Eva Green, co-star of the "Kingdom Of Heaven" Movie!
Born on July 5, 1980, in Paris, France, the young actress is best recognized for her erotic role as "Isabelle" in the 2004 movie "The Dreamers." A native of Paris, Eva Green spent three years at the Eva St Paul School before attending a London workshop at the Webber Douglas acting school. Her theater experience includes Didier Long's "Jealousie 3 Fax" and Gerard Deshartes' "Turcarcet." "The Dreamers" is Green’s first film. She plays Isabelle, Theo's sister, and shares his love of cinema. In 2003 she starred in the film "Arsene Lupin" for director Jean-Paul Salomé. She will next be seen in Director Ridley Scott’s "Kingdom of Heaven" opposite Liam Neeson and Orlando Bloom.
More fun facts about Eva Green
Birth name: Eva Gaelle Green
Daughter of French actress Marlène Jobert,
She has a twin sister named Joy.
Father is a Swedish dentist.
Fraternal twin sister is in business school.
Nominated for Les Molieres (Paris, 2002) for the play "Jalousie en Trois Fax" for the category Revelation Theatrale Feminine.
The face of the Emporio Aramani campaign.
Niece of Marika Green
Daughter of Walter Green
Her personal quotes:
[about shooting nude scenes for The Dreamers (2003):] "I am a very shy person in life, very reserved, but you know, it's Bertolucci. I've seen Last Tango and it's not pornographic, it's not vulgar, it's not sick, so I trusted him. He's a master of love and eroticism, but it's good because I stopped being self-conscious. I felt like I was on drugs or anaesthetised because you have to be. You have to let yourself slip away and forget everything, forget the sound guy and all that." [February 5, 2004]
[about the sex scenes in The Dreamers (2003):] "It must be very shocking for the American people, but what I don't understand is why they are so crazy about that. I don't understand why you can't see naked people on screen but we can see a baby being killed. It's quite strange. They're too puritan, too uptight." [February 5, 2004]
Meet Eva Green
Twenty-two-year-old Eva Green is Bernardo Bertolucci's most recent ingenue.
RICHARD KERN: Is Eva Green your real name?
EVA GREEN: Yes. A lot of people think it's a stage name, but it's not. My father is Swedish and my mother is French.
RICHARD: So your father wasn't a hippie who gave you a hippie name.
EVA: My father is a dentist. He has nothing to do with acting. He is proud of me. I come from a bourgeois family, like the family in The Dreamers. My mother is Marlne Jobert — an actress in France, quite famous. She did movies with Godard and lots of other great directors. She tried to discourage me from becoming an actress because she knew that I was sensitive, and acting is a very hard world.
RICHARD: Has that been your experience?
EVA: It's a roller coaster. Success is very ephemeral. You depend entirely on the desire of others, which makes it difficult to relax. My mother was scared for me at first, but now she trusts me, I think.
RICHARD: Is she still working as an actress?
EVA: No. She writes children's books. Look on the internet.
RICHARD: Were you familiar with Bertolucci's work before you did The Dreamers?
EVA: Yeah. I loved Last Tango in Paris.
RICHARD: Did you feel that Marlon Brando was disgusting in Last Tango?
EVA: No. He was desperate.
RICHARD: That film caused a tremendous scandal when it came out in the United States. I saw it when I was a teenager and it really shocked me. But I fell in love with Maria Schneider. Bertolucci must be pretty old now.
EVA: He's sixty-three, and very energetic, totally involved in his work.
RICHARD: There's lots of sex in The Dreamers, right?
EVA: The sex is very pure. But I heard that in America people under eighteen aren't permitted to see the film.
RICHARD: I think it's X-rated.
EVA: That is very stupid. It's not sick or sleazy or whatever, it's not like Last Tango. Last Tango is tragic — it has all this fear of loneliness and death. The Dreamers is much lighter.
RICHARD: Did the nudity make you think twice before taking the role?
EVA: Of course we are naked in some of the scenes, but the film is not dirty. Our characters are young teenagers who are learning about sex. I trusted Bernardo completely. He is a master of eroticism. I was nervous before those scenes, but once I was doing them, I realized that they are no more difficult than the others. I felt like I was sleepwalking. It is another form of expression, another language.
