Eva Green repeatedly embodies dark, mysterious and seductive characters. In Tim Burton’s “The Island of Special Children”, too, the 36-year-old Parisian is anything but an average woman. In London she was available to answer questions from Patrick Heidmann.
London – It’s been 13 years since Eva Green – daughter of a French actress and a Swedish dentist – first caused a worldwide sensation with Bernardo Bertolucci’s controversial and frank love triangle “The Dreamers”. Since then she has played dark, mysterious and equally strong and seductive women, whether in “Casino Royale”, “300: Rise of an Empire” or the television series “Penny Dreadful”. In Tim Burton’s “The Island of Special Children”, too, the 36-year-old Parisian is anything but an average woman. In London she was available to answer our questions.
I was a fan of Tim’s films long before I worked with him. “Edward Scissorhands” is one of my all-time favorite films, as is “Beetlejuice”. When he gave me the role in “Dark Shadows” a few years ago – even without having to audition – I couldn’t believe my luck. When we first met, there was a thunderstorm outside and you could hear the thunder constantly. Somehow I found that very fitting.
That’s exactly what I thought. In any case, I would always stand in front of the camera for Tim, no matter what and how much he gives me to do. He is so unusual and wonderful. You also play roles with him that you would never play in other films. His vision is just unique and crazy in a great way.
You just emphasized it so much that you didn’t have to audition at Burton. Do you have to do this often?
Let’s put it this way: I try to avoid it wherever I can. I’ve already canceled roles because they wanted me to audition. Simply because I hate it, probably because I’m usually not a particularly optimistic person. Of course, I couldn’t allow myself this luxury in the past, because I went to hundreds of auditions. But you don’t believe how frustrating it is when you audition and realize that they already know who they want for the role. So often you are just another person looking at them so that you don’t end up being accused of not having searched in enough detail. But of course that doesn’t protect against disappointment. Such castings are almost always just power games and that’s why I don’t go along with this stress as much as possible.
To allude to the title “The island of special children”: what is your most outstanding feature?
Probably my shyness. As a child in particular, I was almost painfully shy. Everyone else had large groups of friends and cliques, but I was completely overwhelmed with any sort of integration. Sometimes I almost felt like I wasn’t part of life at all. Today I know that it is good to be different from the others. When you stay true to yourself. That’s why I can do so much with the message of our film.
So you’ve lost your shyness in the meantime?
I wouldn’t say it that way. But I no longer take to heart what other people think of me. For example, I am often told – by people who don’t know me very well – that I seem hypothermic and disinterested. This is not the case at all, which is why I could not deal with it in the past if someone had this wrong image of me and possibly spread it. Today I don’t care because I’ve learned not to worry about my image.
The viewer hardly knows this side of you from your roles. You are actually the toughest woman that the cinema has to offer for several years. I think of the James Bond girlfriend in “Casino Royale” 2006.
Do you mean? It’s definitely interesting that at the beginning of my career I never set out to be an action hero. Or obscure femme fatale. But as an actor you seize the opportunities that arise. In other words: it just happened that way. Although I have to admit that it is a lot of fun to play strong women.
Don’t you sometimes fear that you are locked into a certain type of woman and that you are no longer trusted to do anything else?
Of course, I see this danger, I’m not kidding myself. We all know how the film industry works. Before you know it, you’re stuck in some drawer and you can’t get out of it. But I do my best and I don’t get the impression that I’m playing the same thing over and over again. Even if women are often tough. For example, an orphanage director like the one in “The Island of Special Children” was something completely new for me.
And beyond the job? Have you ever seen men fear you because they knew you from “300: Rise of an Empire” or “Penny Dreadful”?
Oh nonsense. At least I haven’t noticed yet. It’s actually the other way around. When I meet new people, they say: how, that’s all? Because they wonder why I’m not as nasty and dominant as they saw in the cinema.
So it sounds as if you are actually okay with the image of the dark Gothic diva.
If it bothered me, I would probably only wear pink clothes the whole time.
Instead of the usual black that you are mostly seen in.
I really like the color. Black is so beautifully uncomplicated. I don’t have to worry too much about that, it always works. If someone attaches a certain image to me because of that, I don’t really care. But if it calms you down: my apartment is neither a horror cabinet nor a torture chamber. I might not necessarily say that I am perfectly normal or straightforward. But I’m not crazier or stranger than other people either. And the dark make-up that I like to wear on the red carpet is certainly nothing more than my armor, behind which I hide my shyness.
As a shy European, can you even cope with the glamor world of Hollywood?
When I first got there after my first film “The Dreamers” ten years ago, I was definitely a little intimidated and overwhelmed. I was pretty insecure that it’s always about who the latest hot newcomer is. But over time I’ve learned how to play in this great game.
You could just go back to France and work there, right?
Easier said than done. I have an agent there and I would really love to film in France again. But somehow I have the feeling that the people there believe that I deliberately fled France and wouldn’t even want to work there. The opposite is really the case. If only because French is my mother tongue and is actually easier for me than English.