By Mehera Bonner
The Miss Peregrine’s actress has officially reached muse-dom.
Not to be dramatic, but Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is Tim Burton’s best movie since Edward Scissorhands (that’s right, I went there), and that’s in large part thanks to Eva Green. The Parisian actress nails her titular performance as the quick-talking headmistress, so it’s no surprise that she’s been dubbed Tim Burton’s new muse. But is she ready to take the mantle from Winona Ryder and Helena Bonham Carter?
MarieClaire.com sat down with Green at the ultra-atmospheric McKittrick Hotel and talked about all things Miss Peregrine, whether she thinks the world is ready for a female James Bond, and her decision to work with controversial director Roman Polanski.
Marie Claire: You recently mentioned wanting to get away from scripts that describe the female lead as a “beautiful, mysterious woman.” Do you feel Burton gives you the opportunity to subvert typecasting?
Eva Green: In a Tim Burton movie, you know it’s going to be something unusual, or a bit mad. Something “other.” The characters are many-layered. I’ve never played a character that is just beautiful, but sometimes you can read scripts that sound so shallow, like women are objects. I’ve never done something like that, though.
MC: This film celebrates difference. Have you had personal experiences of outsiderdom?
EG: I’ve always felt a bit weird, very shy. Like, I can’t believe I’m here giving interviews and doing stuff like this—it’s so surreal. I’ve never been very good talking about myself. I’m very proud of this movie and of course I want to promote it, but it’s kind of paradoxical. I’ve always felt like I’m from another planet.
MC: I saw a really interesting article reading the film as an allegory for Syrian refugees. There are also many allegories to be made about bullying. What do you make of the film being a lens to discuss these important social topics?
EG: I think everybody will imagine their own thing. In the novel it was quite obvious that the Peculiars were the Jews and the Hollows were the Nazis. It’s more like a generic message—don’t be ashamed of who you are, embrace who you are. And if you’re weird, it’s good to be weird. It’s boring to be like everybody. I love that.
By Larushka Ivan-Zadeh
In real life, Eva Green is as curious as her characters. In Hollywood, that makes her a breath of fresh air.
‘A BIT bonkers and eccentric — such an unusual character,’ is a phrase actress Eva Green could use to describe herself. Instead the 36-year-old Parisian is enthusing about her titular role in Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children as a magical, pipe-smoking headmistress who can turn herself into a peregrine falcon.
Miss P’s pupils include an invisible boy and a girl who floats like a balloon. Little wonder director Tim Burton dubbed her ‘Scary Poppins’.
‘I love playing someone like this, who isn’t a love interest,’ says Green, whose breakout turn as Bond’s most significant girl in Casino Royale saw the awards come rolling in. ‘I often get asked if I get worried about being typecast as a femme fatale. But I have played so many other things! It makes me sad. Is that how people see me, as a dark kind of icy image? I hope not.’
Green may insist ‘I am not a goth. I am a big geek!’, but today she certainly looks the part: her marble flesh is made paler by her raven tresses (‘it’s actually dark blonde — I have dyed my hair since I was 15’), her petite frame is clad neck to ankle in a black lacy-sleeved Elie Saab trouser suit, all topped off with her favourite chunky silver skull ring.
Bernardo Bertolucci, who cast her in his sexually graphic drama The Dreamers aged 19, once described her as ‘so beautiful it’s indecent’, but the French/Swedish actress is now more likely to be typecast as a witch (as she was in The Golden Compass and Burton’s Dark Shadows, plus a possessed medium in Penny Dreadful) than a Euro sex kitten. It’s something of a relief that in person Green is warm, fascinating company and refreshingly peculiar.
By Donald Clarke
The Penny Dreadful star takes a break from psychic meltdowns as the eponymous lead in Tim Burton’s new film Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
“It’s so great to hear the accent,” Eva Green says to me. “Where in Ireland are you from?”
Dunno. Blftnbrgh. Sgrlingham. What’s my name again?
Green has that sort of presence. Over the last decade or so, after debuting in Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Dreamers, the French actor has become our era’s most potent purveyor of gothic glamour. Nobody else does what she does. Nobody else can lower her brow and stare as if focussing the wrath of a thousand unsettled souls (or something). You get quite a bit of that in her performance as the title character in Tim Burton’s imminent Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.
“I am so sick of this femme fatale thing,” she says in a perky voice. “I don’t know what it means. I suppose I played one in Sin City – 100 percent evil. I see that. But Penny Dreadful is dark and tormented. That’s different. There are many layers to that. I find that very meaty. So maybe I should dye my hair blonde and do an American comedy.”
I had read that she was actually a natural blonde.
“Yes! That’s right. I am a dark blonde. I think I need to be careful. I don’t want to be seen as being too sophisticated.”
I must apologise. You probably didn’t want to read that Eva Green – recently so distraught and demented on the TV series Penny Dreadful – turns out to be in no way intimidating. This is, however, very much the case. She looks magnificent. Wearing something black and diaphanous, the trademark eye make-up shockingly in place, she is unlikely to be ignored in a crowd. But she is still very much up for a nice chat.
“Ireland is so real and funny,” she almost gushes. “I shot the movie Cracks there. I always had a happy time. Then three years of Penny Dreadful. And Camelot. I feel like I have something Irish thing going on within me.”
By Will Lawrence
Eva Green is no stranger to the big screen. Her film repertoire includes Casino Royale (2006), Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows (2012) and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014). Next up, Green plays the title character in Burton’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (September 30). Based on the 2011 novel by Ransom Riggs, the movie follows the birdlike, shape-shifting Miss Peregrine as she protects a group of fantastically gifted children.
To celebrate the upcoming movie, Parade sat down with Green to discuss her character, working with Burton and all things peculiar.
What is Miss Peregrine’s journey in this film?
She is very strong. She runs the home a bit like a commanding general, rather than a governess. She will do absolutely anything for her children and then they do find themselves in a tricky situation. She doesn’t want them to be scared. Everything is falling apart, but she is there to protect them. It is the mission of her life.
So she is a strong character rather than a stern one?
Totally. She is very good. She is like a mother to them. But she does have a lot of authority as well. She wants to be respected. All the children have to be on time because if one of them is not on time—it is quite a complicated story with this time loop. Everything has to be on time. It is all extremely organized so she, as I said, is like a general but it is all for the good of the children.
The “peculiar” in the title, does that just refer to the children’s special powers or are they are actually quirky, unusual children in themselves?
They don’t have special powers but peculiarities. They can fly and become invisible, but at the end of the day it becomes quite normal. They are actually like normal children. They can be sad, happy, playful. I don’t think they are weird.
The way he talks about his own childhood and the fact that these children find it hard to fit in, one suspects it is a very personal film to Tim. Did you get that impression?