RICHARD: Even the premise of the movie is extreme.
EVA: It's about a twin sister and brother who have a passionate, almost incestuous relationship. They meet an American student at a concert and become friends with him. The three of them start playing mind games involving sexual forfeits, based on the movies. They try to reach beyond the limits, to see how far they can go. They experiment with their emotions, their sexuality. It is very Bertolucci.
RICHARD: In the '60s, all the new young directors said, "We're going to show" and people were like, "Fine, let's see it." Then in the '80s that door closed again. It's been closed for a long time. But now sex seems to be making a comeback.
EVA: The Dreamers is not about it's about love.
Eva Green speaks about 'Dreamers''
Eva Green looks set for success after the reaction to her first major starring role (and, indeed, first film role) in The Dreamers . We caught up with her for an exclusive interview and the chance to talk about the making of The Dreamers, working with some of the best in the business and being seen naked on screen by your parents…
Eva, how nervous were you, given that it wasn't only your first film, but that you were working with Bertolucci?
Eva Green (EG): You can imagine, yeah, when I heard that I was picked for the part I was very excited, then I was very, very scared about measuring up, you know, because he had worked with a lot of very good actors. Marlon Brando, masters. And then he called me and I hadn't done anything before. That was a challenge.
What was the hardest thing on set?
EG: I would say everything. It's not only the naked scenes. I surprised myself because it was not so hard, you know? I stopped being self-conscious and questioning myself. I wanted to be good in every scene, you know? So, everything.
Were you surprised at all about the kind of direction you were getting from Bertolucci? What was your impression of him as a director?
EG: You know, on the first day, he tested us. You know, he was, "Okay, are you going to be good? Okay, impress me." (Laughs). But, you know that was just the first day and then he trusted us and we felt very free on the set and, you know, he manipulates without manipulating, it's very Zen. Like Buddha.
You know, there's a real exchange - in the morning he'd ask us questions about how we understood the scenes, how we understood the characters and, you know, he manages to communicate what he wants with just a single word, a single gesture. Very simple.
It sounds like he was actually being quite careful about making sure the atmosphere was right for what must have been quite difficult scenes for the three of you. Did you get the impression he was being extra careful because of the type of story he was telling? Did he try and make you comfortable?
EG: Like a Dad, you mean? Yeah, some people of the crew would give us some cognac or stuff like that to relax, but, um, yeah, it was easy. You know, like, when we were making love on the floor he was directing us like, how do you say chef d'orchestre? A conductor. You know, like, "Okay, okay, orgasm and then ah, there we are." (Laughs). Okay? So you don't think, you do it.
Did you need much persuasion from Bertolucci that the 60s were such an extraordinary, special time? And also do you think that today's youth are less passionate about politics and so on?
EG: Yeah. We're much more cynical and we don't really have great expectations and I can't explain really why, but we don't have ideals or dreams like they had at that time. As Bernardo would say, he says we missed a bigger window on the future. For me, I'm not really involved with politics, I'm like Isabelle, I'm living in my cocoon with my classical music around, but, um…
Well, Isabelle, she's inspired by these Hollywood greats, like Garbo, Dietrich and so on. Did some of these names mean the same things to you?
EG: Yeah, absolutely.
Did you watch a lot of their movies?
EG: Yeah. At the beginning, I was supposed to do a scene from Beyond the Forest with Bette Davis and the writer told me that the character should be like Bette Davis at the beginning, you know, very provocative, with a sharp tongue, like she's going to bite you.
So I saw movies with her, just to know, not to imitate her but to see. And so, of course, Queen Christina and Greta Garbo, but I don't like her very much. She's wearing a mask, you know, very distant, very traditional. Yeah, it was fun.
Has this film lead you to think about pursuing a film career rather than the theatre background you came from or are you going back to the stage?
EG: I don't know. Right now, I'm shooting a film, but it depends on the script, if I like the script and the director.
What are you shooting now?
EG: Arsené Lupin, with Kristin Scott Thomas and XX.
