THE DREAMERS - Q&A with Eva Green
Movie Interview by S Felce
"So beautiful, it's indecent". This is what director Bernardo Bertolucci said about his leading actress Eva Green, and beautiful she is. She is also very charming, clever and funny. We meet her at London's Dorchester Hotel a couple of days before THE DREAMERS has its premiere at the 2003 London Film Festival.
Eva, how nervous were you, not only because this is your first film but also working with Bertolucci?
Oh...you can't image. When I heard I had been picked for the part I was very excited, then I was very, very scared! He has worked with very big actresses...monsters...and then he called me. I haven't done anything before. It was a challenge.
What was the scariest thing on set?
I would say everything! It is not just the naked scenes. I actually surprised myself, because it wasn't so hard, I stopped being self conscious and questioning myself. I wanted to be good in every scene - so everything!
Were you surprised at all about the kind of directions you were given by Bertolucci? What was your impression of him as a director?
On the first day he tested us. He wanted us to impress him. But then he trusted us and we felt very free on the set. He manipulates you without.... manipulating you! In the morning he would ask us questions about the scene, how we were going to [act] the characters [and] he managed to communicate without using a single word, with simple gestures. Very simple.
It looks like he was being very careful. Do you think he was actually being extra careful because of the story?
What do you mean by careful?
Making sure the atmosphere was right for what must have been very difficult scenes for you to do? Careful that you won't feel uncomfortable...
Yes. Some people were giving us cognac to relax! But, it was easy. For example, when we were making love on the floor, he was directing us like an orchestra conductor. You just don't think - you do it.
Did you get the impression from Bertolucci that the 60s were a special time and do you think that today there's a kind of dispassion towards politics?
Yes, we are much more cynical and we don't really have great expectations and I can't explain why but we don't have ideals or dreams like they had at that time. He said we missed a big window on the future. I am not involved in politics. I am like Isabelle, living in my cocoon, with my classical music...
Has this film persuaded you to pursue a cinema career rather than a theatre one, which is where you came from or are you going back to the stage?
I don't know. Right now I am shooting a film. It depends on the script, if I like it or not and the director.
How did you actually feel when THE DREAMERS was over?
I was depressed!! Because I got along very well with the crew, with Bernardo and the actors. It was a love story.
What was it like working with Michael Pitt? Had you seen any of his work before?
No I haven't seen any of his movies. I remember that I was on tour in France and my agent pointed at the film poster of MURDER BY NUMBERS saying that the guy was Michael Pitt. He had long hair and big lips; I thought he looked like a bit like a girl! But I was very impressed when I met him and I liked him very much. He looks like an angel, but he has a violent side. He is very complex. I love him!
American attitude is very different from Europe's. Did you find that working with Michael?
Oh yes, definitely. He was very scared that people in America would think he was a porno actor and he said that if we see his penis.... it's the end of the world! This is the reason why Jake Gyllenhaal turned down the part. He was very worried about his girlfriend.
How comfortable was he on set?
We were acting like children. We would scream (making a child's voice "Oh we're naked!". We were very comfortable.
Has anybody in your family seen the movie yet? Do they have any opinion?
They are going to see it [next] Tuesday evening.
How does this make you feel?
I am worried because of my mother, because she is going to see my performance and she is quite hard. Then she is going to see me naked and my dad is going to see me as well, and that is even worse!
Have you tried to prepare them?
Yes I have.
How? Did you tell them to go and get popcorn before certain scenes?
I don't really know how they are going to react...
How long have you been an actress? Did you start very young?
No, I started two years ago. Before that I did two years in a drama school.
Is it when you came to London?
I only stayed in London for two months.
What do you remember of your experience in London?
I actually don't remember much about London. I had 8 hours a day of school and it was very intense. I loved the way teachers worked at the school. It is much more serious then in France. We had a voice tutor, an improvisation course and you had to study authors.
Would you like to come to London to do some theatre?
Oh yes, Oh my God, yes! But I have to practice my English first.
What about America? Would you like to go there?
Yes, I think it's the dream of every actor. Everybody wants to work in America.
With which directors would like to work with?
David Lynch, the director of THE HOUR, Lars Von Trier, Spike Jonze, David Fincher.
What's your preparation as an actress? Are you the method type actress? How did you get inside your character?
I like to do some work before the scene. For example Michael wouldn't know his lines in the mornings. He likes improvising, while I don't. Plus there was the problem with the English. I did two months with an English tutor and I watched all the films we talk about in THE DREAMERS. I am also the kind of person that works also when we are not shooting, creating the character in my mind.
What were your impressions on Louis Garrel? He is the son of a very famous French director.
When I met him for the first time he was very mysterious. He was acting like a ... man fatale!! I don't know if you can say that! But he is just a little boy! He is very funny!