G   /   March 26, 2019   /   0 Comments

by Hayley Maitland
As she prepares to take to the skies in Dumbo, Vogue catches up with Eva Green about playing trapeze artist Colette, her edgy wardrobe, and the key political message behind the Disney remake.

How did you prepare for the role of Colette?
The character was actually based on Colette Janine Marchand, the ballerina and actress who was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in the 1952 version of Moulin Rouge – although I had no idea of that when I accepted the part! In the film, she’s really a bird in a cage – and quite an enigmatic one at that.

What was your training like for the aerial scenes?
I’ve always been completely terrified of heights, and I had to do a lot of my own stunts. I trained with circus performers just outside of London. Those people are equal parts crazy and talented and generous. I had to learn how to trust myself up on the platform and just…let go. It’s actually great for strengthening your core. There were moments when I thought I was going to have to quit. I would come out of practice covered in bruises – especially behind my knees. Then, one day, it just clicked. It’s all in the mind really.

How important were the costumes to your role?
Incredibly. Our costume designer Colleen Atwood is a genius. [Atwood studied the collections at both Circus World in Baraboo, Wisconsin, and Ringling Circus Museum in Sarasota, Florida, when conceiving her designs.] I felt like a Disney princess sometimes, especially in the performance outfits with the long trains, crazy headdresses, and fitted waists. I just needed a wand, and that was it.

What were your favourite moments on set?
Well, it was nice the first time that I did a stunt on set because everybody applauded. Usually, you have to be on stage for that to happen! I had been so nervous and worked for so long to fly though that everyone was clapping. Obviously, a lot of the film is CGI, and I had to work with somebody in a green suit and a sort of mechanical bull to stand in for Dumbo…So many illusions! What made filming special though was that there were so many really over-the-top sets. It felt like going back to the golden age of Hollywood, particularly the scenes with all of the acrobats and spectators in Disneyland.

How do you feel the 2019 version of Dumbo compares to the original 1941 film?
I must have first watched the original Dumbo when I was about five, and it’s been a while since I revisited it. The relationship between the mother and the baby elephant gets me every time. I actually feel like the 2019 version of the film is more emotional. The elephants are so beautiful and realistic that it’s impossible not to be moved. I hope it makes people aware of how remarkable and majestic these creatures are – and encourages them to fight to protect them. It’s wonderful that Disney is promoting animal-free circuses with this film. Then there’s poaching to fight against as well.

Your style has been particularly impressive recently; do you have a secret formula that you rely on?
It’s wonderful to dress up for the red carpet…If Alexander McQueen gives me a dress, I’m going to enjoy wearing it. That said, I have to feel like myself in my clothes. I work with the stylist Leslie Fremar. She’s a little bit edgy, and she really listens to you. I always prefer a dress that feels original, whether it’s Iris Van Herpen or Tom Ford. Original, like Dumbo! In terms of day-to-day style, I’m all about being comfortable. I prefer flats to heels, and I wear a lot of Rick Owens and Ann Demeulemeester – leggings and flowing tops, especially. If I’m home though, I may just stay in sweatpants…

Finally, how do you stay looking fresh when you’re on the road constantly?
No. 7 from boots. My skin is quite dry, and their cream is incredibly nourishing. It’s boring, but I also drink lots of water and eat well. That makes more of a difference than any product. That said, I do love a sheet mask…

Dumbo is in cinemas from March 29.

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