Eva Green ‘fell deeply in love’ with film project A Patriot, High Court hears
Actress Eva Green said she fell “deeply in love” with a closed film project at the center of her High Court dispute with a production company and that giving up her “baby” would have been like giving it up.
The 42-year-old Casino Royale star was set to star in A Patriot but production collapsed in October 2019.
She is suing production company White Lantern Film, claiming she is entitled to her $1 million (£810,000) fee for the abandoned project despite the cancellation.
White Lantern, for its part, is countersuing the French actress, alleging that she undermined the independent film’s production, made “excessive creative and financial demands” and had expectations that were “inconsistent” with the film’s low budget.
Ms Green, dressed in a dark green blazer and black turtleneck, took the witness stand at the High Court in London on Monday to testify.
In her written testimony in court, she said she “fell in love” with the film, in which she was cast as soldier Kate Jones, after reading the “bold and daring” script by writer-director Dan Pringle.
She said in her testimony, “I believed, and still do, that the film had the ability to really wake people up and help them realize that the devastation of our world would eventually spark resource wars and massive migration.”
Ms. Green added: “As I have said repeatedly, I fell deeply in love with this project – not only with the character but also with the message of the film.
“I couldn’t imagine giving up on the film because it would have been like giving up on my baby. It still feels that way.”
When asked about the film project, Ms. Green said, “It was one of the best scripts I’ve ever read. As an actor, it was very exciting to play a role as a soldier…was a role I’ve never played before and it’s about climate change and it’s very close to my heart and important.”
Discussing some of her other acting work, Ms Green told the court, “I’ve done other films that have serious themes, but I really fell in love with this story.”
“I don’t care about the money. I live to make good films, that’s my religion,” she added.
Max Mallin KC, for White Lantern, previously claimed that Ms. Green had a “hostility” toward a vision for the film represented by one of the film’s executive producers, Jake Seal.
The lawyer said that in WhatsApp exchanges with her agent and the film’s director, Ms Green claimed Mr Seal was planning to make a “cheap B-movie” and described it as “the devil” and “evil”.
Mr Mallin asked Ms Green if she remembered sending another text message suggesting the film would be a “B-shitty movie” under Mr Seal.
After the actress said she remembered the news, the attorney asked, “If Mr. Pringle had come up to you and said, ‘Ms. Green, would you want to do that b-shit movie,’ would you have agreed?”
Ms Green replied: “No, I would not have agreed to that.”
Mr Mallin later suggested, “If you were making a B-movie and considered the other word read… it would be bad for your reputation.
“Absolutely,” Ms. Green replied. “Once an actor has appeared in a B-movie, they’re called a B-actor, you never get offered quality work again,” she added.
She also accepted that appearing in such a movie “might kill my career.”
Ms Green added, “I never wanted this to be a B-movie, but towards the end I realized it was going to happen.”
She continued, “I’ve had several opportunities to leave this project, but at the time I felt like I had armor, the strong crew members around me.
“I thought we had these weird producers but a strong crew so we could still do something good, but I was probably naive.”
The actress said in her testimony that she was initially confident that she and Mr Pringle would make a “spectacularly powerful film”, but after delays in the project and its relocation from Ireland to a studio outside London, she was “shocked”. and upset”.
She said she felt “cheated”, adding: “I was very upset and angry that I had been misled about the financial position of the production and would have preferred the production to remain in Ireland, but I did did not want to withdraw from the film and was willing to agree to relocation as per contract.”
Ms. Green also said that despite her best efforts to follow up with the production team, no personal training or stunt training was arranged for her.
She said she had hoped to acquire the script rights in return for her fee so the film could be shot elsewhere with a different crew, but knew she had no choice but to move on with the film , if this was not possible.
The actress denied allegations that she was unwilling to go ahead with the project, saying, “In the 20 years that I’ve been making films, I’ve never broken a contract or missed a day of shooting.
“Neither have I been late or done anything other than give 100% heart, body and soul to every project I’ve ever been involved with.
“I repeat, if WLFB had fulfilled its contractual obligations under my contract and asked me to perform my services under my contract, I would have done so.
“I have never implied, by words or behavior, to the contrary.
“I understand that it is alleged that as of late July 2019 I engaged in conduct that demonstrated my lack of intent and/or desire to complete production of the film under the terms of the Artist Agreement and/or that I otherwise attempted to undermine or thwart the production of the film. I deny these claims, which are not true.”
She added: “I was so hurt and shocked to hear that I had been accused of terminating my contract even though I had been the driving force behind getting the film off the ground along with Dan.
“Why on earth would I sabotage a project I love and risk my reputation for? It doesn’t make any sense at all.”
Ms Green also apologized for “inappropriate language” and “some horrible things” she said in emails and texts in August and September 2019.
Earlier Monday, Mr Pringle was asked about a text message saying he, Ms Green and producer Adam Merrifield would “rather eat tumors” than work on the film under Mr Seal.
Mr Pringle said he regretted his words of speaking on behalf of the other two.
The film was also set to feature Game Of Thrones star Charles Dance and Twister star Helen Hunt, with Oscar winner Kathy Bates linked to the film at one point.
Mr Pringle said the proposed budget had been reduced to a lower estimate of €5.3m (£4.6m) from the $10m (£8m) originally discussed with Ms Green.
Ms Green is due to finish her testimony on Tuesday and a decision on the case is expected at a later date.