A native of Paris, Eva Green spent three years at the Eva St Paul School before attending a London workshop at the Webber Douglas acting school. Her theater experience includes Didier Long’s “Jealousie 3 Fax” and Gerard Deshartes’ “Turcarcet.”
Bernardo Bertolucci’s controversial “The Dreamers” was Green’s first film. In 2003 she followed it up with “Arsene Lupin” for director Jean-Paul Salomé and she will next be seen playing the Lady Macbeth-esque princess Sibylla in Ridley Scott’s Crusades epic “Kingdom of Heaven”.
Question: What research did you do for the role?
Green: I was hired a week before shooting so I didn’t have much time to prepare. I read a book called “The Crusades through Arab Eyes”. I also had a look at pre-rendered paintings just to get a feel of the atmosphere of the times. I also looked into music of the region for the emotional feel. Those costumes help me a lot, they were very reminiscent of the East and helped me get into the character.”
Question: How did you land the part?
Green: I did like 5-6 screen tests, it was a long tough process. The first screen test was in London, and then I met Ridley and we just talked about the Crusades and I was speechless – I was so shy, I was scared that he’d find out my English was not good enough. He was also concerned that I might not be regal enough.
Then two weeks later he called and said I have to do a serious screen test in the Pinewood studios with a real actor, costumes and so on. I thought he had picked someone else, then one morning and I woke up and I had 17 calls from my manager saying “oh my good you’ve got the part”. It was a bit overwhelming at the beginning.
Question: How was Ridley to work with as a Director?
Green: I think he trusts people. He’s quite a mysterious person, he never really tells you what to do. He makes you feel quite liberated with the role, he’s open to new ideas and changing a scene. He doesn’t give you limits so you can do whatever you want. That’s quite good, you don’t feel like you have to play something one way.
I really like the fact he really trusted me, that’s all. I just felt very free. He told me several times I was very good at internalising and I have a dark side, and I think he is like that also – he doesn’t like sentimental or cheesy things. He likes women who have a manly side and don’t reveal their emotions very much.
Question: In the longer version of the film, Sibylla has a child?
Green: Yes. There’s another version of the movie that will be released later, it was like three hours and a few minutes so we had to cut the movie and now it’s more focused on the relationship between the Christians & the Muslims, it’s more focused on the men.
First of all it was a too long script so they had to make compromises, the love story might’ve been too long and the son story might’ve been too long also. It will exist though, and my character is extremely different in the other version – she’s more complex. I’m happy it exists and I’m very proud that it’s not going to be locked away.