descriptions of her?
No. I remember Tim just said to me, it’s kind of a weird Mary Poppins, and I was like, “Oh, I always wanted to play kind of Mary Poppins.” And, yeah, he sent me the book — and, actually, I don’t know if you’ve read the book or saw pictures of the original Miss Peregrine, but she’s kind of austere. It’s something, you know, like long skirt and glasses, and Tim also set it in the ’40s and he wanted her to be a bit more rock ‘n’ roll, and a bit more wacko.
By Donna Freydkin
French actress Eva Green exudes a mysterious, cool edge. And it’s put to perfect use in “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children,” with Green playing the pipe-smoking headmistress of a haven for odd kids — those who defy gravity, or house a beehive within themselves, for example.
Green, who most recently embodied seductive, sultry and powerful Vanessa Ives in Showtime’s horror drama “Penny Dreadful,” approached the role in the Tim Burton film with one guiding principle: “That of a dark Mary Poppins. I spoke quite fast. There’s something very sharp and precise about her. No messing around. The bird movements. It could go wrong quickly – that was my worry,” says Green.
She fully embraced her character, who has the same habit as many a detective. “I had two pipes. I kept one of them. I learned how to smoke them. There’s an art to it. It’s a delicate art. It helps me as well to bring a virility to her. It’s such a cool prop,” she says.
Miss Peregrine can transform into a falcon. And she has her own power: the ability to stop time and live in an endless loop. Would Green ever want to do that in real life?
“I don’t think so. The idea of being stuck and being forced to relive things, it’s quite scary. But of course, if it’s a nice holiday – today, I’d like to go to this wonderful holiday in Africa I’d been to,” she says.
It was a vacation that changed her life. “I went to Africa on my own. It’s a bit strange. But I loved it. It was unbelievable. I was scared at the beginning. What am I doing? After a while, there’s something you learn about yourself but only if you’re on your own. There’s something so free about that. It’s empowering,” says Green.
Green broke out in “The Dreamers,” the 2003 deeply erotic film by Bernardo Bertolucci. She went on to play Vesper Lynd in 2006’s “Casino Royale” and Ava Lord in Frank Miller’s and Robert Rodriguez’s “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.”
But at no time in her career has she played the bland girlfriend, or the chipper spouse, or the pretty, wide-eyed arm candy. She has no plans to start now.
“I’ve never really played the love interest. I’ve never, ever accepted a role like that. But here it was nice to have a different goal, to have those children to look after. I love playing the protector,” she says. “I like characters who are complex. That’s why people sometimes say it’s dark. I don’t know what that means. It’s complex. Life is not rosy.”
Like actresses of yore, Green cultivates an air of mystery about herself. She is not on social media. She doesn’t do much press. And she doesn’t air her romantic dirty laundry in public.
“I feel like I’m old school,” she says of Twitter and Instagram. “It’s kind of scary. I could get addicted as well and I don’t want to get there. I understand that sometimes those media are good for a cause, or political things, for your work, that I understand. But to say you picked your nose at 4:30, that’s alien to me. You don’t want to give too much away. Look at me!”
By Mehera Bonner
The Miss Peregrine’s actress has officially reached muse-dom.
Not to be dramatic, but Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is Tim Burton’s best movie since Edward Scissorhands (that’s right, I went there), and that’s in large part thanks to Eva Green. The Parisian actress nails her titular performance as the quick-talking headmistress, so it’s no surprise that she’s been dubbed Tim Burton’s new muse. But is she ready to take the mantle from Winona Ryder and Helena Bonham Carter?
MarieClaire.com sat down with Green at the ultra-atmospheric McKittrick Hotel and talked about all things Miss Peregrine, whether she thinks the world is ready for a female James Bond, and her decision to work with controversial director Roman Polanski.
Marie Claire: You recently mentioned wanting to get away from scripts that describe the female lead as a “beautiful, mysterious woman.” Do you feel Burton gives you the opportunity to subvert typecasting?
Eva Green: In a Tim Burton movie, you know it’s going to be something unusual, or a bit mad. Something “other.” The characters are many-layered. I’ve never played a character that is just beautiful, but sometimes you can read scripts that sound so shallow, like women are objects. I’ve never done something like that, though.
MC: This film celebrates difference. Have you had personal experiences of outsiderdom?
EG: I’ve always felt a bit weird, very shy. Like, I can’t believe I’m here giving interviews and doing stuff like this—it’s so surreal. I’ve never been very good talking about myself. I’m very proud of this movie and of course I want to promote it, but it’s kind of paradoxical. I’ve always felt like I’m from another planet.
MC: I saw a really interesting article reading the film as an allegory for Syrian refugees. There are also many allegories to be made about bullying. What do you make of the film being a lens to discuss these important social topics?
EG: I think everybody will imagine their own thing. In the novel it was quite obvious that the Peculiars were the Jews and the Hollows were the Nazis. It’s more like a generic message—don’t be ashamed of who you are, embrace who you are. And if you’re weird, it’s good to be weird. It’s boring to be like everybody. I love that.
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.