Eva Green on French cinema and working with Roman Polanski in a post-Weinstein world
Based On A True Story is a new psychological thriller by Roman Polanski which is opening this week at House RCA. The film stars Emmanuelle Seigner -- who's Polanski's real-life wife -- as Delphine, a successful author suffering from a lack of self-confidence.
At a book signing, Delphine is approached by Elle (Eva Green), a beautiful, slightly disturbing admirer who begins to worm herself into the daily life of the writer. Soon, Delphine finds herself cling on to the younger woman for emotional support, while Elle starts dictating her about her new book.
Green, as Elle, plays a creepy seductress in the film that deals with the dark side of obsession and the blurred line between reality, fiction, literature and film. Here's an excerpt of an interview with Green, a French actress who's known for her role in films such as The Dreamers, Casino Royale and 300: Rise Of An Empire.
Based On A True Story is your first French film since 2004. You are perceived as a French actress who works in Hollywood...
It is an illusion effect. By the way, most of the American films I have been playing in were shot in London, where I live. There has never been anything deliberate.
This is not a disenchantment with French cinema?
No, even if French cinema may have thought I snubbed him. I say to myself, in retrospect, that if I did not know how to express my desire to shoot in France earlier, it was to mark a distance with my mother. In the drama school, the other students told me that everything would be easier. I presented myself where I could not suspect any piston.
What made you decide for this movie?
Polanski sends you a screenplay, which moreover is signed by Olivier Assayas, how not to read it? More the rare opportunity of a film built on a relationship between two women, with a fuzzy character, ghostly ... You never know if this girl exists, even me, I do not know: she may not to be a projection. I had to be all that Delphine [the character played by Emmanuelle Seigner] is not, all that is missing. I worked a very particular diction, I speak a little like a book, like an inner voice.
On the set, you join a filmmaker and his wife. How does one find its place in this equation?
I dreaded a little bit of blocking. That creates favouritism, tension - things with which movies are made. It was the opposite: it is very healthy, a film of Polanski. He treats everyone the same way, from the technician to the star.
The film is based on Emmanuelle Seigner and you. Did you know each other?
Absolutely not. First day, first scene, Roman asks me to push her to the end, to dominate her.
And then, we make the film in two, mirroring, wedging one on the other, in a fusional way.
You have a twin sister ...
Yes. Which is not identical. We do not look like each other physically. She has platinum blonde hair, has two children, lives in Italy. I think of her as a double. My double happy. (Laughter.)
Your mother spoke about the Weinstein affair, revealing that he had harassed you ...
I did not know that my mother intended to speak. (Silence.) It's very difficult to talk about that. It is positive that women have finally managed to make themselves heard on this subject. On Harvey Weinstein, it's a little late. But the subject is larger, and if this liberated speech can help to make women heard in all professional circles and put an end to a taboo, that's fine. As far as I'm concerned, I'm not going into details, not here, not now.
Did you expect his fall?
Everyone knew it in the trade. And I'm glad it happens. It is an abuse of power. He is a sick person.
Roman Polanski himself is accused of rape, dating back to the 1970s. Does that complicate your position?
No. Because he has always been very correct with me. That's why I can face the promotion of the film. I did not forbid any questions. I do not try to defend him, I just know he has always behaved with me with great kindness.
Do you see how?
As an artist. At work. After, what he did is something else. It's watching him.