Stunning and sensual former Bond girl Eva Green talks Tim Burton, overcoming shyness, and America’s problem with nudity.
”Tim Burton is like a child – happy and easy-going with a passion that is contagious,” purrs French beauty Eva Green. Re-teaming with her Dark Shadows director for Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, the actress is visibly delighted to have the opportunity to work once again with the wonderfully wacky Burton.
Playing the eponymous Miss Peregrine, the film is a mysterious fantasy-adventure, based on Ransom Riggs’ 2011 novel of the same name, about a 16-year-old boy named Jake, who, following a family tragedy, ends up at a magical refuge for children with supernatural gifts. As the strict but kind Headmistress of the home, Green’s character is charged with nurturing the youngster’s strange talents whilst protecting them from malevolent, dark forces in the form of ‘Hollows’ – terrifying, tentacled creatures led by an extremely creepy Samuel L. Jackson.
In typical Burton fashion, the film is a visual, acid-trip feast of a film, with visual effects galore, including the resurrecting of an ancient shipwreck and the transformation of Green from gothic goddess into an actual peregrine falcon. “My character is like a dark Mary Poppins,” reveals the 36-year-old. “It’s a beautiful story set in the ‘40s and (many of) the other roles are played by children. This was my first time working with children, and that was a bit of a challenge. The movie is slightly bonkers, but in a poetic way.”
From playing Vesper Lynd in, the only Bond girl to ever successfully break 007’s heart, to a possessed clairvoyant in TV series Penny Dreadful, Green has become the poster girl for powerful and dark, but ultimately broken, women. Owing partly, no doubt, to her almost ethereal beauty – porcelain skin, green eyes and raven hair – and also her ability to switch from impenetrable steeliness to disarming warmth in seconds, she is both a cinematic dream, and nightmare, in one stunning package.
Even her breakout role, in Bertolucci’s arthouse romance The Dreamers, caused controversy in America over the level of nudity in it. “I’m naked in most of the scenes in the film which was very much part of my character’s very dominating personality – she used her body as a weapon and even then the nudity is very artistic,” says Green matter-of-factly. “But for some reason in American films there’s never any problem with killing people in horrible ways, but breasts are considered dangerous!”
Despite her liberal attitude and vixenish reputation, the Gallic goddess admits to actually being rather shy, saying: “It’s very enjoyable and even exciting for me to play women who are very fearless and sure of themselves. I’m not very assertive and that’s why I love working in films where I get to become these powerful women. I try to imagine myself being that way but sadly it doesn’t seem to transfer to my everyday life!”