Is that the jewel thief film? Isn't he a jewel thief?
EG: Yes, that's right, like Robin Hood. It's very different to The Dreamers! I'm not naked or anything.
So you're in period costume for that?
EG: Yeah, it takes place at the end of the 19th century.
Do you like all that dressing up in old clothes?
EG: Yeah, it's good. No, it's good for me to do a movie like that after The Dreamers, you know? The character is very different from Isabelle, you know, she's very down to earth, very simple and very clear.
How did you actually feel when The Dreamers was over? When they said, "Cut, that's a wrap"?
EG: At the end? I was depressed. Oh yeah, it was terrible, because I'd got along very well with the crew, with Bernardo, with the two actors. It was a love story, really. And some times reality and fiction are intertwined and…yeah.
How was it working with Michael Pitt? Had you seen any of his American films before you started working together?
EG: No, I hadn't seen his movies before. I remember I was on a tour in France and my agent told me, "Okay, look, Murder By Numbers, this is the actor, Michael Pitt". And he had long hair, you know, big lips, and I thought, "Oh my God, he's a girl, or…?", but no, I was very impressed, I really like him very much. He looks like an angel but he's got a lot of violence, he's very complex. No, I love him.
American attitudes and European attitudes are very different - did you find that working with Michael?
EG: With Michael? Oh my God, yeah. Yeah, yeah. He was scared that people in America would think that he was a pornographic actor and he said that if we see his penis it's the end of the world and I don't understand why. That's the reason Jake Gyllenhaal turned down the part, but, uh, yeah, he was very worried about his girlfriend.
So how comfortable was he on set?
EG: Good, I think mostly thanks to (co-star) Louis, who was acting like a child. "Aaaah, you're naked! Aaaah!" Yeah, it was okay.
Um, has anyone in your family seen this film? Do they have an opinion?
EG: Tuesday evening.
Tuesday is the first time they'll see it? How does that make you feel?
EG: Um, I'm worried because of my mother, she's going to see my performance and she's quite hard. She's going to see me naked. And my Dad, woah. Yeah, they're going to see me like a woman, you know?
Have you tried to prepare them? Do they have instructions to go buy popcorn at a certain point?
EG: Yeah, I've prepared them. Get drunk and so on. I don't know how they're going to react.
Have they always been very supportive of your career as an actress? Will they regret being so supportive?
EG: My mother was very scared because she knows that it's a really hard job and the most difficult thing is to laugh. You know, there are a lot of people who want to be famous, singers, actors, nowadays and, you know, it's like a roller-coaster. And when you are very sensitive - I'm very sensitive - you have to be very strong, you know, you have to just not pay attention to the people who hate you, you know?
When and where was your first acting experience?
EG: In the theatre. I started two years ago and I'd done three years in a dramatic school. Yeah. Big thing.
And you stayed in London, is that right? What do you think of London?
EG: Yes, for two months. But I haven't really seen much of London, you know, I had eight hours a day, it was very intensive, but I love the way they worked. You know, it's much more furious than in France. The dramatic school, I mean.
In France, the auditions and the plays aren't good, they're too laid back. And I remember in the London school you had a voice teacher, you had an improvisation course, you had to study authors, you had a lot of things. In France, you just act in a lot of scenes, but it's too vague.
Would you like to come to London to do something on the stage?
EG: Yeah, my God. Of course. But I have to practice my English first. I did have English classes with the school, too. In Ramsgate. (Laughs).
What about America? Are you keen to make films there too?
EG: Yeah, I think it's the dream of every actor, you know? Maybe people can say, "Okay, I'm not going to be in American movies" but it's just pretentious - everyone wants to work in America. Maybe not blockbusters or Terminator but to have the choice.
Did Michael give you any kind of pointers about finding work there?
EG: Well, he's not really inside the business in the same way. He's working with directors who are outside the studio system in a way. It's not James Cameron, it's Larry Clark or whoever.
You mentioned Bertolucci as a director you'd always wanted to work with. Are there any other directors you'd love to work with, in an ideal situation?
