Eva Gaëlle Green (born 5 July 1980) is a French actress and model.
Green performed in theatre before making her film debut in The Dreamers (2003), which generated controversy over her numerous nude scenes. She achieved greater fame for her parts in Kingdom of Heaven (2005), and in the 2006 James Bond film Casino Royale, for which she won a BAFTA. She has also modeled for numerous brands.
Eva Green was born in Paris, the daughter of French actress Marlène Jobert and Swedish dentist Walter Green. Her mother, a Pied-Noir, was born in Algeria. Green's mother is Jewish. Green was raised without religion; she has said "I feel like a citizen of the world. Life and cinema don't have borders." Green was born two minutes earlier than her sororal twin sister, Joy. She grew up in the 17th arrondissement of Paris where she attended the American School of Paris. Green has described her family as "bourgeois", and has said that her sister is very different from her. Green is a natural dark blonde; she dyed her hair black aged 15. French-Swedish actress Marika Green is her aunt. The 1980s pop-star Elsa Lunghini is her first cousin.
Green was raised in France, attended and graduated from the American University of Paris, an English-speaking institution, and also spent time between Ramsgate, London and Ireland. Green was quiet in school, and developed an interest in Egyptology when she visited the Louvre at age seven. At age 14, after seeing Isabelle Adjani in The Story of Adele H., Green decided to become an actress. Her mother initially feared that an acting career would be too much for her sensitive daughter, but later came to support young Eva's ambitions.
At 17, Green enrolled in St. Paul Drama School in Paris for three years, and then spent 10 weeks at Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London. Green stated that in drama school, "I always picked the really evil roles. It's a great way to deal with your everyday emotions." Green trained at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts in New York City, before she returned to Paris, where she performed in several plays. Green was nominated for a Molière Award for her performance in Jalousie en Trois Fax.
Director Bernardo Bertolucci discovered Green in 2002, and described her as "so beautiful, it's indecent". She accepted his invitation to star in The Dreamers (2003), despite her parents' initial objections because of Maria Schneider's accounts of being traumatized while filming Bertolucci's Last Tango in Paris. In the film, Green performed extensive nude scenes, which she said felt natural on set; she was embarrassed when her family saw the film, however. Her performance was well-received, with some comparing her to Liv Tyler. Green expressed surprise when a minute was cut from the film for the American market, stating, "here is so much violence, both on the streets and on the screen. They think nothing of it. Yet I think they are frightened by sex." Green's next film after The Dreamers was Arsène Lupin (2004), in which she portrayed Lupin's love interest, a light-hearted role she enjoyed, although she has stated that she generally prefers more complex characters.
Her performance in The Dreamers convinced Ridley Scott to cast Green in Kingdom of Heaven (2005), a film about the Crusades where she played Sibylla of Jerusalem. Green performed six screen tests, and was hired with only a week before principal photography began. Green found the atmosphere of coming onto a film so late tense and exciting, and also liked the film's ambiguity in approaching its subject matter. To her disappointment, much of her screen time was cut. Stephanie Zacharek of Salon.com praised her performance: "She doesn't quite know what to do with her character's stilted dialogue, but she carries herself so regally that you barely notice." Nev Pierce of the BBC, however, called her character "limp". Green was satisfied when her character's complex subplot was restored in the director's cut. Total Film noted the new scenes completed her performance: "In the theatrical cut, Princess Sibylla sleeps with Balian and then, more or less, loses her mind. Now we understand why. Not only does Sibylla have a young son, but when she realizes he's afflicted with leprosy just like her brother Baldwin, she decides to take his life shortly after he's been crowned.
Green was considered for parts in The Constant Gardener (a role that went to Rachel Weisz) and The Black Dahlia. She was cast at the last minute in the role of Vesper Lynd in the James Bond film Casino Royale (2006). Green was approached in mid-2005 but turned it down. Principal photography was already underway, and director Martin Campbell noted casting the role was difficult because "we didn't have the final script and a Bond girl always had the connotation of tits 'n' ass." Campbell saw Green's performance in the director's cut of Kingdom of Heaven, and approached Green again. She read the script, and found the character of Vesper far deeper than most Bond girls. Green's performance was well received: Entertainment Weekly called her the fourth best Bond girl of all time; IGN named her the best femme fatale, stating "This is the girl that broke – and therefore made – James Bond"; and she won a BAFTA and an Empire award for her performance. Both awards were voted for by the British public.
Green portrayed the witch Serafina Pekkala in the 2007 film adaptation of The Golden Compass (which, coincidentally, also starred Casino Royale's Daniel Craig, although they did not have any scenes together). She found it difficult being flown on a harness because of her fear of heights, which led her to refuse to reshoot a scene on her last day of filming. Green hoped the religious themes of the book would be preserved, but references to Catholicism were removed from the film. Green next appeared in Franklyn, as Emilia, a schizophrenic woman whose multiple personalities are split between tormented artist (which Green compared to real-life figures Sophie Calle and Tracey Emin) and another, which she described as, "full of life, very witty, big sense of humor". She also filmed Cracks, the directorial debut of Jordan Scott, Ridley Scott's daughter, where she plays a mysterious teacher at a girls' school named Miss G, who falls in love with one of her pupils. In March 2009, she appeared in Womb, where she plays a woman who clones her dead boyfriend. It is a collaboration between actor Matt Smith and director Benedek Fliegauf.
She was considered for the lead female role in Un Secret (2007) before it was played by Cécile de France.
She was initially approached for the female lead in Lars von Trier's controversial film Antichrist (2009). According to Trier, Green was positive about appearing in the film, but her agents refused to allow her. The unsuccessful casting attempt took two months of the film's pre-production process. Anglo-French actress Charlotte Gainsbourg was cast in the role.
Green will star in the first, ten-part season of Starz's series, Camelot, as the sorceress Morgan le Fay. Green stated, "This is such an iconic story and you have 10 episodes to explore a character. It's not a girlfriend role that you could have in a movie. It's a real ballsy character. She has some guts."
In February 2011, Green was cast as Angélique Bouchard in Tim Burton's film adaptation of Dark Shadows.
In addition to her acting career, Green has modeled for Breil, Emporio Armani, Lancôme, Heineken, and Christian Dior SA's "Midnight Poison" perfume, in an advert directed by Wong Kar-wai.
Green considers herself nerdy: "When people first meet me, they find me very cold. I keep myself at a distance, and I think that's why I'm so drawn to acting. It allows me to wear a mask." She is an atheist.
She dated New Zealand actor Marton Csokas after meeting him on the set of Kingdom of Heaven, but the couple announced their split in 2009.
She supports UNICEF. She has also expressed interest in returning to the theatre, and has no plans to go to work in Hollywood because, "The problem with Hollywood is that the studios are super powerful, they have far more power than the directors. My ambition at this moment is just to find a good script." She added she would probably just get typecast as a femme fatale there.
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