Eva Green has told the High Court she has “nothing against peasants” after she was said to have described the potential crew of a failed sci-fi-film as “shitty peasants”.
The Casino Royale star, 42, was due to play the lead role in A Patriot, but the production collapsed in October 2019.
She is suing production company White Lantern Film, claiming she is entitled to her one-million-dollar (£810,000) fee for the abandoned project despite its cancellation.
In turn, White Lantern is bringing a counterclaim against the French actress, alleging that she undermined the independent film’s production, made “excessive creative and financial demands” and had expectations that were “incompatible” with the film’s low budget.
Ms Green, dressed in a dark green blazer and black turtleneck, entered the witness box at the High Court in London to give evidence on Monday.
Max Mallin KC, for White Lantern, previously claimed that Ms Green had an “animosity” towards a vision for the film held by one of the film’s executive producers Jake Seal.
The barrister said that in exchanges with her agent and the film’s director, Ms Green claimed Mr Seal was planning to make a “cheap B movie”, describing him as “the devil” and “evil” and local crew members as “shitty peasants… from Hampshire”.
Ms Green told the court that she would be “working with people who are not experienced” under Mr Seal’s proposals.
Mr Mallin said: “Shitty peasants.
“Should we interpret that to be inexperienced?”
Ms Green replied: “I have nothing against peasants”, leading Mr Mallin to reply: “Hence the use of the word shitty.”
The actress continued: “I have nothing against peasants.
“I didn’t want to work with a sub-standard crew.
“I wanted to work with a high-quality crew who just wanted to be paid standard industry rates.”
In her written evidence, Ms Green apologised for “inappropriate language” and “some horrible things” expressed by her in emails and texts in August and September 2019.
The court was later told that Ms Green had sent a text message, suggesting that the film under Mr Seal would be a “B-shitty-movie”.
Ms Green said: “I never wanted this to be a B-movie but I realised more towards the end that it was going to happen.”
She continued: “I thought we had these strange producers but a strong crew so we could still make something good quality but I was probably naive.”
During her evidence, Ms Green also referred to the on-set death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
Ms Hutchins was killed when a prop gun held by Alec Baldwin was discharged in October 2021 during the filming of the western film Rust in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Ms Green told the court in London that Mr Seal had cut down her stunt training for the film – where she was set to play a soldier – from four weeks to five days.
“You can’t make a quality film by cutting corners,” Ms Green said.
She continued: “You look at what happened with Alec Baldwin on the movie Rust, the producers were cutting corners, no safety measures and a young woman got killed.”
In her written evidence to the court, Ms Green said no personal training or stunt training was arranged for her, despite her efforts to follow this up with the production team.
She also said she “fell in love” with the film, in which she was cast as soldier Kate Jones, after reading writer and director Dan Pringle’s “brave and daring” script.
She said in her witness statement: “As I have said repeatedly, I fell deeply in love with this project – not only the role, but also the message of the film.
“I couldn’t imagine abandoning the film, as it would have been like abandoning my baby.
“It still feels that way.”
The actress denied the allegations that she was not prepared to go ahead with the project, saying: “In the 20 years that I have been making films, I have never broken a contract or even missed one day of shooting.”
The film was also due to feature Game Of Thrones star Charles Dance and Twister star Helen Hunt, with Oscar winner Kathy Bates attached to the movie at one point.
Mr Pringle said that the proposed budget had been reduced from the 10 million dollars (£8 million) originally discussed with Ms Green to a lower estimate of 5.3 million euros (£4.6 million).
Ms Green is due to finish giving evidence on Tuesday and a ruling on the case is expected at a later date.