By Kyle Buchanan
“You cannot defeat the Goddess,” says one character in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. “She cannot die.” He’s referring to Ava Lord, the seductive black widow who gives the film its title, and when she’s played by Eva Green, who can blame him for using heavenly superlatives? There’s always been something otherworldly about Green, who first impressed (and undressed) in Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Dreamers, won best Bond Girl ever honors withCasino Royale, and just this year starred as the formidable Artemesia in 300: Rise of an Empire and toplined the Showtime series Penny Dreadful. A few weeks ago in Los Angeles, the slinky Green met up with Vulture at The Four Seasons to tell us how she got into character for the Robert Rodriguez–directed Sin City, and how she felt about getting out of her clothes for it.
Do you consider yourself an inhibited person when you’re not shooting?
So it must surprise you how bold you can appear onscreen, especially in all of Sin City‘s sex scenes.
It’s very ironic, because I’m very shy. People don’t believe me: “She did The Dreamers, and all these other nude scenes!” But I remember telling my publicist, “I’m really naked in Sin City. Just wait.” I don’t know any actor who’s comfortable with nudity, but it’s not gratuitous in this film, because she uses her body as a weapon. Still, in the morning when you have a nude scene, you want to die. You feel quite silly to be in a tiny thong with Josh Brolin, who’s wearing flesh-colored Spanx, and you’re in front of a green screen — like, “This is not happening!” But Robert told us, “I’m going to add lots of shadows, and you’ll look great. I knew that I could trust him.
When you play a character like that, does any of that confidence carry over into your real life?
Maybe it gave me some confidence in doing press, because I used to be very nervous doing interviews for TV — and I’m still not great, I get sweaty — but I got better. At school, I was really shy. If a teacher asked me a question in front of other people, I’d melt. Lots of actors are very scared in real life, actually.
Your characters are so forward with men. Are you?
No. I’m shit. [Laughs.]
How much freedom as an actor did you have in a film like this, where Robert is trying to re-create a lot of the frames from the comic almost exactly?
It’s funny, because I was really worried about that before I started filming: Oh my God, you have to be so still! Can I even move my finger? Can I touch the other actor? And yes, he frames each shot like a painting and you have to hit the mark, and some of the stuff he wants exactly like in the comic book, but it was fine — especially because I had real actors in front of me, because I know some of the other actors didn’t. I wouldn’t have liked that, so I was really lucky.
Did you have to do a lot of work beforehand?
I was cast very last minute, like a week before shooting, and usually I like to prep, so I was panicked: “Oh my God, I have to work on an American accent and find the character, and there’s so little time!” So I watched some film noir, like Barbara Stanwyck in Double Indemnity, because this is so femme fatale. At the beginning, I looked at my character and thought, My God, she’s so evil. There are no cracks in her, and her heart is so hard. I’ve played evil before, but that one was 200 percent evil, so I had to find the jubilation in playing her. I brought my body and my heart to Ava Lord.
And none of the men in this movie can withstand her.
Yeah, she’s quite scary. Quite scary! It would be interesting to do a prequel, just to find out why she’s so hard. Maybe she was traumatized? Or maybe she was born crazy.
What do you get out of doing a show like Penny Dreadful, which is about to go into its second season?
It’s fun, and I love fun. I love playing mad people, actually. My character looks quite guarded and very Victorian and tight, and to be able to let it all out … it’s so fun to be that irreverent. It’s like having a really bad Tourette’s moment.
Do you watch the show? Did you see the seance sequence from your second episode?
No, I haven’t! It’s horrible.
Well, at least watch the show so you can get to the part where Josh Hartnett and Reeve Carney make out.
Oh my God. Oooh! [Laughs.]
Here are some reviews on Eva’s performance in Sin City: A Dame To Kill For. Click on the Source links for the full film review.
But the main attraction here is Green, who, in addition to serving as the film’s most eye-popping design element, invests Ava with a wild-eyed intensity worthy of Medea, adding another to the actress’ gallery of murderous screen sirens following her performances in “300: Rise of an Empire” and “Dark Shadows.”
– Justin Chang for Variety, Film Review: “Frank Miller’s Sin City: A Dame to Kill For’
But A Dame to Kill For‘s best special effect is Eva Green. When her femme fatale — homophonically named Ava — bursts into a bar to plead that ex-boyfriend Brolin take her away from her rich husband (Marton Csokas) and omnipresent bodyguard (Dennis Haysbert), her ripeness reduces him to two words: “Ava. Damn.” Green is sexy, funny, dangerous and wild — everything the film needed to be — and whenever she’s not on the screen, we feel her absence as though the sun has blinked off. In a movie that treats women like chew toys, Green is powerful, even when she plays weak. When she coos, “I guess I’m not a very strong person,” to her latest rescuer, not only is she wielding femininity like a trap, but it also feels as if she’s sending up the rest of the film.
– Amy Nicholson for Westword, Sin City’s Best Special Effect is Eva Green
Green is the only female performer who sees through this movie’s ludicrousness and dares to one-up it. Her nudity feels defiant — she and even Brolin show a lot more skin than any of the strippers – and she turns Ava’s rapaciousness into one of the few tangible objects in this movie made up principally of special effects. (Mickey Rourke, once again, brings soulfulness to the role of Marv, a monstrous tough-guy with a heart of tin.)
