A-List: Eva Green

Eva Green

“I think this [Showtime’s Penny Dreadful] and Sin City 2 have officially ended Eva Green’s time on the ‘It’ list.”

The quote above comes from a commenter on the Lebeau’s Le Blog FB Page.  (If you haven’t already done so, like us already!)  The comment sparked a bit of debate between myself and the commenter.  Even after the conversation had concluded, I was thinking about Green and her status in Hollywood.  I don’t think anyone would argue that Green is currently on the A-list.  But she certainly has the potential to be.  Following her turn as a Bond girl in the 2006 hit, Casino Royale, her name was on everyone’s lips.  But in the eight years that followed, Green has yet to become a star.

I could almost ask, “What the hell happened?”  But I think it’s still too early to write off Green’s chances of A-list stardom.  Because even though she has starred in two disappointing movies this year, I actually think Green is having a very good 2014 career-wise.

Green is a French model-turned-actress.  She started out acting in theater.  In 2001, Green she was nominated for a Molière Award for her performance in  Jalousie en Trois Fax .

Green - the Dreamers

Green’s made her film debut in Bernardo Bertolucci’s controversial romance, The Dreamers.

Michael Pitt starred as an American foreign exchange student who goes to Paris in 1968.  He befriends a pair of French siblings played by Louis Garrel and Green.  Since they are not only French, but French in the 60s, these siblings think nothing of sleeping together naked.  Reluctantly, Pitt begins participating in their extremely liberated lifestyle.

The Dreamers was the first movie released in the US with an NC-17 rating since Orgazmo in 1997.  Several theater chains refused to carry it because, well, Americans are afraid of sex.  Damn the Puritans.  Even Green was taken aback by the film’s open sexuality:

“It was as though I was wearing a costume while we were making the film.  It was as if I had another story in my mind. So I was left speechless.”

In her first film role, Green was nominated for the European Film Award for Best Actress.

Eva Green - Kingdom of Heaven

In 2005, Green appeared in Ridley Scott’s Crusade epic, Kingdom of Heaven.

Orlando Bloom starred as a blacksmith who may or may not be the son of a pirate.  Actually his father is played by Liam Neeson and his character is not a pirate.  But the movie probably would have been a lot more fun if he had been.  Instead, he is a Crusader who recruits his son to the cause.  Sadly, Johnny Depp is nowhere to be found.  No Keira Knightley either although Green shows up as an exotic princess.  Edward Norton played her brother, the king, although Norton was uncredited and his face is covered by a mask the whole time.  The movie never addresses whether or not these siblings sleep together naked, so I’m just going to assume they do.

Kingdom of Heaven opened to mixed reviews.  It was a box office bomb in the US, but it performed well overseas.  US audiences were not yet familiar with her, but internationally, she was a rising star.  Which is exactly the sort of resume that can get you cast a Bond girl.

Green - Casino Royale

In 2006, Green joined the long cinematic tradition of Bond babes in Casino Royale.

Casino Royale was the first Bond movie for Daniel Craig.  It was based on Ian Fleming’s first James Bond novel and was therefore treated as a reboot of the series to the degree that the series has ever had any kind of continuity.  Green played  Vesper Lynd, a British Treasury agent assigned to protect $10 million dollars which Bond is using as a buy-in for a high stakes poker game.

The Bond series was at a critical juncture.  Although each of Pierce Brosnan’s four 007 movies was financially successful, they grew increasingly more ridiculous.  The series was in danger of becoming a parody of itself.  The producers made the controversial decision to let Brosnan go and reboot the series with Craig as Bond.  The announcement drew the ire of many Bond fans who referred to Craig as James Blond.

But the movie proved a winner and audiences embraced Craig as the new face of James Bond blond hair and all.  The movie was a critical and commercial smash.  Green, who had a scene-stealing role, was praised as one of the best Bond girls of all times.



Posted on August 31, 2014, in A-List, Movies and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 23 Comments.

  1. There is something hauntingly beautiful about her. Piercing eyes, and a sensuality garners attention. I look forward to her performances.

    It’s interesting to note that many of the movies seem to break even in the States and must make their profit overseas. Maybe some of the actors recognize this and plan their career to meet the needs of the overseas audience? Maybe Hollywood is losing its status as the center of the movie industry. It will be interesting to see how the movie industry adapts to the new economic paradigm.