EG: Lars Von Trier, David Lynch, I love The Hours, who directed that? Stephen Daldry. Spike Jonze. What's the name of the guy who did Fight Club? David Fincher. Yeah, oh my God.
Have you seen Dogville (review)?
EG: Yes, I loved it! I loved it! Very special. Yes, I was hypnotised.
Did your parents meet Bertolucci?
EG: Yeah, there was a party at the end of the shoot. Wow. (Laugh).
Did he talk about the movie with them?
EG: No, it was very superficial, "Blah blah blah".
What kind of preparation do you do, as an actress? How do you like to get into your character? Are you a Method actress?
EG: I'm very cerebral and so I like to work beforehand in knowing that. It's very interesting, because compared to Michael, who didn't know his lines, you know, in the morning, he was like, "Okay, okay, no problem!" But, you know, he likes to improvise and there was the English - I worked two months with an English coach before doing the movie, with Louis.
It was good because we had time to know each other and I really enjoyed watching all the movies with Bette Davis and whatever. It, um, how do you say that, it feeds me. And I always need that, even when I'm not shooting a movie, I want to think that I'm somebody else, I'm creating somebody else in my head.
We've read in the notes that Louis was an individual character in himself and the way he was in real life affected how his character developed. What was your impression of him as a person? His father was a famous director, wasn't he?
EG: When I met him for the first time he was very mysterious, you know? He was acting like an homme fatale. He was acting, but he's really a little boy. But he's very funny, very funny.
Eva Green in Heaven with Orlando Bloom
JoBlo has learned that French actress Eva Green, who can be seen this February in Fox Searchlight's The Dreamers, has been cast as the female lead in director Ridley Scott's upcoming epic, Kingdom of Heaven.
Set in the 12th century, the film focuses on a young blacksmith (Orlando Bloom) who becomes a knight and helps defend Jerusalem against the Crusaders. There is also a love story, as the young knight falls in love with a princess, to be played by Green.
The 20th Century Fox film, coming to theaters in 2005, also stars Liam Neeson as Bloom's father and David Thewlis will play a priest named Hospitaller. Filming is scheduled to beging in Morocco in January.
Eva Green : Confessions of A Nervous “Muse”
Eva Green was born in Paris in 1980, the daughter of a Swedish father (dentist Walter Green) and a French mother (actress Marlene Jobert). Educated in France and England, Green appeared in several theatre productions before landing the role of Isobel in Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Dreamers – set in 1968 Paris, and described as “a sexual sizzler” by one American critic.
The film co-stars Louis Garrel as Isobel’s twin brother Theo and Michael Pitt as Matthew, a young American drawn into the sibling’s secret world of movies, revolution and sensuality. With her black hair, pale skin and large eyes, Green has been compared with the more ‘exotic-looking’ actresses of French cinema such as (half-German, half-Algerian/Turkish) Isabelle Adjani and (Danish-born) Anna Karina. In Bertolucci’s phrase, she’s “so beautiful, it’s indecent.”
This interview was conducted at the London Film Festival in November, 2003 – soon after, Green was confirmed as the female lead opposite Orlando Bloom and Liam Neeson in Ridley Scott’s Crusades epic, Kingdom of Heaven, to begin filming in 2004. As one excitable French website broke the news: “Eva Green sous la charme d’Orlando Bloom… elle a seduit Ridley Scott!”
Neil Young : The Dreamers is your first movie, and it seems to be turning out quite well.Eva Green
Eva Green : Yeah I’m very lucky… for the moment…
Your mother has worked with many prominent directors including Godard and Chabrol. What did she think when she heard you were working with Bernardo Bertolucci on your first film?
She was very scared for me, she’s knows that I’m very sensitive and very insecure and it’s really a hard job, you’ve got to show yourself all the time, you can’t take nothing for granted. It’s very ephemeral – the most difficult thing is to last, so. But I think now she’s fine.
Do you use your mother as an inspiration for your own acting in any way?
She’s very different from me – she’s much more instinctive. I’m more … cerebral. She can be very very funny – she’s like Shirley MacLaine, she’s like that… she’s not so dark.
How did you get the job on The Dreamers?
