Eva Green Interview

The actress reveals great screen chemistry with Daniel Craig

Eva Green smoldered onscreen in her debut film, The Dreamers. She takes the sex appeal and sassiness to the Bond franchise as Vesper Lynd, the woman who defines James Bond in Casino Royale; the origin story of the world's most famous secret agent. Controversy surrounded the casting of the film. While Daniel Craig withstood blistering criticism, Eva Green took her licks too. But if there is one thing I got out of this interview, Eva Green charts her own path. She couldn't care less what other people thought and is extremely proud of the film. Eva Green continues with the high profile projects. She is currently filming the adaptation of "The Dark Materials" trilogy.

Were you familiar with Daniel Craig before being cast in this film?

Eva Green: The first time I'd seen him was in Sylvia. Then I saw Enduring Love and Munich. I haven't seen Layer Cake yet. I've always liked him. When you see him onscreen he's always very intense and still, very much like a man.

Were you aware of the criticism that Daniel was receiving?

Eva Green: It's funny, because in the make-up trailer there are always lots of trashy magazines and it's always quite pleasant to go through them in the morning. That's when I realized, "Oh my, it's quite nasty". There was a lot of pressure on him. He was quite nervous and paranoid, especially in the Bahamas on the beach, lots of paparazzi. Even on me in France - nasty things! Like I was going to get fired, I was so bad. It's a type of publicity I must say. I just laugh about it. It's so ridiculous. And now, he's so amazing in the movie.

Did you sense a chemistry with Craig during the auditions?

Eva Green: No, I was cast last minute. They asked me to fly to Prague. I liked the script very much. I flew to Prague and did a bit of an audition. I was really focused and stressed out. And he was there. He was very, very blonde, like a Steve McQueen. He's moving a lot in real life. He's quite nervous. He was very lovely, very patient, and really connecting with me when we did the screen test.

So you were a last minute addition?

Eva Green: They asked me to come and audition a year and a half ago in London. I didn't want to because the Bond girl role is kind of dangerous for an actress. I don't know what happened, but they didn't find Vesper and they sent me the script. Then I went to Prague and did the screen test. They were not completely happy of course. I was in New York and called me do it again, because your English is not that perfect. There is always like a pretext and I had to do a formal audition in costume on the set with Daniel. I had to sign a pre-contract beforehand and got the part a week after; then straight to the Bahamas. It was quite mad.

Did you think they were wasting your time with the auditions?

Eva Green: When I met Daniel and the producers the first time in Prague, they were really looking for somebody and they were very interested. I could see they were interested.

The casting was such a media event. Every week in the press it was Angelina Jolie or Charlize Theron. Did you detach yourself from the process?

Eva Green: I didn't know. I didn't know about the Bond girl thing. I was approached very quickly, boom, boom, boom, it happened. So, you know after Angelina and Charlize...you...whatever. (laughs)

You mentioned that it is kind of dangerous for an actress to be a Bond girl. Why?

Eva Green: I loved the fact that it was very funny and sassy in the beginning. She evolved throughout the whole thing. She becomes a bit more vulnerable and just blossoms. They were just my colors for an actress. I didn't see this as just another Bond girl.

Were you a fan of the Bond franchise beforehand?

Eva Green: Fan? No. I mean, I always liked Bond. It was always on TV on Sunday night. I liked Sean Connery and it was very entertaining.

What's it like going from Indie films to being in a blockbuster?

Eva Green: I think the work is the same. It's just a difference when you do all the publicity. It's like another job. I remember the first time I did The Dreamers. I went to Venice; quite a good amount of publicity, a lot of roundtables and TV. I was just not expecting that. I thought I was going to visit Venice, but actually no.

You have great chemistry with Daniel in the film. Was there a lot of rehearsal?

Eva Green: We didn't have a lot of time to really prepare. It was more instantaneous and instinctive. In the morning I went to his trailer and if I wanted to make some changes there was sort of a go between me and the director. It was good because Daniel is always like, "C'mon let's go for it. Let's fight for it!"

It sounds like you got Daniel on your side with Martin Campbell. What didn't you like about the character that you wanted to change?

Eva Green: It's always from Bond's vision, from Bond's point-of-view. It's not from my vision, my point-of-view. I wanted to let the audience see that she was torn between things. That she felt guilty when she starts to fall in love with him. I think you need to see the movie several times to understand all that Lady Macbeth guilt.

She becomes one of the few girls he falls in love with, and then because of her actions; he becomes sort of a misogynist later on?

Eva Green: I like it, because she breaks his heart, but she has a big impact on his life and this is why he became the Bond we know. He's an asshole. (laughs) It's interesting, but I don't know what they are going to do in the next Bond. I know he's going to try and take revenge or something, but we are going backwards. We are not going to make all the Bonds again.

Did you have to do anything in terms of training for the role?

Eva Green: No. I don't have a lot of action to do.

How hard was the underwater scene?

Eva Green: I rehearsed it a lot underwater with a mouthpiece and not freaking out, because you can't see a thing. It's like being in a really bad nightmare. I've never seen somebody drown, but I really swallowed water. It was like choreography. It was very emotional. I was crying underwater at one point.

Your first big Hollywood movie was Kingdom of Heaven. Did that make you wary of Hollywood? It was so different from the release and director's cut.

Eva Green: That is the thing about the studios that is really hard. They are scared of things that are so dark. It was really painful to do the publicity and talk about it. It was not what I had done but, I learned a lot from it. I realized this is just a movie. This is not your life.

What's Casino Royale going to do for your career?

Eva Green: The good thing about this Bond thing, that I hope and pray, is that I'll have more opportunities. That roles will come up to me rather than going to the auditions. But I still have a lot of things to prove. I haven't, I think, shown all my talent.

What's next for you?

Eva Green: I'm doing "The Dark Materials". I play Serafina Pekkala, the witch.

There had been some controversy over whether they were going to take the church business out. Is it in the script?

Eva Green: Absolutely, I hope the studios will be brave enough and keep the darkness. But yes, the magic theory of the church is very present.

Are you signed on to all of the movies?

Eva Green: We are doing the first one and if it works at the box office we will do the other ones.

Casino Royale is in theaters this Friday and is rated 'PG-13' for intense sequences of violent action, a scene of torture, sexual content and nudity.