    Brad Deal


    • Definitely interesting times. Movies are being made based on the preferences of foreign audiences. Such a thing was unthinkable in the 80s. It used to be the foreign market was where you made your money if you made cheapo action movies or you hoped to break even on your box office failure. For a hit film, it was a little extra dough. But these days, it is not at all uncommon for a movie to bomb in the US and make bank overseas. So why should Hollywood care what American audiences want any more? We are becoming less and less relevant all the time.

      Green is probably a bigger star in other countries than she is here in the US. Here, she was absent from the screen for several years. But in Europe, she’s been a constant presence.

      I definitely agree about her screen presence. She has a danger about her that few actresses have. I saw one headline proclaiming her the “queen of scary sexy”. She’s always sexy, but she’s never just some screen bimbo. There’s always something underneath the sultry looks and perfect breasts. Something that the MPAA apparently couldn’t handle.


  2. I really like Eva Green’s style, and I agree that it appears she has no interest in chasing fame. That’s awesome she isn’t willing to copromise. I also think her looks are something (great choice of first photo, Lebeau; I removed that photo from the pages of Maxim some time back and have it sticking out of a cardboard box that is under a small table next to a leather chair in my living room. Whew, that was long winded!).
    I viewed “The Dreamers” back when it appeared on HBO and noted that the director was the same guy who directed “Last Tango in Paris”, so I ready for some serious nudity, and that film didn’t disappoint (However, for a film with a decent amount of nudity and set in 1968, I prefer “The Unbearable Lightness of Being”). As it comes to Eva Green’s US film career, I think she has already past french actresses such as Emmanuelle Beart and Catherine Deneuve (beauties in their own right, and actresses in which their film output was mostly overseas).


    • The thing about Green is that she is a French actress who also dabbles in Hollywood. Tinseltown isn’t the end all be all any more. International audiences are more important than ever before. And growing more important all the time. Casting Green won’t open your movie in America. But she has a pretty terrific track record overseas. That’s a big deal.


  3. I haven’t seen much of Eva Green’s work since Casino Royale and The Golden Compass. I agree with the comments about her screen presence–it’s spellbinding in a way that European actresses sometimes are. I also agree with lebeau that she will probably be working for a long time to come–whether it’s in European cinema mixed with Hollywood, on stage, or following Sarah Polley into directing and writing along with acting. I will definitely be checking out films like The Salvation and White Bird in a Blizzard.


    • Even in a bad movie, she is captivating. If she’s in a movie, you know there will be something worth watching. I definitely recommend Penny Dreadful. It was a very pleasant surprise. I look forward to seeing where her career is headed. You know it will be more interesting than the usual string of either horror movies or rom coms.


  4. Right. I feel quite strongly about Eva Green, whom I think is fab.

    1) She is SPECTACULARLY beautiful. Even Angelina Jolie, Monica Bellucci, and Cate Blanchett can’t hold a candle to her. Possibly the most ridiculously glorious thing in front of a camera in the current era, maybe with the exception of Erin O’Connor. However, the latter is a work of art rather than sexy, and not an actress.

    2) But Eva’s beauty is self-assured & aware, and her presence utterly controlled; she always seems like a voyeuse who’s briefly taking centre stage. And she’s clearly not bothered about nudity, in an era when actresses are supposed to be naked as much as possible whilst pretending that it’s naughty / they’re embarrassed about it, whether on film, a beach, or the red carpet. (Yep, Daily Mail, I’m looking at you & your Sidebar of Shame.) If they don’t live down to that image, then They Must Pay for it.

    3) She’s a fine actress, despite recently almost always appearing in complete shit. Look at the reviews for ‘Camelot’, which I watched in part for her. They were universally (correctly) damning of its awfulness, yet no-one had a bad word to say about her. She’s magnetic, and delivers. Every time.

    4) I think she’s half-English? Proper bilingual, anyway. So no reason for not employing her based on language “issues”.

    5) Rather nice comment in a recent piece on Variety (
    “Intended or not, there’s a disconcerting trend in the premium drama sphere that implies women only become compelling once they’ve been victimized”
    – try victimising a character played by Eva Green & making it look plausible, I dare you.

    So I think the problem is a combo of 2 + 5. She comes across as too damn independent a woman for the US film industry to deal with. Europe / indie cinema is happier with ballsy females*, but she apparently is prepared to aim bigger budget at a cost of profile. I can’t believe that she’s happy as things stand, but in H/wood she’ll just never break out to her level of talent & appearance in an age where women are very much the second sex**.

    Feminism is alive, but unfortunately in mainstream cinema it’s in very poor health. Grrrr.

