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Eva Green talks about her role in Casino Royale

19-Nov-2006 • Casino Royale

The exotic and secretive Vesper Lynd spends much of Casino Royale dressed in glamorous, vintage evening gowns, but in real life, Eva Green is kind of a goth chick - reports EW

On and off screen, the 26-year-old French actress circles her eyes in black eyeliner. When EW.com interviewed her at a New York hotel last week, she was wearing a black blouse, had a skull ring on the middle finger of her right hand, and sported black knee-length alligator boots over her jeans. ''She has a mystery about her. She's the heartbeat of this movie,'' says costar Daniel Craig.

Green can be mysterious whether she's a veiled princess, as in last year's Kingdom of Heaven, or wearing nothing at all, as she was during much of her debut film, Bernardo Bertolucci's The Dreamers. Green — who pronounces her first name ''EH-va,'' so that her full name sounds like a Barbra Streisand song title — gets her striking good looks from her mother, Algerian-born French actress Marlène Jobert, who starred in Jean-Luc Godard's Masculine-Feminine 40 years ago. Green's not finished playing international women of mystery; next up, she's a sorceress in The Golden Compass.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So you didn't want to be a Bond girl at first?
EVA GREEN: Oh, no.

What changed your mind?
I read the script. She's more a down-to-earth person, less iconic. She's not just a beautiful bimbo. She's also, very, clever, very sharp, very funny. She evolves. She's not like [Famke Janssen's supersexual, aggressive character from GoldenEye, Xenia] Onatopp. She opens up and blossoms and is more vulnerable.

Are you irked by the focus on your looks?
You do a lot of photo shoots, and it's based on the beauty thing, and it's like, ''Oh, the sexy Bond girl! Whoa!'' It's really annoying, but I can't really complain. I just hope people enjoy my performances.

Were you pleased with the amount of action work you got to do in the movie?
I was happy. I'm not the most physical person in the world. I just had to do some running. I took it seriously. It's very difficult. I love the way Daniel moves. It's very sexy, very sharp, and good to watch. But I had a stunt double in the staircase for the scene where she has to jump in high heels. It's not me, thank God.

How was it shooting the poker sequences, in which you had a more passive role?
My God. We had three weeks. It was never-ending. [Director] Martin Campbell did a great job, but it was so claustrophobic, so stuffy. I have a mental block for cards anyway. I have no patience.

How difficult was it to act during the underwater sequence, where Vesper has to express some difficult emotions without words?
It's like a choreography. She loves him, but she has to express it without saying anything. It was quite emotional.

What is Daniel Craig like to work with?
He's very paternal, always asking, ''Are you all right?'' He's very focused, very intense in a good way. We didn't have a lot of time to joke and have fun.

What do you think of his take on James Bond?
He's a real man. He doesn't look at himself in the mirror every morning. He's rugged. He's emotional. He's not just a killing machine. He's very visceral, physical, dangerous. So that's very attractive.

What did you think of the barrage of bad press aimed at Daniel during production?
I thought it was very funny. In the makeup trailer in the mornings, I'd read the tabloids, and they'd say he's blond, he can't act, he can't drive a car. What can you do? I knew his work before, and I always thought he was fantastic. He was worried. He wanted to be so good. And the paparazzi took pictures of me on the beach making faces. I was just having fun. And they were saying, ''Oh my God, she's going crazy.'' My mother said I ought to go to court, but I thought it was quite funny. What can you do? It's just publicity at the end of the day. It was more difficult for Daniel. But now it's over.

How much did your mother's career influence your decision to become an actress?
Bertolucci said recently that I wanted to kill my mother because I don't work in France. She stopped working at 40. She's very supportive because she knows how crazy it is. She's very helpful and proud, not a manager.

Did her Algerian background have anything to do with the decision to make Vesper's ex-boyfriend, who is mentioned in the film, an Algerian?
Ah! My God! I didn't think of that! It's in the script. [My mother] stayed in Algeria 'til the age of 8. She never really talked about it.

Is it just a coincidence that your three movies have all touched on global politics?
Oh my God, yeah. I'm not very good at politics. I'm not really involved, which might be a bad thing, but I'm always in political movies. I don't know why. There are terrorists in this movie, but it's just Bond. I don't think it's that profound on that level.

What's your role in The Golden Compass?
I'm playing Serafina Pekkala, a good witch, a very wise character. I hope the studio will be brave enough to bring the darkness and not make it a new Harry Potter. It questions religion and God, so we'll see what they do with it. But the first script is really good.

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