By Susan Wloszczyna
“Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” did little to add sizzle to the late-summer box office this past weekend after collecting a slim $6.5 million and dismissive reviews. But it’s not from lack of trying on the part of Eva Green. This casting addition to the stylized babes-brutes-and-bullets sequel based on Frank Miller’s lurid comic-book series steamed up more than a few critics’ 3-D glasses as Ava Lord, a diabolical emerald-eyed femme fatale who has a hard time keeping her clothes on.
“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 noir leading ladies,” writes Todd McCarthy in The Hollywood Reporter. Adds Voice Media’s Amy Nicholson: “Eva Green is sexy, funny, dangerous and wild — everything the film needed to be — and whenever she’s not on screen, we feel her absence as though the sun has blinked off.”
Signature line: “As charming as you are, Mr. Bond, I will be keeping my eye on our government’s money — and off your perfectly-formed arse.” – as feisty Bond girl Vesper Lynd, giving as good as she gets opposite Daniel Craig’s 007 in the 2006 version of “Casino Royale.”
Career peaks: Like Bridget Bardot in 1956’s “And God Created Woman,” Parisian-born Green, now 34, exploited her own siren-like sexuality and created a sensation as part of a semi-incestuous menage a trois in her 2003 film debut “The Dreamers.” At the time, director Bernardo Bertolucci described his discovery as being “so beautiful, it’s indecent.”
Ridley Scott chose her to play the sultry Sibylla, a married Jerusalem princess who has an affair with Orlando Bloom’s crusading knight in his 2004 medieval epic “Kingdom of Heaven.” (Alas, much of her role was excised including love scenes that were later restored in a director’s cut.) The film flopped domestically but did well overseas, turning Green into an international star.
She had a better chance of proving herself a more than capable actress as the rare woman who has gained the upper hand over James Bond in “Casino Royale.” Fans of the series cheered her arrival as double agent Vesper Lynd, who bewitches Craig’s 007 with her witty banter and exotic good looks; she’s that rare Bond girl who actually steals Bond’s heart.
Despite her contributions to reviving the franchise with a new actor driving the Aston Martin, Green languished for a while after a fleeting role as a witch queen in the 2007 fantasy “The Golden Compass.” She started to get back on track with an appearance as the villainous Morgan in the 2011 miniseries “Camelot” and as the seductive Angelique Bouchard who bedevils Johnny Depp’s Barnabas Collins in 2012’s “Dark Shadows.”
“Rolling Stone” declared 2014 as Green’s comeback year, and she certainly started it off with a bang as the Persian warrior Artemisia in “300: Rise of an Empire.” She delivered the sequel’s killer line, “you fight much harder than you f**k” with relish and shook the multiplex rafters with her bruising bout of hate-sex with her Greek foe. In a change of pace, Green is one of the good guys for once as the Victorian-era clairvoyant Vanessa Ives on Showtime’s horror series “Penny Dreadful,” which has been renewed for a second season. And if anyone can rise out of the ashes of ”Sin City” deux and survive, it will be Green.
Biggest assets: The London-based knockout has been compared to the early Angelina Jolie and rightly so. Just like Jon Voight’s daughter, she grew up with an actress mother, Marlene Jobert, and shares Jolie’s knack for making sexy seem smart while standing out in genres usually dominated by men. Green is also a welcome throwback to when Hollywood knew what do with alluring yet dangerous females who refused to be victims.
But unlike Jolie, Green has maintained an air of mystery about her private life, characterizing herself as a reclusive nerd. “I like to stay home and read rather than go to a club or something,” she tells Rolling Stone. “I’m very shy. If I go out, I’m hugging the walls.”
Awards attention: Won BAFTA’s Rising Star Award in 2007.
Biggest misfire: Middling reviews and a domestic box office of only $70 million canceled plans to turn “The Golden Compass,” which cost $180 million, into a franchise based on the literary trilogy “His Dark Materials.” That meant that audiences would not see Green reprise her role as Sarafina Pekkala, who is more developed in the middle story, “The Subtle Knife.” The film, whose source was better known overseas, proved to be a hit in other countries with a worldwide take of $372 million (New Line Cinema sold the international rights to offset the budget).
