Eva Green: Wildest moments from high court battle as star wins her case

The Casino Royale star had sued over a fee for a cancelled film

French actress Eva Green arrives at the Rolls Building, High Court, as she is due to give evidence in a battle with a production company, in central London, on January 30, 2023. - A lengthy legal dispute over a never-made film starring French actress Eva Green reached London's High Court on January 26, 2023. The 42-year-old actress is suing the UK-based production company White Lantern Film, claiming she is still entitled to her fee of $1 million (£810,000) for the aborted sci-fi project called
Eva Green won her case. (AFP via Getty Images)

Eva Green has won her court case over her £810,000 acting fee for a movie that never got made.

The French star was due to play a soldier in The Patriot but it didn’t get made, and she sued White Lantern Film, saying she was owed her money.

However, the UK-based production company countersued and said the Casino Royale actor had derailed the sci-fi project with her "unreasonable demands" and had expectations that were “incompatible” with the budget.

Read more: Eva Green: ‘Having personal life dragged through the court was painful and damaging’

On Friday (28 April), Mr Justice Michael Green ruled in Green’s favour, saying she was entitled to the fee.

The case ran for several days earlier this year, with the actor giving evidence and some of her private messages being revealed.

Eva Green arrives at the Rolls Building, London, for her High Court legal action over payment for a shuttered film project. The actress is suing production company White Lantern Films over the shuttered British film project A Patriot. Picture date: Tuesday January 31, 2023. (Photo by Jordan Pettitt/PA Images via Getty Images)
The judge found in Eva Green's favour. (PA Images via Getty Images)

Pure vomit

At one stage, it emerged that Green referred to producer Jake Seal as "pure vomit".

She was also said to have called him "evil" and described him as a "devious sociopath".

Seal said he'd only met the actor face to face once and had no idea she "had all this vitriol towards me".

S***** peasants

Green was also said to have described the potential crew as “s***** peasants”.

A barrister said that in exchanges with her agent and the film’s director, Green claimed Seal was planning to make a “cheap B movie” and described local crew members as “s***** peasants… from Hampshire”.

Eva Green arrives at the Rolls Building, London, for her High Court legal action over payment for a shuttered film project. The actress is suing production company White Lantern Films over the shuttered British film project A Patriot. Picture date: Monday January 30, 2023. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
Eva Green is well known for Bond film Casino Royale. (PA Images via Getty Images)

The screen star said she would be “working with people who are not experienced” under Seal’s proposals.

“S***** peasants," said the barrister, asking if that should be interpreted as inexperienced.

“I have nothing against peasants," the actor replied, saying she didn't want to work with a "sub-standard" crew.

'Likely to combust'

A movie financier said the actor was described as “volatile” and “likely to combust” ahead of the film's collapse in 2019.

Alastair Burlingham said he formed the impression that Green had become “increasingly hard, if not impossible to manage” during pre-production.

“My impression was that Ms Green’s demands were grandiose and more appropriate to a James Bond film than a five-million dollar budget independent film from a first-time British director, and possibly borne out of a misguided effort to provide ‘executive producing’ services when she should have simply been preparing for her role," he said.

However, the star denied she wasn't prepared to go ahead with the project, saying in written evidence: “In the 20 years that I have been making films, I have never broken a contract or even missed one day of shooting.”

French actress Eva Green answers questions upon her arrival for the avant-premiere of the British-French television series developed for Apple TV+
Eva Green sued over a fee for a cancelled film. (AFP via Getty Images)

Blaming her 'Frenchness'

Green hit the headlines when she addressed the way she'd said some of the things she had said about people working on the project.

The star, 42, suggested it was to do with where she was from, blaming it on her "Frenchness".

Hospital excuse

At one stage the High Court was told that Green suggested pretending to be in hospital if she was called to make the film.

Max Mallin KC, for White Lantern, said the actor “was so concerned about what would happen if she were expressly called upon to perform” that she had suggested her agent “invent a story about Ms Green being hospitalised”.

The court was told the message read: “If they come back to you and say they are going to go ahead with the movie, what can we say…?

French actress Eva Green leaves The Rolls Building courthouse in London, Britain, January 30, 2023. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
The star leaving court. (Reuters)

“Could we say this situation has made me ill over the weekend? We could say I had to go to hospital as I had a serious rash all over my body?”

However Edmund Cullen KC, for the star, said she had been subjected to a “character assassination”.

Judge finds in Green's favour

Finding in Green’s favour, Mr Justice Michael Green said it “was not part of some unlawful conspiracy or deceit”.

He said the "extremely unpleasant things" the star said about Seal and the crew "was borne from a genuine feeling of concern that any film made under Mr Seal’s control would be of very low quality and would not do justice to a script that she and the former directors were passionate about".

Eva Green poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Dumbo' in London, Thursday, March 21, 2019. (Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)
Eva Green was due to play a soldier. (Invision/AP)

Discussing Seal’s time in the witness box, he added: “I have to say that, having heard him give evidence, I can see how it might be possible to take an instant dislike to him. In giving evidence he was at times patronising, sarcastic and denigrating.”

The judge also said Green “was in some senses a frustrating and unsatisfactory witness”.

Read more: Eva Green film project became ‘Shakespearean farce’, High Court told

He said he understood “the torment” it must have been for her to have private messages revealed.

But he added that “some of her explanations for the language she used and the feelings she expressed – such as they were down to her ‘Frenchness’ – were not credible or adequate”.

Additional reporting from PA.

Watch: Eva Green blamed her 'Frenchness' after a swear-laden rant