    • ‘Y Tu Mama Tambien’ will, I suspect, NEVER get a remake in the US due to its horrendous implication that an attractive woman might want to take control and have sex on her terms with a couple of younger men. Compare & contrast with a multitude of films where it’s absolutely dandy for older male leads to nob women half their age. In fact, expected.

    ** ‘Network’ was probably the peak of female equality in cinema. That was 38 years ago. The environment has gone steadily downhill since then.


    • I should also point out to those who have got this far but not seen her move that her beauty comes alive on screen. Pictures do her few favours by comparison.


  5. Interesting article. On the topic of Green as a potential A-Lister can anyone state how her American accent sounds? A passable American accent would certainly help her in Hollywood.

    Also, I have to disagree slightly with sentence.

    In the US, it grossed a mere $80 million against a $150 million dollar production budget. Fortunately, it performed much better overseas where it turned a profit.

    While it certainly performed better overseas, I doubt it actually turned a profit theatrically. $80 million domestically + $165 million internationally means a worldwide total of $245 million and since modern films (especially tentpoles) need to make at least double their listed production budget (in order to cover marketing expenses and the exhibitors’ cut) just to break even I can’t see anyway Dark Shadows could be in the black based just on the theatrical gross. (And actually since Burton and Depp both likely got first dollar deals for it DS probably needed closer to a 2.5 or even 3 multiplier to break even.)


  6. Ah, Camelot. I watched the first few episodes, until it took a week off. In that time were the first two episodes of Game of Thrones, which did all the same things except a hundred times better. While I tried to watch the next episode, it just wasn’t same.

    Also, the director’s cut of Kingdom of Heaven is pretty good.

    One thing that may have affected her career, she’s probably currently the highest-profile actress who has no problem getting naked on camera. You don’t see much of that around these days. If there’s a (seemingly) good role around that also requires nudity, she seems to be the one to call.


    • Yeah, Camelot had so much potential. But it was so dull and yet at the same time silly. It was a wasted opportunity. But the fact that it did not get renewed for several seasons freed Green up for Penny Dreadful which is a lot more interesting. I’m looking forward to the second season of that show.


  7. She had the potential to be a star. She is beautiful, talented, and mysterious enough that you always want to know more. But if you read about ALL the roles she turned down or backed out of that could’ve made her a star, it seems she’s made a conscious decision not to be one.

    “I was not offered something interesting [after Casino Royale] by Hollywood. Every role was the boring beautiful girl. Instead of doing that, I made movies that not a lot of people saw but were good for my heart. I’ve always found the movie business rather cold, so finding parts to play and having people enjoy them has made this year a miracle for me.”

    So I think she’s made a lot of fascinating and also potentially interesting choices that blew up in her face. But, good for her.


    • Thanks for that quote. I had it when I started the article and meant to included it. But then I lost it before I finished. So I’m glad you dug it up.

      Fascinating actress. She’s going to have a more interesting body of work than an A-lister like Jennifer Anniston for example.


  8. You know what might be interesting? If you did a “What Might Have Been” for either geena davis or michelle Pfeiffer. I was looking recently and it seems they turned down a lot of high profile roles that might have been successful.


    • Definitely.

      At any given point, there are too few roles for too many actresses. So there are certain roles that have been attached to just about every actress who was anyone at that particular time. It makes WMHB for actresses pretty interesting.


  9. I’ve never been a big fan of Eva Green. She was memorable in Casino Royale, but never clicked with me. She was, in my opinion, dreadful in the 300 sequel, but I did like her bit in the unfunny Dark Shadows. Either way, another enlightening posts. Thanks for the write up!


    • Glad you enjoyed it. I have not seen 300 2 so I can’t speak to it specifically. But in general, I find Green captivating.


      • There’s no doubt she is beautiful, but I’m not sure why I can’t seem to be in her camp. You post sheds a lot light on her though and sparks some interest in trying other films she is in.


        • I’m curious to see some of her European films. And I have no doubt I’ll check out 300 and SC 2 when they are on video. In terms of mainstream entertainment, Casino Royale is still her best showcase with Penny Dreadful being a distant runner up.


  10. She’s a dependable character actress, and she’ll have a very long career; getting better and better as she gets older. I think she’s on the same trajectory as Helen Mirren.


  11. Eva Green is now on Twitter!! Follow her @ImEvaGreen


  12. Bond Girl Eva Green escaped from Harvey Weinstein after he made advances on her in Paris hotel room but mogul then threatened to ‘destroy her professionally’ claims her mother


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