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 Rebecca Nicholson
Eva Green has played a lot of witches. “Different kinds of witches,” says the French actor, sipping a dark red juice that looks, naturally, like a cup of blood. Tim Burton made her a blonde witch in his 2014 film Dark Shadows, and liked her so much that he cast her as the lead in his next film, Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children. She’s done indie films, arthouse films and blockbusters, was a Bond girl in the best Daniel Craig Bond Casino Royale and put in some serious action hero green-screen time with 300: Rise of an Empire and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. If there’s a complicated woman who may have a murderous side, or a supernatural side, or both, then Eva is top of the list.
She’s suitably goth-like today, dressed entirely in black and speaking in such a whisper that it’s sometimes hard to hear her. She says ‘I don’t know’ before she gives an answer, almost every time; sometimes to deflect, if she doesn’t necessarily want to get into something, and sometimes because she often seems unsure of herself. She says she was desperately reserved as a kid. Actors do that ‘Don’t look at me I’m shy’ false modesty thing all the time, but with her, you can believe it.
Right now she’s putting her dark side through its paces in the third season of Penny Dreadful, in which she plays Vanessa Ives, a demon-hunting medium who was possessed by the devil and fell in love with a werewolf. This time she looks set to romance a suspiciously mysterious stranger, as well as going through some early form of proto-psychotherapy. We talked about how it feels to be Hollywood’s go-to goth and why everyone expects her to take her clothes off on screen.
VICE: I just saw the first episode of Penny Dreadful season three.
Eva Green: Oh god. I haven’t seen it. I am not good at watching myself.
So what do you do when you have premieres and things like that? Do you just leave?
Yeah, actually it’s funny, I was thinking about it this morning on the train. Most of the time it’s OK but then one director, I won’t mention his name, took it really, really badly that I couldn’t stay. I stayed for the first 10 minutes then I had to leave. I just can’t… I don’t know, it’s weird.
Because you’re scrutinising yourself?
Yeah. It’s too subjective. It’s negative narcissism. It’s not good. I wish I could. Some actors can [watch themselves and] improve. I can’t.
– Magazine & Newspaper Scans > 2016 > Grazia (Italy) – March 30, 2016
– Movies > Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children > Promotional Stills
– Magazine & Newspaper Scans > 2016 > Entertainment Weekly (USA) – March 11, 2016
– Magazine & Newspaper Scans > 2014 > Soul (Greece) – June/July 2014
Wim Goossens of Bulletproof Cupid, a film production company, provided the production services when the Tim Burton film Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children came to shoot for three weeks in Flanders last summer.
– Magazine & Newspaper Scans > 2016 > Screen Flanders (Belgium) – 2016
The book’s author Ransom Riggs tweeted an update on the film’s release date which was moved from December 25, 2016 to September 30, 2016!
BIG NEWS: the release date of the Miss P movie has been moved to September 30. and thank god… don’t think I could’ve made it to december!!
— Ransom Riggs (@ransomriggs) February 28, 2016
– Movies > Spectre > DVD Screencaptures
Eva Green feels more like herself when she’s ditched her natural hair colour.
The 34-year-old actress is a natural blonde, but usually sports much darker tresses. That’s been the way for many years, with Eva explaining she feels brunette suits her personality much better, so has stuck with in since first reaching for the dye at 15.
“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,” she told WWD. “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.”
Eva was talking as part of her role as L’Oréal Professionnel international spokesperson. The brand is releasing a new range called Pro Fiber, which aims to help repair damaged hair.
It’s something the star can get on board with because she’s changed her look a lot for roles, including sporting red tresses and experimenting with fringes.
“Hair defines your character, your state of mind. At the moment I’m in a [Tim] 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,” she said.
The actress was also quizzed on her beauty secrets and was happy to let a couple slip. Unfortunately, there is no quick route to her slim physique and porcelain skin – it’s all about being careful.
“Sun cream, protection, food — what we eat is the most important: lots of green vegetables, raw vegetables, organic. Everything has to be organic,” she said.
By Tara MacInnis
Woman of mystery Eva Green, who stars in a major hair campaign for L’Oréal, shares her secrets
With her inky cascading over pale shoulders, Eva Green—famous for her role as James Bond’s one true love Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale—is becoming the go-to leading lady for all things brooding. Early next year, she’ll play the title character in macabre master Tim Burton’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children; next May she returns as the demon-tormented Vanessa Ives in Penny Dreadful’s third season. And now, L’Oréal Professionnel has tapped the French actress as its spokesperson for a new intensive hair treatment range. “It’s a revolution,” she says, wearing a long black dress, obsidian nail polish and smudgy kohl eyeshadow during the launch at the Le Meurice hotel in Paris. “It takes your hair from f-cked up to beautiful, strong, healthy.” The taxidermy-collecting star fits into Burton’s quirky world quite honestly. Unafraid of ghosts and ghouls, here’s what really causes her fright: “Not being loved…being rejected,” she says, revealing a tender truth beneath the dark facade.
Green’s Gothic Beauty Tips
Go Deep: “As a teenager, I was dark blonde. I was going through a shy phase, and I wanted to change something. My mum’s friend had black hair, and I decided to try it. I feel now that it’s more me.”
Do Blood Red: “I love M.A.C Lady Danger lipstick for all occasions. The matte finish lasts for hours.”
Shun the Sun: “I never go out without an SPF of at least 30. It’s the key to dodging aging.”
Resurrect damaged hair with the latest regenerating treatment
After 15 years of research, L’Oréal Professionnel has finally solved the beauty world’s mane dilemma: how to make a pricey reparative salon treatment last beyond your next wash. Pro Fiber’s molecular mix, dubbed APTYL 100, rebuilds frayed strands and then seals itself inside hair with a protective film. After your initial spa-style pampering using one of three hair-care systems (Revive, Restore or Reconstruct), a for-pros-only dose of the juiced-up activator locks in smoothness for up to four washes. An at-home five-piece range includes a booster that recharges results for another four-wash cycle, with lustre that lasts six weeks—until your next appointment.
Eva Green’s skin didn’t fare well in the harsh Irish winter.
The French actress is playing Miss Peregrine in Tim Burton’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, which hits cinema screens next year.
Tim is known for his kooky plots and visuals, and Eva’s hair will not disappoint.
“The role I’m playing now is quite cool. My hair is kind of bonkers. It’s a 40s style with a twist. I also loved my look in another movie I starred in, called Cracks. It’s set in the 30s – all high-waisted pants and bobbed hair,” she told the British version of Marie Claire.
Eva is used to having her hair styled and her make-up applied on set, and she looks equally as glamorous when she hits the red carpet.
Not all of her projects have been as kind on the 35-year-old’s looks though. She’s known for her alabaster skin, which looks extra striking next to her raven locks, but while filming hit TV show Penny Dreadful her skin took a bit of a beating.
“Filming in Ireland last winter really took its toll on my skin,” she revealed. “I rely on a good, fragrance-free make-up remover from Cetaphil or Avène and apply a cold cream to replenish my skin. I always wear SPF, but find factor 50 is too pale and thick, so I use SkinCeuticals Brightening UV Defense SPF 30. I love Sisley’s treatments, too.
“Make-up can be dangerous when you have pale skin – sometimes I can look like Morticia Addams!”