Professional dancer, model turned actress Nicole O’Neill is one of Penny Dreadful’s new additions this second season, playing a witch out to get Eva Green’s Vanessa Ives. We caught up with Nicole to talk about working on Penny Dreadful, observing and working with Eva Green and her hopes and dreams for her young career.
You’re a film and television actress, professional dancer and commercial and print model. How did it all come about for you in terms of being casted as one of the witches? Was there an audition process and how was it like?
Ahh yes, I am quite the grafter work-wise, and enjoy having a good mix of professions to keep me on my toes. However, it is safe to say that acting is my real passion! Yes, I did audition for my role. But it is how I got this amazing opportunity in the first place that will be forever humbling!
This game changing experience really all came about for me because of the wonderful Sarita Allison. Penny Dreadful’s Key Prosthetic MUA. I had the pleasure of getting to work with this exceptionally talented lady 4 years ago on X-MEN: First Class. After which, through the various forms of social media we thankfully stayed in touch. As I am sure you know being great fans of the show, Sarita has a BIG input into the design of new “creature-esq” character looks… the witches, really being her “big project” for season 2 so to speak!
In August last year, casting was already well underway but there was some struggle I believe to find actresses 1) who would do partial nudity, 2) full body prosthetics, (it is really not an experience for everyone!) and 3) who had, if any some kind of combat or stunt experience ideally.
As Sarita relayed it to me…One day while sat in her kitchen reading the new season 2 scripts, she was trying to envision which actresses she could see playing the witches… and amazingly, I apparently sprung to mind. Like WOW, what a compliment!!!
Next thing I know, she blows me away with this random phone call out the blue. Asks me to send my CV and showreel to the Penny Dreadful producers in LA! Just CRAZY, and all over the space of an intensely nerve-wracking 5 days, I was given an audition scene, was put on tape by a top casting director and after a nail biting 2 day wait, I got word from across the pond that I had gotten the part!
I literally cannot express how much I owe Sarita for believing in me enough to put her own personal judgment on the line! I could, of course completely fallen flat in my audition. Totally flaked! As let’s face it, I haven’t had a ton of acting experience, and this was no small audition! Yet, I enjoyed it so much! I felt I had absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain, and most of all this “Little Monster” was not about to let her “Head Witch” down!!!
By Jennifer Weil
Eva Green is a multitasking maven. She recently took time out from filming the Tim Burton movie “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” to appear at the press launch in Paris of the new L’Oréal Professionnel Pro Fiber line. Green might have been named the international face of the L’Oréal-owned professional hair-care brand just a few months ago in late January, but hair has played a leading role all her life. The actress, sporting a long black Hervé Leroux dress, sat down with WWD at the Le Meurice Hotel to have a discussion.
WWD: You first dyed your hair dark around the age of 15. What made you do that?
Eva Green: 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. 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.
WWD: Has hair played an important part of your character creation at work?
E.G.: Hair defines your character, your state of mind. At the moment I’m in a 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.
WWD: What have been some of the interesting hairstyles you’ve had during your career?
E.G.: In “Dark Shadows” I wear a blonde wig. I was really worried at the beginning, … I was not sure [but] Tim Burton was like: ‘No, no I want you blonde.’ That made total sense for the character and actually was a very good idea, kind of a trashy Barbie. And that helps you tremendously to find the character.
I dyed my hair red six years ago, seven years ago for a role that I ended up not doing, but you feel different. I had a fringe, as well, a year ago for a movie called “White Bird in a Blizzard.” I kind of loved it. It’s a tiny detail, but you feel different. It’s funny.
WWD: What have been some of your favorite roles?
E.G.: I loved a movie called “Cracks” by Jordan Scott. It’s a small film, lots people haven’t seen it, unfortunately, but it’s a beautiful, passionate love story between a swimming teacher in the Thirties, that I play, and one of her students. I really loved that story. It was kind of a gift for an actor.
WWD: Are there any sorts of roles you’ve not gotten to play that you’d like to try?
E.G.: Yes, of course. It’s always hard as an actor because you’re being put in a box. Lots of journalists ask me: “Oh my God, why do you just play evil characters or dark characters?” I feel like I’ve played other characters, maybe that’s what you’ve seen only of me. I like complex characters, complicated people. In darkness you have light; you have different facets in the darkness. So maybe a comedy or something that people don’t expect me in — but the comedy is always a challenge, and it’s rare and it’s quite funny. But yeah, I’d like something kind of [like a] dark comedy.
WWD: Any directors you’ve not worked with yet that you’d like to try?
E.G.: I don’t know where to start. So many. Something simple. I’m sick of people saying that I do femmes fatales or I’m sexy. So I think I have to be careful now and play dirty hair, raw, a Mike Leigh movie or something, you know. No lipstick. I don’t know. Dirty hair for L’Oréal.
