Eva Green left her childhood home in Paris’s Île Saint-Louis for London after she starred in The Dreamers, in 2003. In the five years since, the 28-year-old has been living out the fantasies of young women everywhere: Onscreen she’s been a Bond girl, Orlando Bloom’s love interest, and a witch. What sets Green apart in the land of beautiful actresses is the detached, I’m-too-smart-for-my-own-good persona she has cultivated. Now she’s taking on the role of a boarding school teacher in director Jordan Scott’s forthcoming drama Cracks and also appears in Gerald McMorrow’s upcoming dystopian sci-fi film Franklyn.
KALEEM AFTAB: What is Cracks about?
EVA GREEN: It’s a very interesting project, quite unusual, and some of it is a bit taboo. It’s a psychological drama about girls on a swim team at an English boarding school, and they’re all in love with the swim teacher, Miss G, whom I play. Everything is going well—Miss G is very bohemian, glamorous, and a bit eccentric, and suddenly a new girl arrives who rocks the school’s comfortable world.
KA: What are the taboo elements?
EG: Aha! Maybe I shouldn’t say “taboo”—it’s not quite right. It’s a bit more like “discovery.” It’s about growing up, sexual awakening, how -innocence is lost.
KA: What’s your character like?
EG: She’s complicated. She’s a great teacher—very modern, very cool, and she seems quite confident, but deep down she’s like a little girl. It was interesting for me to show all those colors. It’s quite a gift to give an actor, and it doesn’t happen very often, so I was lucky.
KA: After playing a Bond girl, did you want to do something a little smaller and more independent?
EG: Yeah. Before Cracks, I did Franklyn, also an independent feature. As an actor I find it very handy to be less inside a big machine and more focused on the characters.
KA: How did Franklyn go?
EG: It’s completely mad. It’ll be so difficult to sell this movie. It’s a sci-fi, psychological thriller about three characters who are completely in love and fucked-up and trying to find their identities. I play two characters in it. One of them is quite dark and tries several times to commit suicide—she’s an art student of the Tracey Emin and Sophie Calle school. The other character is completely the opposite, kind of like Mary Poppins. It’s mad, and I like that.
A lot of the films now are more focused on the visuals than on the actors. I think all directors should go to drama school.Eva Geen
KA: You’ve been in the limelight since you appeared in The Dreamers. How has it been for you?
EG: Hmm, limelight . . . No, I’m not Sienna Miller or Angelina Jolie. I’m very lucky and happy, but I still find it very difficult to get good scripts and good roles. It’s really a jungle out there.
KA: So you’re not a big fan of doing publicity and getting yourself out there for everyone to see?
EG: I hardly ever go to parties. If I really have to, I’ll go, but I’m not the most open person, which is sometimes not the best quality. It’s okay, though. It’s like playing a character, and you just get on with it.
KA: I was surprised that you chose to play a Bond girl [in Casino Royale (2006)]. I wouldn’t have thought that someone who starred in The Dreamers would do a blockbuster like that.
EG: My God, me neither. I didn’t want to do Casino Royale when they told me to audition. I said no. Then they sent me the script, and I thought it was actually very interesting-and I had no other work at the time. [laughs] I also liked Daniel Craig. He’s not like any other Bond. So we’ll see. In 10 years I might be cursed for doing it, but I’m very grateful for what it has done for me.
KA: Has being a Bond girl changed how people see you walking down the street?
EG: I dress like a dork in real life, so people really have to look to recognize me.
KA: Cracks marks the first time that you’ve been the main star in a film. Is that added pressure?
EG: Yeah, if it fails it would be bad. [laughs] We’ll see, touch wood—I’m very proud of what I’ve done. I haven’t seen a single moment from the film yet.
KA: There’s a long fascination in cinema with English boarding schools. Do you understand the obsession?
EG: To me, boarding schools always seemed a bit sinister. It was a threat when I was a child, something to scare you with if you were naughty. Honestly, I don’t understand if you have children why you’d want to put them in boarding school.
KA: That’s because you’re not English! Do you think you’ve gotten more confident as you’ve become older?
EG: Confident? Maybe in public. Workwise, I wish I were more confident.
KA: Do you rely a lot on human interactions when you work?
EG: It’s very important but very rare these days that we can do rehearsals before starting to shoot. You usually arrive on set, meet one another, and just do the job. It’s a gamble. A lot of the films now are more focused on the visuals than on the actors. I think all directors should go to drama school.