I did a casting two years ago, it was for CQ by Roman Coppola, it was really a disaster. Then the casting director called me back for Bernardo – she thought I was too tragic for the CQ part. It was really weird… And I’ve heard the movie’s not so good. I did an interview on camera, and the casting director asked me questions about sexuality, cinema, politics, and if I would get naked in a movie (laughs). So eventually Bernardo saw the tape and he wanted to meet me, and I met him. So we did, with Louis Garrel, an improvisation in front of the camera – I think he just wanted to see if I could ‘fit’ the character. Have a kind of mystery… secret, yes. We didn’t know each other at all, but we had to act like we were brother and sister. And then we did screen tests in London with Jake Gyllenhaal, based on the script, because he was going to play the Michael Pitt role. He had to drop out, because, I don’t know – his lawyers or his agent didn’t want him to get naked in movie. It was really bad for his ‘career’ because in America I think they’re very very puritan, and if you’re doing a scene with frontal nudity, then people will think that you’re a pornographic actor, or something. It’s really weird – I don’t really understand that… mind-set.
The film has already had caused controversy in the U.S.
With censorship. (breathes out) I think they’re crazy – it’s paradoxical because you can watch movies with a lot of violence in it, and then naked people, it’s impossible?
Is it the sexuality, or the 1968 revolutionary-politics angle that makes some Americans uncomfortable?
For me the politics is just a backdrop in this movie. When we had a press conference in Rome, all the journalists were asking us questions about ’68, and I didn’t understand why. OK, it’s about ’68, but let’s talk about the movie! It’s a love story – and also kind of a comedy.
Were you nervous when you heard you’d got the part?
My agent called me and told me I was picked, I was very very nervous. At first I was like aaahh!! God! it’s a dream! And then I was afraid of not measuring up, it’s my first movie and I’m not confident.
Which of Bertolucci’s movies had you seen.
Last Tango, Novecento, Last Emperor, Little Buddha, Sheltering Sky.
And did you think, there’s Debra Winger, and Liv Tyler, then me…
And Marlon Brando…
It’s a daunting list of talent – and now you’re the “new one”. I saw a magazine headline “Bertolucci’s New Muse” – did you feel like a ‘muse’?
No, not at all.
As an actor, what’s it like working with Bertolucci?
He’s always, like, testing us. And we wanted to please him… It’s good because, he manipulates, but at the same time, we’re very free, you know. Sometimes it felt like he was sending us some… magic rays… It’s really weird. There’s a real exchange, too. In the morning, he would ask us questions about the scene, and the characters’ behaviour. For example, in the first script it was more focussed on the two boys – they made love, it was really stronger. He toned that town, it was too much, so now it’s just suggested. And one day he changed his mind, and he didn’t want me to be a virgin any more, so I was like, OK, why?
And you felt confident enough to kind of ‘stand up’ to Bertolucci and question him?
It was OK, you know, he really asked you for your opinions, there was a real exchange, and he manages to communicate what he wants with just a simple gesture, or a word.
You filmed in Paris?
Yes! Just five minutes from my home! I could sleep in my own bed at night.
I read somewhere that the reason why French actresses keep their looks is because shooting on French movies doesn’t start till 10.30am. Is that correct?
That’s not true! Maybe we have that reputation, but it’s not true.
Of the leading French actresses, which do you like?
Jeanne Moreau. I love Jeanne Moreau, she’s very… ambiguous.
Any others, French or otherwise?
I love Cate Blanchett! And Juliette Binoche, and Helena Bonham Carter.
There’s such a reliable stream of French actresses: Adjani, Huppert, Beart. Are you the “next big thing” from France?
I don’t know… maybe I will stop tomorrow…
Would you be comfortable with the kind of fame that engulfed Audrey Tautou after Amelie, and she became almost a recluse?
I think all actors actors are very, how do you say it, “narciss-sistic”, and all want recognition. We all want that, of course, but, at the same time I want to disappear, you know. To hide…
Disappear into the role, or disappear from public view?