– Alonso Duralde for The Wrap, Sin City: A Dame To Kill For Review: Eva Green Steals This Juvenile Film Noir
It’s almost a problem that Green plays Ava so perfectly – you may find yourself hoping she slithers her way out of her admittedly well-deserved comeuppance.
– Isaac Feldberg for We Got This Covered, Sin City: A Dame To Kill For Review
No other actress so perfectly embodies the classic femme fatale as Green, who plays Ava Lord in a twisted tale that explains how street hero Dwight (now played by Josh Brolin) came to need that new face he had in the first film. …… No other actress so perfectly embodies the classic femme fatale as Green, who plays Ava Lord in a twisted tale that explains how street hero Dwight (now played by Josh Brolin) came to need that new face he had in the first film.
– Travis Hopson for Examiner, Movie Review: Robert Rodriguez’s Sin City: A Dame To Kill For
By David Marchese
The star of ‘Penny Dreadful,’ ‘300: Rise of an Empire’ and ‘Sin City: A Dame to Kill For,’ looks back at her year’s big roles
Eva Green’s year has been one for the history books, or from them anyway. In March, the French actress was seen in plate mail playing the vengeful Persian warrior Artemisia in the action hit 300: Rise of an Empire. Then, in late April, she popped up in Showtime’s Penny Dreadful, recently renewed for a second season, where she traded in ancient duds for frocks and black lace as Vanessa Ives, a Victorian prone to demonic possession. In August, Green caps her run of titillating period pieces with the release of the crime noir sequel Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, in which she played the dangerous siren Ava Lord. Though Green insists that any similarities between her trifecta of roles is accidental, 2014 has, coincidentally or not, been a renaissance for the 33-year-old, who first turned heads as Bond girl Vesper Lynd in 2006’s Casino Royale and since then has largely sashayed under Hollywood’s radar.
“To tell you the truth,” admits Green in her lightly accented English. “I was not offered something interesting [after Casino Royale] by Hollywood. Every role was the boring beautiful girl. Instead of doing that, I made movies that not a lot of people saw but were good for my heart. I’ve always found the movie business rather cold, so finding parts to play and having people enjoy them has made this year a miracle for me.”
Not that the London-based Green, a high fashion favorite, isn’t used to attention — her mother is the well-known French actress Marlene Jobert (her father, Walter, is a dentist), and she’s been a regular in European tabloids ever since she appeared as a baby with her mom and twin-sister Joy on the cover of Paris Match. Perhaps that’s why off set, this self-described nerd prefers low-key pursuits at-odds with her fierce on-screen persona. “I like to stay home and read rather than go to a club or something,” Green says. “I’m very shy. If I go out, I’m hugging the walls. “
Now, though, inhabiting the kind of powerful femme fatale roles that Angelina Jolie used to devour has now become Green’s specialty, rendering her a cult favorite and rescuing her from being eternally entombed as a Bond girl. “It’s been fun playing these strong, sexual women,” she says. “Especially in Sin City my character is a real bitch. She uses her body as a weapon. It’s very jubilating to do that. I wish I had the balls of my characters.”
As the Motion Picture Association of America noticed, she’s got something else. Green’s Sin City poster showed her posing with a gun and wearing a sheer bathrobe that left little to the imagination. The MPAA subsequently refused approval for the poster’s usage. “I don’t understand the problem,” she says. Then she adds with a laugh, “I heard that if my nipples were made darker the poster would be fine.”
With Penny Dreadful finished filming for the season, Green, whose dream collaborators include David O. Russell and Danish provocateur Lars Von Trier, is looking for her next project. “I’d like to do something funny,” she says, as long as it doesn’t require abandoning her blooming dark side. “It would,” she says, “have to be a comedy that’s very sharp, and very black.”
Source: Rolling Stone
By Rob Lowman
Eva Green is striking as she walks into the room. The actress is wearing a form-fitting black lace dress. Her wrist and hands are adorned with shiny bracelets and large rings, including one of a skull.
As we sit and talk, though, it’s Green’s mysterious eyes that capture your attention. A sultry stare also comes in handy for “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” from writer-directors Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller. Like the first “Sin City,” it is based on Miller’s graphic novels. Green plays the twisted femme fatale Ava Lord in the film, which opens Aug. 22.
A penetrating gaze also informed her character, Vanessa Ives, in the recently completed first season of Showtime’s “Penny Dreadful.” In the sophisticated horror series set in Victorian England, Green is an enigmatic medium who at times is possessed by strange spirits.
“She’s phenomenal — the fulcrum of the piece. She’s a ferociously committed actor,” says “Penny Dreadful” creator John Logan, the Tony Award-winning playwright and screenwriter of “Gladiator” and “Skyfall” who spent six months wooing Green for the role.
“A TV series requires quite an important commitment and that was my fear,” says the 34-year-old French-born actress. “But Vanessa is such an amazing role with so many colors to play.”
