Eva Green has now enjoyed international film success as a Bond Girl, playing the alluring Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale opposite Daniel Craig. However, Matthew Turner first interviewed Eva Green for Viewlondon after she had just starred in her debut film, The Dreamers and discovered there is more to Eva Green than just a pretty Bond Girl face.
Eva, how nervous were you – working with Bertolucci on your first film?
When I heard that I was picked for the part I was very excited, then I was very, very scared about measuring up, you know, because he had worked with a lot of very good actors. Marlon Brando, masters.
What was the hardest thing on set?
I would say everything. It���s not only the naked scenes. I surprised myself because it was not so hard, you know? I stopped being self-conscious and questioning myself. I wanted to be good in every scene. So, everything.
What was your impression of Bertolucci as a director?
On the first day, he tested us. You know, he was, Okay, are you going to be good? Okay, impress me
. But, that was just the first day and then he trusted us and we felt very free on the set. He manipulates without manipulating, it’s very Zen. Like Buddha.
Did you get the impression he was being extra careful because of the type of story he was telling? Did he try and make you comfortable?
Like a Dad, you mean? Yeah, some people of the crew would give us some cognac or stuff like that to relax, but, um, yeah, it was easy. You know, like, when we were making love on the floor he was directing us like, how do you say chef d’orchestre? A conductor. You know, like, Okay, okay, orgasm and then ah, there we are.
So you don’t think, you do it.
Would you say today’s youth are less passionate about politics than people were in the 60s?
Yeah. We’re much more cynical and we don’t really have great expectations and I can’t explain really why, but we don’t have ideals or dreams like they had at that time. As Bernardo says, we missed a bigger window on the future. For me, I’m not really involved with politics, I’m like Isabelle, I’m living in my cocoon with my classical music around.
Isabelle is inspired by these Hollywood greats, like Garbo, Dietrich and so on. Did some of these names mean the same things to you?
Yeah, absolutely. At the beginning, I was supposed to do a scene from Beyond the Forest with Bette Davis and the writer told me that the character should be like Bette Davis at the beginning, you know, very provocative, with a sharp tongue, like she’s going to bite you.
So I saw movies with her, just to know, not to imitate her but to see. And so, of course, Queen Christina and Greta Garbo, but I don’t like her very much. She’s wearing a mask, you know, very distant, very traditional.
How did you actually feel when The Dreamers was over? When they said, Cut, that’s a wrap?
At the end? I was depressed. Oh yeah, it was terrible, because I’d got along very well with the crew, with Bernardo, with the two actors. It was a love story, really. And sometimes reality and fiction are intertwined.
Had you seen any of Michael Pitt's American films before you started working together?
No, I hadn’t seen his movies before. I remember I was on a tour in
France and my agent told me, Okay, look, Murder By Numbers, this is the actor, Michael Pitt
. And he had long hair, you know, big lips, and I thought, Oh my God, he’s a girl, or…?
, but no, I was very impressed, I really like him very much. He looks like an angel but he’s got a lot of violence, he’s very complex. No, I love him.
American attitudes and European attitudes are very different – did you find that working with Michael?
With Michael? Oh my God, yeah. He was scared that people in America would think that he was a pornographic actor and he said that if we see his penis it’s the end of the world and I don’t understand why. That’s the reason Jake Gyllenhaal turned down the part, but, yeah, he was very worried about his girlfriend.
And you stayed in London. What do you think of London?
Yes, for two months. But I haven’t really seen much of London, you know, I had eight hours a day, it was very intensive, but I love the way they worked. It’s much more furious than in France. The dramatic school, I mean.
In France, the auditions and the plays aren’t good, they’re too laid back. And I remember in the London school you had a voice teacher, you had an improvisation course, you had to study authors, you had a lot of things. In France, you just act in a lot of scenes, but it’s too vague.
Would you like to come to London to do something on the stage?
Yeah, my God. Of course. But I have to practice my English first. I did have English classes with the school, too. In Ramsgate.
What about America? Are you keen to make films there too?
I think it’s the dream of every actor, you know? Maybe people can say, Okay, I’m not going to be in American movies
but it’s just
pretentious – everyone wants to work in America. Maybe not blockbusters or Terminator but to have the choice.
Are there any other directors you’d love to work with, in an ideal situation?
Lars Von Trier, David Lynch, I love The Hours, who directed that?
Stephen Daldry. Spike Jonze. What’s the name of the guy who did Fight Club? David Fincher. Yeah, oh my god.
What kind of preparation do you do? Are you a Method actress?
I’m very cerebral and so I like to work beforehand in knowing that. It’s very interesting, because compared to Michael, who didn’t know his lines, you know, in the morning, he was like, Okay, okay, no problem!
But, you know, he likes to improvise and there was the English – I worked two months with an English coach before doing the movie, with Louis.
It was good because we had time to know each other and I really enjoyed watching all the movies with Bette Davis and whatever. It, um, how do you say that, it feeds me. And I always need that, even when I’m not shooting a movie, I want to think that I’m somebody else, I’m creating somebody else in my head.