In life… I’m not very good at interviews, I don’t like that so much, and TV is another thing – the lights and the make-up, and people asking you a question you can’t answer. I don’t want to sound… stupid. Sometimes I can’t give the answer they want. Some people can just say a phrase that will sum up and sell the movie. You know some people are training actors for interviews, in France. When I was in school, and we had an exam, and the teacher asked me what I thought of this text, I would have a mental block and I couldn’t think, so I think it might be a good exercise. Yeah, I need that! I wouldn’t feel like I was gonna faint. The worst is on TV… do you know this guy in France called Fogiel, he’s really mean. He would ask me questions like “So, you made the Bertolucci movie, thanks to your mother?” But then he cuts you off all the time, so you can’t answer. A lot of people hate him. He’s very famous in France.
In the movie, Isobel often impersonates legendary actresses like Garbo, Dietrich, Jean Seberg. Did you study all their old movies for this?
At first there was a scene where I had to imitate Bette Davis in Beyond the Forest. Then it changed and became Marlene Dietrich in Blonde Venus. I saw a lot of movies with Bette Davis, because the writer told me at the beginning she’s like Bette Davis – quite provocative. It’s good because I had the opportunity to discover her work. Also Dietrich and Garbo… Queen Christina!
It’s great for a young actress, to ‘play’ all these different actresses in one movie.
They’re all quite the same, all kind of femmes fatale. It’s not like I’ve gotta be, you know… a dwarf… But it’s a lot of fun. I loved that. You feel like a child trying on clothes.
Were there other impersonations that didn’t make it into the final cut?
I think one Hitchcock movie – there’s a scene where my brother was supposed to cook eggs. And I was supposed to come and put out my cigarette in the eggs. It’s a scene from To Catch a Thief with Grace Kelly, but it didn’t end up in the movie.
Did you know much about Bette Davis before you started working on the role?
I knew Bette Davis, and I loved her, but I really looked at her work, how she acted, when I… had to act like her. I wasn’t imitating. I wasn’t quite Bette Davis, but kind-of sharp-tongued, you have the impression that she’s going to bite you…
More haughty… Garbo’s face was… that kind of… mask. Not smiling… It’s not my favourite actress. I don’t like her very much, she’s too cold for me.
Blanchett can be chilly.
Yeah, but there’s something burning there…
What about Adjani? We don’t see so much of her nowadays.
She doesn’t want to grow old on the screen. She wants to be young forever.
She’s not afraid to be her age.
I don’t like her. She doesn’t really express… I don’t know, I don’t like her.
Did you see 8 Women and think you could have been in it?
Maybe the part of Virginie Ledoyen. My mother turned down the Isabelle Huppert role in the movie.
What about Huppert?
I love her. She’s haughty, too, she keeps her distance. She’s… in control all the time.
Eva Green Will your next movie offer similar possibilities?
Now I’m shooting a movie called Arsene Lupin and it’s taking place at the end of the 19th century, so it’s very different from this Isobel. Less complex, more down-to-earth, she’s suffering all the time, because her boyfriend is in love with Kristin Scott-Thomas, who’s a femme fatale. My character is more of a jeune premiere. How do you say that?
“Juvenile lead”… juvenile lead… The funny thing is that Robin Renucci, he’s also my father in Arsene Lupin! A crazy coincidence. We’re shooting in the suburbs of Paris, in a castle!
The Dreamers is the kind of project that will probably lead to Hollywood offers. Have you had any approaches yet?
Well, I have “castings”… I have a good manager and she’s showing the movie to them. And I have tests to do, first. I’m not supposed to say for what films. But let’s say… big movies…
Which directors do you like the best?
I love Lars von Trier, David Lynch…
Von Trier seems to be often quite tough on his actresses. Would you like to work with him?
Maybe, in several years, when I’m stronger…
Why von Trier and Lynch exactly?
Well, they make… dark movies. I want to kill someone in my next movie! I’d like to do a serial-killer movie!
Would you ever consider writing or directing?
I don’t know, maybe I’m not so gifted. I’d love to. But it’s such a hard job.
What were your ambitions as a child?
I wanted to be an actresses, but I didn’t want to admit it. A lot of children of famous people want to be actors, because it’s easier… My mother was scared. Now she’s happy. But she hasn’t seen the movie yet – I’m not sure how she’s going to react…
Did she visit the set?
