I’m not rude, just French, former Bond girl Eva Green tells court
Former Bond girl Eva Green blamed her “Frenchness” for abusive messages describing film bosses as “weak and stupid” and referring to one as a “f****** inexperienced, pretentious moron.”
The Casino Royale star, 42, was due to play the lead role in sci-fi film A Patriot, but the production collapsed in October 2019.
She is suing production company White Lantern Film, claiming she is entitled to her £810,000 fee for the abandoned project despite its cancellation.
In turn, White Lantern is bringing a counterclaim against the French actor, alleging she undermined the 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 referring to local crew members as “shitty peasants... from Hampshire.”
Ms Green told the court that she was concerned at "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 actor 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.”
Ms Green apologised for "inappropriate language" and "some horrible things" expressed by her in emails and texts in August and September 2019.
The court heard that in a message to her agent, Ms Green had written: “I am very worried, they are super weak and stupid.”
Mr Mallin suggested the message was “presumably” about producer Adam Merrifield and writer and director Dan Pringle.
Ms Green replied: “I don’t know ... it’s my Frenchness coming out sometimes. Sometimes you say things you don’t actually mean, of course they are not weak and stupid.”
Mr Mallin later asked Ms Green about a message where she described someone as a “f****** inexperienced, pretentious moron”.
Ms Green said: “I’m probably talking about Adam [Merrifield] at the time but it was an emotional response, I felt betrayed.” She added that she had been “lied to” about the move of the production from Ireland to the UK.
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. 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, 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 said Mr Seal had cut down her stunt training for the film from four weeks to five days.
“You can't make a quality film by cutting corners,” Ms Green said. “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.”
She said she “fell in love” with the film, in which she was cast as a soldier, after reading Mr Pringle's “brave and daring” script.
“As I have said repeatedly, I fell deeply in love with this project - not only the role, but also the message of the film,” Ms Green said in her witness statement. “I couldn't imagine abandoning the film, as it would have been like abandoning my baby. It still feels that way.
“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 had been 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 £8m originally discussed with Ms Green to a lower estimate £4.6m.