M.   /   December 06, 2009   /   2 Comments

Thanks to George for the heads up!

With her latest role finding Eva Green courting controversy as an over-familiar teacher, the Bond girl and Golden Compass star tells Rob Driscoll she’s ready to push cinematic boundaries

Not for nothing was Eva Green dubbed the most original, unconventional and bankable Bond girl ever in Casino Royale.

This is an actress who goes out of her way to push boundaries and explore the darkness in any character she plays.

In her new film, Cracks, she plays a slightly crazy girls’ schoolteacher who shares a controversial sex scene with one of her teenage pupils.

Other actresses might have hesitated about taking part in such headline-grabbing fare, but Miss Green has other ideas. “The love scene is soft – I wanted to go even further,” she laughs.

“In the book, she’s more sexual,” she explains, about her character, the enigmatic Miss G.

We’re chatting over coffee in one of London’s trendiest hotels and I realise I’m lucky to secure such an interview with one of cinema’s most beautiful and sought-after female stars, who hasn’t quite bought into the fame game, or Hollywood’s desire to transform her into just another A-list commodity.

Yes, the Bond girl tag follows her around, but she’s never cashed in on her ever-present association with Casino Royale.

As Daniel Craig’s duplicitous love interest, Vesper Lynd, in 2006’s box office-conquering blockbuster, Green exuded a combination of icy exoticism and frail vulnerability that brought a new depth to that kind of character.

Does she mind the fact that she’s so often described as “Bond girl Eva Green?”

“I’ve got used to it,” she sighs, with a little smile. “Sometimes, you go, ‘I’ve done other movies!’ I think I got lucky with Bond, it’s a blessing, and it made a lot of money, and it’s OK.

“But just sometimes you feel, ‘It’s the past!’”

Half-Swedish and half-French, and brought up in Paris with her non-identical twin sister, Eva Green is a defiantly European soul whose home is now London.

If the pressure ever came for her to move to America, it would have to be New York rather than California, but even then, she suspects it would never happen.

“I’m getting to like New York, but I don’t think I’d be able to move there, as my mother would be too far away – she’s in Paris,” explains Green.

She won’t divulge more about her private life, so who knows if she’s single, or still dating New Zealand actor Martin Csokas, whom she met on the set of Kingdom of Heaven.

But she does exude an enthusiasm for London that’s unexpected for a Paris-born girl.

“I love London,” she says.

“Paris is very small, and is more beautiful, I think, but there’s a lot of space in London; there are very nice restaurants, a lot of parks, and I have a lot of friends here, so I feel at home here.”

From the moment she made her film debut in Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Dreamers in 2003, it was plain there was something distinctive about Eva Green and not just that she was prepared to go naked in many scenes for that movie.

After Casino Royale, Green was inevitably offered plenty of glamorous roles in big-budget yet empty affairs, but she has avoided them all.

She’s made one high-quality blockbuster, The Golden Compass, and a very non-commercial, arty failure, Franklyn.

“It’s quite a crazy industry,” she says.

“I feel that we have to mix commercial movies with independent ones, in order to be bankable.

“Of course, as an actress, it’s more thrilling to play a meaty, raw part with many colours rather than just being the love interest, and those other clichés.

“So a movie like Cracks I welcomed with open arms.”

A movie like Cracks, indeed, is tailor-made for 29-year-old Green.

The directorial debut of Jordan Scott – daughter of heavyweight film-maker Ridley, of Aliens and Blade Runner fame, this is a gentle, moodily atmospheric period drama, shot in Ireland, but set in an austere, remote 1930s English girls’ boarding school, in which Green plays Miss G, a glamorous, if bohemian, spinster who thrives on the attention she receives from her girls.

Think The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie meets Picnic at Hanging Rock and you’re half way to the feel and tone of this gorgeous-looking chamber piece, whose action centres on the most elite clique of girls, the illustrious members of the school’s diving team.

As team captain, Di (played by fast-rising Juno Temple) is closest of all the girls to Miss G, but her position is challenged when a beautiful Spanish girl, Fiamma (Maria Valverde) arrives and joins the diving team.

A clearly jealous Di pulls rank and lays down the rules in an attempt to assert her position, but Miss G is spellbound by Fiamma’s beauty and maturity, and becomes obsessed with her new favourite girl.

It is young Spanish actress Maria Valverde with whom Green shares the more sexually-charged sequences, but she stresses they are tastefully done; there’s nothing here for the “dirty mac” brigade.

In fact, one suspects Green might think they are too tastefully done.

“Filming the love scene with Maria was fine – we didn’t do many takes,” says Green.

“We’d rehearsed the day before, we knew exactly, clinically, what we were doing.”

The film is based on a 1999 novel by Sheila Kohler, set in the melting pot of a South African all-girls boarding school in the 1960s – so the time and setting have both been changed.

“I read the book many times, which was very helpful to understand Miss G’s obsession,” says Green.

“She’s completely obsessed in the book.

“She’s quite manly, she’s wearing overalls and smoking cigars! She’s more sexual.

“In the film, she’s very delicate, sophisticated and feminine – it’s not the same.

“That was the challenge, I feel, to make her normal.

“Or kind of normal!”

Working with the young Jordan Scott was a cherishable experience, reveals Green who has, of course, been directed by Jordan’s dad, Ridley, in Kingdom of Heaven.

Any comparisons between father and daughter?

“They both have red hair,” she smiles. “They’re very different. She’s very feminine, he’s macho, he fights! His films are quite manly and tough. Cracks is another world.”

Green’s own schooldays were not exactly happy ones. “I was a very good student, but I was a perfectionist,” she recalls.

“I wanted to be perfect in French, English, maths, everything. It was too much. In my school, there was no real relationship with the teacher, and I was very shy, just eyeing the walls. You couldn’t bloom as an individual. So I decided to stop school one night, when I was 16.

“I said to my mother, ‘I can’t do this any more; I never go out, and I work all the time, until 10pm!’

“So I then went to an American school, in France, and it was so much more relaxed, with great teachers. I became a much happier person. But there was no-one there like Miss G!”

The ever in-demand Green has just finished filming her next film, The Last Word with Ewan McGregor, which was shot mainly in Glasgow.

“How can I describe it?” she says. “It’s a love story and a beautiful black comedy set during the end of the world, and there’s a virus, and everyone loses their sensory perceptions, starting with taste.

“Ewan plays a chef who is losing his sense of taste, but whose cooking is getting spicier and spicier, and I’m playing an epidemiologist…”.

She throws me a quizzical look, maybe to check if I know what that is, before adding, “I’m playing a nerdy scientist!”

Yet again, there’s no room for type-casting with this very special lady.


2 Responses to “Eva’s licence to shock…”
  1. George Says:

    Thanks Miss M. It seems that you liked the interview so much that you couldn’t resist of inserting it twice 🙂

  2. EGW webmistress Says:

    Whoops. Check the source though, it was them – just didn’t pay enough attention. 😉