No, no. Nobody is allowed. I didn’t want her to come, I want to be myself, and not be the daughter of somebody…
And it would be odd if your mother was on set, giving her verdict.
“Okay, not very good! Again – Bernardo, Bernardo!”
Green is an English name – what’s the connection?
I don’t have any English connection, my father’s Swedish, so it’s pronounced “grain”. He’s a dentist.
Did you never consider following in his footsteps instead?
It’s crazy, no, he had like ten years at school studying.
And there’s a Scandinavian link with another top “French” actress, Anna Karina, who’s Danish and who you look like a little. Have you met her?
No… But I don’t understand why she married Godard. He’s very… difficult.
It’s important for a leading lady to trust her director, of course. Was this the case with yourself and Bertolucci in the more difficult scenes, such as the nude sequences?
Because it was Bernardo, if it been somebody else maybe I would have been more scared. But I saw Last Tango and it’s one of my favourite movies, and I loved it, so…
The story of Maria Schneider [who starred in Last Tango] is kind of tragic, of course…
Yeah, my mother and my agent told me about it, but you know, when you’ve got a chance like that, you don’t think twice… I think with Maria Schneider, it’s not because of Bernardo. She hates Bernardo. She wasn’t ready to do that at the time. I was very scared because of that, people said it’s going to be a very difficult movie for you. I was very surprised by what working with Bernardo was actually like.
And how did you find working with Michael Pitt, who replaced Jake Gyllenhaal?
I remember I was on tour with my play Turcaret. I was walking down a street with my agent, and he saw a poster for Murder By Numbers, and said ‘this is him’. I thought… he looks like a girl! He had long hair… I think he was not very proud of the movie, but he was proud of his performance. I saw him in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and Dawson [Dawson’s Creek]. He’s ashamed of that, but it was good for him. At first, when he came, I was very scared, because I really loved Jake Gyllenhaal, and I met Michael two days before shooting. But we hit it off completely, at once. It was good because, with Louis we worked on our English with a coach for two months. Louis and I had time to know each other, then Michael arrived – so it was like the movie, you know.
Bertolucci probably planned it all…
How was it between the three actors, working together on such a sensual, incestuous project?
We were behaving like… young kids. Louis was like “Okay, look at my dick!” Doing these scenes, it was not so hard. We would see each other during weekends. We were like in a cocoon, and sometimes reality and fiction were intertwined.
Mmmm! We felt like we were living in this apartment, we had our rooms upstairs, then the set was on the first floor.
But you went home at night.
Yes. It was very pleasant, because we were not in reality. It was very difficult for me after the shooting, because I was very depressed. It was so intense, then suddenly everything’s over and you have to go back… out on the streets.
How is it for you when you watch the movie now?
You watch yourself, only yourself, and see all the bad things. And I’m naked, so it’s not very easy for me… It’s like somebody else on the screen. It’s like watching holiday photos – “Oh, it’s my story!”
What’s it like when you see yourself on-screen, in the nude scenes?
It’s not me, it’s Isobel… That’s what I say to myself… “I’m not like that”… “I’m more beautiful!”
Are you feeling more confident, now that you have finished one film and are halfway through another.
Is Arsene Lupin proving a bad experience?
I can’t say that. But I don’t know… I’m questioning myself.
Questioning whether you even want to be an actress?
What would you like to do instead?
I’d like to compose music… soundtracks… I love the music in the movies. The song ‘Hey Joe’ in the bathtub, Michael Pitt sings the song, he’s a really really good musician. Now he’s gonna do Kurt Cobain – with Gus Van Sant.
And would you consider playing Courtney Love?
I’d love to, but I don’t look like her! The good thing about Michael is that he looks like an angel, but he’s very dark, and he has violence in him.
Did you get to rehearse with him?
No, he didn’t even know his lines before shooting. When the hairdresser was doing his hair he was learning his lines for the first time. I was very impressed by that. I’m from the theatre, I learned my lines long in advance. But I’d love to be able to be self-confident enough to improvise, and let myself go.
