By Emily Zemler
Eva Green is impressively terrifying in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. In the film, out August today, the French actress embraces the role of Ava Lord, a dangerous femme fatale set on revenge and murder. It’s an impressive and powerful performance from Green, who also recently appeared in 300: Rise of an Empire and currently stars on Showtime’s Penny Dreadful. The role also meant that Green spent much of filming with director Robert Rodriguez in various states of nudity. So much so that the promotional poster for the movie featuring the actress was deemed too racy and had to be edited due to the visibility of a nipple. We caught up with Green at a recent press day for the film in Los Angeles and chatted about working on Sin City, being naked and that infamous nipple incident.
You’ve been making a lot of movies with green screen lately.
I mean, I didn’t do this movie because it was green screen. It was a really cool project. The script was great. And yes, it was green screen–ike greener than ever: no furniture, no nothing. There was nothing there. Sometimes you have props, but it’s quite a weird world. The first day you’re like, ‘Oh my God.’ I was lucky because I had real actors to interact with. I know some of the other actors did not have that chance.
Is that a challenge to have nothing around you?
You don’t know how it’s going to turn out. So the other actor is saving you. It’s like theater. I haven’t done theater in 10 years.
So this is like doing theater without actually doing theater?
Yeah, exactly. You have a small audience and you can fuck up. It’s wonderful.
Why was the character of Ava Lord interesting to you?
She is so extreme and irreverent. She’s like a homage to the great characters of film noir. It was just fun to play somebody so evil. She’s so jaded with no sense of morality. I’m so not like that.
She definitely taps into something most women probably wish they could channel.
Yeah, I wish I had a bit of her power. She’s scary.
You basically wear no clothing the entire movie. Was there ever any trepidation about being naked so much?
Any actor and any actress are very nervous when we have to do that kind of scene. It is not gratuitous [with Ava]–the way she uses sexuality to get men and use men is part of her character. But also it’s not realistic. It is art. Robert lights it in such a way. He promised me there would be lots of shadows and stuff and things would be added in post. That was very important. But on the day you feel nervous. And then you kind of forget that you’re naked. It’s very strange. You’re so stressed that it’s like, ‘I’m not naked. I’m not naked. I’m not naked.’
Do you do anything the day before to prepare for that?
A lot of actors get drunk. But I was cast a week before shooting so I didn’t have time to do much prep at all: So no time to go to the gym. I put myself in the hands of Robert and asked him to remove the cellulite in post-production.
Is that the secret to losing cellulite?
I don’t know! I think with shadows they can. I mean, can you imagine a femme fatale with really bad cellulite? That would be another version of ‘Sin City’!
Speaking of nudity, what was your reaction to the controversy over your poster for the film?
I don’t really understand it. If people have a problem with the poster then they’ll probably have a problem with the film. You see nothing on the poster really. It’s like ‘Why?’ I thought it was bad publicity or something. I don’t know what the problem is.
I looked at the original and the edited version side by side and could not really see the differences.
There’s no difference! It’s a setup or something. I don’t get it.
What do you think about Americans being so prude when it comes to nudity and sex?
It’s very subjective. In this movie it’s so not pornographic. It’s very decent, I think.
What did you think of the film once you saw it?
I haven’t seen it! I hate watching myself. It has nothing to do against the film. It’s just me and my ego. I can’t watch myself. I become very self-conscious.
Will you ever do theater again? You don’t have to watch yourself there.
I’m the kind of the person where that would suit me. I’m a control freak and I could prep, but it’s so stressful. I’m so worried about blanking out onstage. It happened to me, actually. At three o’clock every day you go, ‘Okay, in four or five hours I have to go there.’ I have so many butterflies and I get so nervous. There’s a part of me that would love to, but I don’t know if I’m brave enough to go back there.
Do you have that same anxiety on a film set?
No. Because you can fuck up and do it again.
Here are some more reviews on Eva’s performance in Sin City: A Dame To Kill For. Click on the Source links for the full film review.
Of greater interest in any event is anything and everything involving Ava (Green), a spider woman so fatally gorgeous and seductive that no man can resist her. …….Pulp and noir were often built on the beautiful shoulders of such characters as Ava, and the main justification for seeing the film is to watch Eva Green claim membership in the pantheon of film noir leading ladies alongside Jane Greer, Gloria Grahame, Marie Windsor, Peggy Cummings,Lizabeth Scott and a few others. Frequently baring all in a way that was not allowed in the ’40s and ’50s and often lit by Rodriguez (who did triple duty as director, DP and editor here) in a high-contrast style accentuated by slatted light through blinds, Green more than earns femme fatale immortality by first reiginiting Dwight’s fire, then going through a succession of other admirers, including her loaded husband (Marton Csokas) and a married cop (Christopher Meloni) before receiving her well-deserved comeuppance. …..As an exercise in style, it’s diverting enough, but these mean streets are so well traveled that it takes someone like Eva Green to make the detour through them worth the trip.
– Todd McCarthy for The Hollywood Reporter, Sin City: A Dame To Kill For: Film Review
Eva Green makes for a viper of a character in Ava Lord, able to switch her behaviour according to the poor sap she’s trying to lure, and the actress is clearly relishing the chance to play such a conniving con artist who wraps men around her little finger and disposes of them when they’re no longer useful.
– James White for Empire Online, Sin City 2: A Dame To Kill For Back in Black. And White
The showiest role belongs to Green as Ava, a knowing riff on the standard femme fatale that’s all scene-chewing bitchiness. Green has a ball playing the dangerous sexpot who gets her hooks into Dwight….
– Tim Grierson for Screendaily, Frank Miller’s Sin City: A Dame To Kill For
Amazingly, one performer does emerge from the sludge of ‘Sin City: A Dame to Kill For’ with an emerald-eyed fury, and that’s Eva Green, fully committing to the title role’s silky monstrosity. Her frequent, brazen nudity – swimming pools and bathtubs are a big part of her day, apparently – is going to short-circuit some viewers (not just the overgrown boys, but anyone expecting a femme fatale with a hint of shame). Yet Green is the only one able to excite this silly material into the spiky shape it’s supposed to take. You wish the rest of the cast was as clued in.
– Joshua Rothkopf for Time Out, Sin City: A Dame To Kill For
Eva Green by contrast…All calculated sensuality and dangerous curves, Green owns this installment of Sin City as surely as Rourke did the last one, replacing his self-consciously retrograde masculinity with a femme fatality so knowing and over-the-top that it flirts with satire. Her emerald eyes, ruby lips, and sapphire dress (on those occasions when she is, in fact, clothed) may pierce the monochromatic screen, but it is her canny mashup of cinematic seductresses from Jane Greer to Sharon Stone that offers the movie’s principal compensations.
– Christopher Orr for The Atlantic, Sin City 2: Not To Kill For
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