The first season of “Penny Dreadful” gave Green a number of showcase moments. In the second episode, Vanessa is at a séance when she is suddenly controlled by several demons. It’s a riveting scene that goes on for five or six minutes, during which the actress becomes several different people.
As Ava Lord in “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For,” Green also had some of those turn-on-a-dime and become another person scenes. The trick to doing them, she says, is “not going over the top — that and the transitions, of course.”
“Ava plays the damsel in distress but she is also kind of a bitch,” adds Green, who appears almost shy and reserved. “The challenge to that was making her believable because she’s lying all the time.”
Rodriguez says Green was the only person that he and Miller could agree on to play Ava. “She pulls it off to where you go, ‘She’s a dame to kill for,’ ” he says.
In June, a poster for the film was banned by the Motion Picture Association of America “for nudity.” The graphic-comic stylized illustration shows the actress in a see-through white robe that emphasizes the curves of her figure. ABC also rejected a TV ad for the film because of Green’s sexy pose.
When asked about it, she shakes her head. “I thought it was a joke when I heard. John Logan sent me an email when I was in Hungary and asked, ‘What’s up with this?’ I’m not sure why people objected,” she says. “You sort of guess the outline of the boob. I am holding a gun, though, and no one questions that. It’s all about nothing really.”
There is a fair amount of nudity in “A Dame to Kill For,” which is in 3-D, but the actress is no stranger to that. She made her film debut in Bernardo Bertolucci’s sensuous coming-of-age film “The Dreamers” (2003). Set against the backdrop of the 1968 Paris student riots, it tells the story of three young people and their sexual experimentation.
Green actually grew up in Paris. Her father is Swedish. Her French mother is Marlène Jobert, an actress who worked with Jean-Luc Godard and Louis Malle, two of France’s greatest New Wave directors. Interestingly, before being cast in “The Dreamers,” the actress had a poster on her wall of Bertolucci’s most notorious film, “Last Tango in Paris” (1972), starring Marlon Brando, which made waves because of its sexual content.
In 2005, another heavyweight director, Ridley Scott, cast her in his Crusades epic, “Kingdom of Heaven.” The next year found her in the re-launch of the James Bond franchise in “Casino Royale” as the sexy but strong Vesper Lynd, a female to match Daniel Craig as the newly minted 007.
Though Green now bases herself in London, she says it was that film that accounts for her English accent.
“I had a lot of pressure when making it, actually. The studios were insistent that Vesper had to be British. So I worked night and day on my accent with a coach,” Green says. “And I still work on it because of certain intonations or tendencies. I’m kind of a geek that way. I love languages and working on accents. It helps with building a character.”
Along with her film career, Green has appeared in a number of fashion ads for the likes of Armani, Lancôme, Emporio Armani, Montblanc and Dior, among others. I ask her to show me the large rings she is sporting. “It’s like my armor,” she jokes. “These two are from a Russian designer that I’m very fond of, and this one’s from Morocco, and this I’ve had since the age of 15, which is a long time,” she says, pointing to the silver skull.
Green was planning to talk with Logan the next day about the second season of “Penny Dreadful,” which starts shooting in Dublin in September.
“It’s a luxury to work with him because I can go, ‘Do you mind if we cut that?’ Or, ‘I wish we had more complexity there.’ And he like, ‘No problem.’ He is so gifted and open. I feel lucky.”
She wouldn’t give any hints where her character might go in the 10-episode second year. “I think John would cut off my head.” But she would say: “It won’t be the same. It’s not like, here she goes again. She’s going on another journey.”
As if she’s not busy enough, Green recently signed on to shoot “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children,” which Tim Burton will direct. The two had previously worked together on “Dark Shadows” (2012). She plays the title character, a guardian of a group of orphans with special powers.
As far as roles are concerned, Green prefers complexity, but says, “I don’t want to be typecast with people thinking ‘She is just dark and a femme fatale.’ A good comedy might be simpler, maybe. I don’t know. I like complex. So we’ll see.”
As intense as the roles she takes on might be, don’t think Green spends all her time brooding. “I can get out of the character really quickly and have fun with the crew,” she says.
Since the actress describes herself as a quiet homebody type, it’s curious as to why she’s attracted to such strong and fearsome roles.
“I don’t know. I should ask a therapist,” she says with a small smile. “It’s kind of liberating for me to play kind of evil people because I’m so not like that in real life. You know, I’m not too confident. So it’s just kind of fun.”
Source: Los Angeles Daily News
It was amazing meeting Eva Green! I saw her coming through the side door and while she was going to her seat I asked her, ‘Eva, can I please take a picture, I’m a huge fan?‘ Her publicist said, ‘I’m sorry, we can’t right now.‘ but then Eva moved her to the side and said, ‘It’s okay,‘ and she put her arm around me and took the picture. My heart was pounding cause how happy I was. When she was leaving I said, ‘I love you on Penny Dreadful, you’re amazing in it‘ She said ‘Thank you‘ and walked away. It was just perfection, she is a sweetheart.
The Salvation, starring Eva Green and Mads Mikkelsen, directed by Kristian Levring, will be released on September 3, 2014 in Belgium and Luxembourg.