Biggest problem: Green tends to be typecast as an intoxicating fatal attraction with an erotic hold over males in larger-than-life roles. That she’s so good in these parts is not necessarily a problem. It’s just that Hollywood is not known for going outside the box when making casting choices: repeating yourself is not the best way to get ahead. And while she is far from old, Green is at an age where she might be wise to diversify her choices.
Gossip fodder: Green is more of a tabloid target internationally – something she is used to after dealing with her mother’s fame — and is known as a fashion-forward celebrity. four four years until 2009 she dated New Zealand actor and star Marton Csokas after he played her royal husband in “Kingdom of Heaven.” They must still be friends, as Csokas also plays her ill-fated tycoon spouse in “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.”
Career advice: Green needs a strong director who sees beyond her obvious attributes. She has name-checked more than few on her wish list over the years, including Danish envelope-pusher Lars von Trier, David O. Russell, Spike Jonze, Stephen Daldry and Michel Gondry. She was originally cast in 2005’s “The Constant Gardener,” but had to drop out – a shame since the role of an impassioned political activist led to Rachel Weisz’s supporting Oscar win and could have been a possible career-changer for Green. She also revealed to Rolling Stone that she would like to do “something funny.” In order to tempt her, she admits, “it would have to be a comedy that’s very sharp, and very black.”
What’s next? Green plays Shailene Woodley’s depressed, alcoholic mother who suddenly disappears one day in the Sundance coming-of-age thriller “White Bird in a Blizzard,” directed by indie fave Gregg Araki (Sept. 25). And she co-stars with superhot Mads Mikkelsen as a mute woman embroiled in a revenge plot in “The Salvation,” an intense western from Danish director Kristian Levring that premiered at Cannes this year.
Much as she did with 300: Rise Of An Empire, however, Eva Green holds up the mid-section with great gusto. Pouting with just the right amount of vamp and camp, Green’s titular dame pushes this Sin City firmly into farce where it belongs. As a seductress extraordinaire, Green is having fun, which is more than can be said for the sour-faced fellows in her thrall. Watching her play the victim and thrust her head into the lap of the cop that comforts her is a pleasure only matched by the sight of her waiting by the phone for his call later that night (“About time,” she purrs). The fact she is nude while doing this is absolutely integral to the story, you understand; the film dips a whole star every time she’s off screen.
– Ali Gray for The Shiznit, Review: Sin City: A Dame To Kill For
Green is breathtakingly villainous and captivating as the soulless woman driven by a greed that can never be satiated. In a cast of heavy-hitters who each dig into the task at hand with relish, Rourke and Green manage to breathe fire into and elevate otherwise straightforward characters and stories.
– Roth Cornet for IGN, Frank Miller’s Sin City: A Dame To Kill For Review
The filmmakers wisely hired the fearless, magnetic Eva Green to play—what else?—the delectably twisted femme fatale Ava, who offers up most of the aforementioned copious nudity. Reminiscent of Linda Fiorentino’s classic turn in the seedy suspenser The Last Seduction, and far more resourceful than the movie she’s in, Green’s Ava more than lives up to this picture’s subtitle.
– Jason Clark for Entertainment Weekly, Sin City: A Dame To Kill For (2014)
Appearing in her second Frank Miller adaptation of the year (after offering the most memorable scenes in the300 sequel), Green cements her scene-stealing credentials with a perfect femme fatale impersonation. Whether clothed or naked, she rivets the camera’s attention. Green shares the villain’s duties with Powers Boothe, who knows a thing or two about how to get viewers to hate his character.
– James Berardinelli for Reelviews, Sin City: A Dame To Kill For
As in 300: Rise of an Empire, Green is a scene-stealer and she injects enigmatic allure into her damsel in distress role – a femme fatale that is made all the more captivating by the film’s subtle use of situational red, green, and blue coloration.
– Ben Kendrick for Screenrant, Sin City: A Dame To Kill For Review
The title story is the most thrilling, if only for Eva Green’s sensational performance. She has affected shades of noir in previous roles, but as the scheming Ava Lord, Green is a terrific femme fatale, luxuriating in Miller’s Chandler-esque dialogue while devouring the scenery and every inhabitant in it.
– Radheyan Simonpillai for NOW Toronto, Frank Miller’s Sin City: A Dame To Kill For
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