Something not too sophisticated, that’s what I mean. In “Penny Dreadful” I’m not very sophisticated. It’s not glamorous, let’s say.
WWD: What about stage acting?
E.G.: I’ve done plays. I get very nervous. I had a few blanks on stage so now I’m like, “Oh my God.” But it’s very electric, and it’s true that there is something kind of magical because there is a direct response with the audience. You’re not cut in the editing room. You are your own master, so that’s great but that’s really scary at the same time. I have to gain confidence again.
WWD: Back to beauty, what are your secrets?
E.G.: Sun cream, protection, food — what we eat is the most important: lots of green vegetables, raw vegetables, organic. Everything has to be organic.
– Magazines & Newspapers > 2015 > Máxima (Portugal) – May 2015
Some consider her the femme fatale of the 21st Century. Others see her as the selective actress of The Dreamers by Bertolucci. In Paris, in the event of L’Oréal Professionnel for its new spokesperson, Máxima confirmed Eva Green’s magnetism:
Known as one of the femme fatale of her generation, Eva Green never had any difficulty in accepting challenging roles. The careful selection of roles leaves no doubt about her cinematograph preferences but this French is much more than a character in a film noir. It doesn’t surprise considering her ancestry. Daughter of Marlène Jobert and a Swedish dentist, followed her mother’s footsteps, she studied in Eva Saint Paul Drama School. But it was her brilliant performance in The Dreamers, by Bernardo Bertolluci, the turning point where she decided to make a career in the movies. Two years later she arrived in Hollywood and in a few months she already got the leading role in the Ridley Scott film Kingdom of Heaven. Her cinematography is not vast, shooting a few more than one film a year, between 2003 and 2014, most are independent movies. It would be strange for her role as a Bond Girl in Casino Royale if Vesper Lynd wasn’t one of the most complex characters in the saga. And sensual. Despite this sensuality in the screen, Eva calls herself a nerd, admitting that she rather have a glass of wine and a good book than go to a party.
She is not an interview fan but she welcomed Máxima with an unexpected sympathy considering she is at the end of a marathon of them. She threatened to lie on the velvet couch while she invited me to sit with a theatrical gesture but she didn’t do it. The expressivity of the actress doesn’t seem to have the right to rest even after hours of answering journalists. She admits that starting a career working with directors like Bertolucci gave her confidence to choose roles. And despite telling us that she would like to play simpler characters, her last choice seems to indicate that she not ready yet to move away from demanding roles. She is filming Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Tim Burton, a fantastic horror story based in a New York Times best-seller book. Before saying goodbye she told us that she would love to visit our country ( Portugal) : “Even with my skin tone. I really like the sun”. And even with heels she says she loves what she does and “when we are in love with what we do, that’s not really a job’’
– Magazines & Newspapers > 2015 > Grazia (Italy) – June 3, 2015
Last but not least, I’ve also uploaded scans from the May 2015 issue of GQ UK.
How she fits into the horror heritage.
1. Boris Karloff was in…
2. Curse of the Crimson Altar (1968)…
3. with Christopher Lee…
4. Who was in Dark Shadows (2012)…
5. With Eva Green!
The Grazia interview (in English) can be found after the cut. Many thanks to our friend Sara for translating it!
She’s been a Bond girl, she’s going to be the star of Tim Burton’s next film, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, and she’s currently the heroine of Showtime’s Penny Dreadful (which returns for season two this Sunday). Eva Green is as busy as she is strikingly beautiful. We caught up with the French actress in her home country at an event celebrating her newest venture as international spokesperson for L’Oréal Professionnel. And it turns out the actress who’s known for her femme fatale roles is a self-professed tomboy. But we’ve found it’s the ones who keep it simple—her can’t-live-without products? Contact lenses, sunscreen, and red lipstick—that have the best beauty secrets. If her flawless alabaster complexion and flowing, glossy locks are any indication, our theory is right on the money. So we had to ask all of the pressing beauty questions.
What are the hallmarks of your beauty routine?
EG: First of all, drinking lots of water and watching what you eat is very important. More than anything else, eat organic green vegetables (I know, very exciting!).
Otherwise, skin-wise, I very gently remove my makeup in the evenings. I like Cetaphil —you can buy it in Boots [a European pharmacy], it’s cheap, and it’s gentle. Lots of moisturizer and sun scream are very important.
Also, hair is very important. I’m an actress, so jobs play with my hair a lot. And it gets very damaged, so I have to look after it. During the week when I’m shooting, it gets quite hard because I need to use a light shampoo or else they can’t really play with my hair. So it’s the weekends when I use deeper treatments. There’s the Pro Fiber Treatment [by L’Oréal Professionnel]. It’s not out yet, but it’s really kind of revolutionary because it lasts. It doesn’t go after the first shampoo and it makes your hair stronger. That’s a very good product.
