Eva Green: From Bond Girl to Witch
by Paul Fischer
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She was the latest Bond girl and now, the beguiling French actress Eva Green is a witch, but not the kind of witch you expect, in The Golden Compass. About to leave for a vacation in Australia, Green says she hopes to do more than fly around in the next two installments of this epic trilogy. Green talked to Paul Fischer in London.
Paul Fischer: What were the, you spent most of your time in the air—you were flying around in this movie a lot of the time. Was that something that you enjoyed? Dealing with all this, special effects and stuff.
Eva Green: It was not special effects. I was really in the air, suspended on wires and traveling very fast and I had to land very sharply. And I felt like I was in a plane crash sometimes. That was scary. That is not my favorite thing, I would say. But I’d learned a lot and I survived.
PF: How tricky is it to do that and act at the same time, did it get easier as you went along?
EG: No, it’s not really acting, you know? In the air, it’s not really. My acting scenes are with the child and with Lee Scoresby. Otherwise it’s more like a challenge, I would say, to fight and fly.
PF: After Bond, James Bond. Why this particular?
EG: Because it’s a witch, first of all. I mean, it’s quite cool. It’s a little girl’s dream. And I love the books. The books are very rich, very complex and it’s not like a typical fantasy adventure. It’s very clever, very spiritual, very philosophical, and it’s also full of magic. It’s just fun and clever.
PF: Does your character have a prominent part in the next two books?
EG: Yeah, my character is much more important in the second one because you go into her world and the relationship that she has with Lee Scoresby is also more important. It’s very moving. We’ll see what they do with it, but she becomes much more important.
PF: And can you talk about working with Dakota?
EG: Dakota is a beautiful person, very good actress. It’s her first movie, a big part, and she was very professional, very calm, and she was really enjoying every minute. It’s such a pleasure to see somebody who is passionate and very excited and sometimes you forget as an actor that it’s just playing, you know? So it was nice to see that, and she’s very sweet.
PF: What does doing something like Casino Royale do for you? Does it allow you to choose stuff that you want to do? What do you get out of it?
EG: You are, you become more famous I would say. It gives you more opportunities, more scripts. But it’s still, I think, quite hard to get good material and I still have to prove a lot as an actress, I think. I don’t want to be typecast as an enigmatic femme fatale, that kind of thing. I just finished a movie called Franklyn, which is very, very different from what I’ve done before.
PF: What is that [Franklyn]?
EG: It’s a crazy movie. It’s a first time director, Gerald McMorrow, and it’s with Sam Riley and Ryan Phillippe. It’s about three people who are completely schizophrenic and lost. And I play two characters. It is impossible to summarize.
PF: It’s a science fiction futuristic type of thing, isn’t it?
EG: Ryan Phillippe is in the parallel world and it’s a sci-fi universe. And then, we all live in a parallel (universe), a bit like His Dark Materials. But one of my characters is quite—she’s a tormented artist. She’s a bit like Sophie Calle, Tracy Emin, and then the other one is very light, full of life, very witty, and big sense of humor. She’s the opposite of the other one.
PF: And do you ever interact with each other?
PF: So what would be your daemon?
EG: Hmm…A frog.
EG: Because they’re French.
PF: How do you deal with this fame sort of thing, Daniel told that he runs away to avoid it, what do you do?
EG: I’m not really followed on the streets or…I live a normal life and I’m not—people don’t really recognize me. Boring life, you know?
PF: I was just going to ask you a little bit more about the flying. Were there particular I mean were you good, I mean being on ropes and things like that things like harnesses and things like that when you’re flying? Are you cool with being up in the air and that kind of thing?
EG: Not really but you know, I had to do it.
PF: How do you psych yourself up for a day when you know you’re going to go in and you’re going to be on wires all day long?
EG: I was surrounded by very patient stunt people. It’s all in the head, so you really have to be calm and I learned a lot from it, actually. Just to focus. To concentrate. “I’m going to land. I’m going to land.”
PF: Any good incidents where, as a practical joke they kind of let you hang in the air too long or—
EG: No, everything went fine. We’ll see for the second movie.
PF: They shot and cut out the ending of this—?
EG: Yes, they added some stuff and then they, it’s, it’s not the same ending as in the book. So I don’t know why they’re going to do that. They’re going to start (the second film) with the ending of the first book.
PF: When do you think they’re going to start shooting this next movie? Do you have a date yet?
EG: September 2008.
PF: So you’ve got a while to worry about that.
EG: (Lightly) Yeah.
PF: Do you know what you’re going to do next, or anything planned?
EG: I haven’t signed [for] anything yet, no.
PF: Are you looking for something else?
EG: I just want to lie down on the beach right now.
PF: Your character has a very maternal kind of [bond] with Lyra. And I’m just wondering on the set did you feel a little protective of her because she was new—
EG: Yeah, absolutely.
PF: Did you guys go to lunch or anything like that together?
EG: Yeah, yeah, yeah. We got on very well, actually. Yeah, yeah. I really like her, but she’s not like a child. She’s very mature. We talked to her as if we were the same age. She’s very clever. She’s quite amazing.
PF: Did you give her any advise because she’s such a newcomer to the industry?
EG: No. She’s very talented. It’s quite hard, all the attention right now and publicity. It’s all new. But she’s learning very quickly and she has a very good mother who is very down-to-earth and doesn’t buy into all the bullshit.
PF: When you made your entrance in the movie is very dramatic, announcing your name and all that how did you complete that scene?
EG: I don’t know, it’s quite a simple scene. She’s very regal, and I wanted her to be a bit scary at the beginning and not like, “Oh, I’m a good witch! Hello. How you doing?” And, actually, each time Lyra meets new characters they all are a bit dangerous. You don’t know who they are. And she’s testing her. She wants to know if she’s the child of the prophecy. It was not too difficult.
PF: That particular scene though, is different in the books.
EG: In the book, for example, she has a longer scene on the balloon with Lee Scoresby. So that was a bit cut and shorter. But, I think it’s interesting that she is the one testing the child.
PF: Did you work with Ruth Myers in terms of the costume?
EG: I wanted to look a bit like from the Waterhouse painting. You know, quite pre-Raphaelite. And also she’s barefoot, quite ethereal, and the material’s quite translucent and see-through, because witches don’t feel the cold. If they were going to wear heavy clothing it would prevent them from sensing the world around them. They’re very close to nature.
Paul Fischer is originally from Australia. Now he is an interviewer and film critic living in Hollywood.
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