We did improvise a bit. But it was difficult because our English wasn’t so good.
In The Dreamers, control is a major issue – the twins have their own little world where they’re in control…
Then she lets herself go. At first she’s showing off how controlled and confident she is. By the end she’s more like herself. I think she takes refuge behind all those characters because… it’s very difficult to explain the character, because I feel very close to her in some ways. In life I can keep a certain distance from people I’m rather reserved, and people might think that I’m very haughty and impassive, cold. But it’s just a mask of protection. And when she makes love with Matthew, she becomes an adult, in some way. She lets reality come into her… Theo and Isobel, they don’t want to face the fact that they have to free themselves from each other – and they know that their ambiguous relationship cannot last forever and by remaining in childhood, they’re only “playing games”, they’re still protected.
Perhaps it’s the parents’ fault…
Maybe they don’t know that they’re acting this way. My character is quite withdrawn there, she doesn’t act the same with the parents. She’s ‘yes papa, no papa’, then in the bedroom she is free.
Did the parents originally have more to do, because they’re not in it that much now?
There was a terrible scene, when they come back… It was terrible. The mother says “Oh, look, honey, they’re like young puppies, it’s wonderful, it’s the spring of their bodies…” It was terrible – too much of an explanation, so it was cut, and that was for the better.
When you were growing up, did you have as much freedom as Isobel?
No, my parents are very cool, but I had a lot of… barriers, can you say that? I’m too much in control, and I’m too wise, when I was at school. I worked all the weekend, I didn’t go out. I was very scared of the boys, it was like a spell.
Did you also have a brother?
I have a non-identical twin sister. We’re very different from each other.
So you didn’t create your own world, like many twins do?
Not at all, we’re so different. We don’t really talk to each other. She hasn’t seen my plays, but now she wants to see my movie, and I’m very… moved. She’s studying business. She’s more… down-to-earth.
Are you becoming more down-to-earth, doing stuff like these promotional activities?
No I feel like I am dreaming. It’s not like the naked scenes. But when something is really tough for me – when I have to talk about myself – I’m like, okay, (deep breath), I’m not somebody else, but I’m tu crois, sur moi-meme?
“Within yourself”, like an athlete going into ‘the zone’.
I hope this hasn’t been too stressful…
No, not at all!
Muslim Scholars Denounce Upcoming 'Kingdom of Heaven'
Several prominent Muslim-American scholars are expressing anger over the script of 20th Century Fox's Kingdom of Heaven, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Orlando Bloom, Eva Green, Liam Neeson, and Jeremy Irons. It is scheduled for release in May. Dealing with the 12th Century Crusades, the film describes the roots of the modern Middle East conflict. Laila al-Qatami, a spokeswoman for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, told today's (Thursday) New York Times, that there are "a lot of words flying around, with prominent figures talking about Islam being incompatible with Christianity and American values. This kind of movie might reinforce that theme in the discourse." UCLA professor Khaled Abu el-Fadl told the newspaper: "It's really annoying at an intellectual level, and it really misrepresents history on many levels. ... In this climate how are people going to react to these images of Muslims attacking churches and tearing down the cross and mocking it?" But Christy Lohr of the Multifaith Ministry Education Consortium in New York, remarked that part of the appeal of the movie for Hollywood was its controversial nature. "I think it's going to cause a firestorm of criticism and free publicity in the Op-Ed pages," she said. "It is cynical, but I think they enjoy stirring up a hornets' nest."
Bertolucci Film To Be Censored for Sundance Screening
Fox Searchlight is expected to screen a highly censored version of Bernardo Bertolucci's controversial The Dreamers at the Sundance Film Festival this week, the London Sunday Times reported. In advance of its scheduled domestic release in March, the studio has reportedly made cuts of as much as 60 seconds to scenes involving frontal nudity and male masturbation, the newspaper said. In an interview with the Sunday Times, the cuts were condemned by one of the film's stars, Eva Green. "It is quite paradoxical, because in America there 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." (Bertolucci himself has previously expressed concern that his film would be "mutilated" by U.S. censors.) The newspaper said that the film will be shown uncut when it is released in the U.K.