What are some of your skincare musts for summer?
EG: My skin and scalp are so fragile that I really have to be careful in the sun—inside too, apparently. (My doctor told me I have to put sun cream on when I’m inside too.) Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! I always moisturize and I love SkinCeuticals. It just has to be something that’s efficient!
What are your favorite products in the French pharmacies?
EG: Simple, natural products are my thing. In the French pharmacies, I like Avéne and La Roche-Posay. I apply the Cold Cream from Avéne in the evening a lot. It restores your skin. I shot on an island for a couple of months and that kind of saved me from the conditions—all the wind and sun.
What’s your go-to, off-duty look?
EG: I’m simple. Clean, straight hair with a side part. I love Diorshow Mascara and a strong red lipstick—you can’t go wrong. I’m terrible at foundation. I think it’s better to be quite plain and have a red lip, like Mac’s Ruby Woo or Lady Danger.
On the red carpet, do you prefer a smoky eye or a red lip?
EG: People say you can’t, but I think you can do both! If you have the right makeup artist. But I like simple red—good skin, a red lip, and Yves Saint Laurent style hair that’s quite masculine.
– Magazines & Newspapers > 2015 > Io Donna (Italy) – May 30, 2015
“Dark? But I dream of doing a comedy.”
She found Ireland, where she is filming the second season of the horror tv show Penny Dreadful, a mystical country. But also in western atmospheres, Eva Green does not stop confronting the dark forces. Even her mother, French actress Marlène Jobert, is surprised by her dark roles…
The sky is grey, the sudden rain that makes the asphalt dark and shiny, the bare trees of a cold February day: the atmosphere of Ardmore Studios in Wicklow County, forty minutes from Dublin, could not be more appropriate. They are shooting the second season of Penny Dreadful, an horror-gotic tv show created by John Logan and produced by Sam Mendes, set during the Victorian London.
The scene is full of deformed monsters, characters from literature – Dorian Gray, Dracula and Frankenstein – opium smokers, adventurers. Here, every morning for months, Eva Green became the fragile, painful and enigmatic Vanessa Ives, the sorcerer with supernatural powers who fights evil spirits and unknown forces. Between takes, the actress leave her long dark dress with rigid corset (the amazing costumes have been created by Gabriella Pescucci) and present herself to this interview with a severe masculine cut shirt color – Is it a coincidence? – of blood, complete with a bow tie, leather pants and boots. All black, like her hair. She’s pale, with those special blue eyes, she seems a little bit tired and wan but still fascinating, the uncertain voice and the usual shyness; Eva Green charms.
By Mike Flaherty
For a top screenwriter, a love of the lurid fiction of Victorian England led to Showtime’s Penny Dreadful.
John Logan’s career as a playwright and screenwriter – alonq with a Tony Award and three Oscar nominations – is the stuff that MFA dreams are made of.
Yet, he admits, that didn’t — couldn’t — quite prepare him for his current gig, the singularly demanding job of series showrunner.
In Dublin, Ireland, he’s in the thick of shooting season two of Showtime’s period horror drama, Penny Dreadful, which he created and also executive-produces. “It’s like a three-ring circus — hopefully in a productive way,” he says of life on the soundstages.
“The learning curve is huge,” he continues. “I was unprepared for the temporal challenges that thrust themselves upon you when you’re filming one episode, editing another from three months ago — and prepping something that’s going to be shot in two weeks. It requires such mental agility to put those different hats on and take them off as you walk from building to building.”
Penny Dreadful‘s 10-episode second season, which premieres May 3 and which Logan wrote after squeezing in the screenplay for the next Bond film, (Spectre), has two more episodes than the first.
As his expansive resume attests (an Emmy nomination for his script for the HBO telepic RKO 281 and film scripts including Skyfall, Gladiator, The Aviator, Sweeney Todd:The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and Hugo), putting words on the page has never been a challenge
“If I [were to] ever write a novel, this is it,” he says, aptly enough, as the title of his current project alludes to the melodramatic pulp novels-by-installment that were popular in Victorian England, which is also the show’s setting.
“The form of those novels — the way they were written and marketed and consumed — has resonance for me.”
Eva, as an actress, is unafraid of all risks, and must be fun to share scenes with. What’s the dynamic like when you work with her?
Well, Eva’s, she’s very practiced. She comes with a plan, and she does what she wants to do. I’m much more the opposite. I am the opposite. I take a lot of time trying to figure out what I think the character would be going through, and then I throw it out immediately as soon as we start filming. And so I want to experiment. But she has these specific things that she wants to do. So coming at it from these opposite approaches has yielded some pretty interesting scenes, I think. She probably hates it [laughs] because I’m throwing things at her all the time that she didn’t expect.
Read Josh Hartnett’s full interview HERE.