Eva Green says it has been “humiliating” to have her private WhatsApp messages read out in court.
The actor, best known for her roles in Bond film “Casino Royale” and drama series “Penny Dreadful, was in the witness stand at London’s High Court for a second day on Tuesday as part of her lawsuit against White Lantern (Britannica) Ltd. She is taking legal action against the company over a film called “A Patriot,” in which she was due to star as a soldier, before the project collapsed in 2019 having failed to secure production finance.
Green claims that under her “pay or play” contract she is still owed her $1 million fee. White Lantern – together with finance company Sherborne Media Finance – are defending the claim and counter-suing the actor for “conspiracy, deceit and unlawful interference.” They claim she repudiated her contract and undermined the production, causing it to collapse, in order to buy out the script and make the film herself.
As part of the discovery process, numerous communications between Green and other individuals – including her agent, Charles Collier of Tavistock Wood, and the film’s writer and director Dan Pringle – were disclosed, in which Green admits she was “very direct.” Among them are missives in which Green calls Sherborne “arseholes” and “sad little people” and describes one of the producers on the project, Jake Seal, as “evil” and “the devil.” She also referred to the crew at production facility Black Hanger Studios as “shitty peasants.” On Monday, the court heard that Green had described the failing project as a “B-shitty-movie”.
As part of a lengthy cross examination, White Lantern’s lawyer, Max Mallin KC, asked Green whether she was “accustomed to lying in text messages,” to which Green responded that she has a “very direct” manner, before adding: “I was not expecting to have my WhatsApp messages exposed in court. It’s already very humiliating.”
During the lengthy cross-exam, Green repeatedly described a “chaotic” atmosphere as the film began to collapse, citing a lack of crew, stunt training and even empty production offices at Black Hanger, where the film was supposed to shoot. “It was like an imaginary movie,” she explained.
“I lived through this and I don’t really understand,” she said. “I’m still confused by this cuckoo situation.”
Mallin also suggested that Green had made “excessive and burdensome demands” during the project. When she asked for examples, he cited her high standards for experienced heads of department, which had been causing “frustration” for the producers. “I was not demanding anything,” replied Green, who was also supposed to exec produce the project. “I was making suggestions and it was to ensure the quality of the movie…They were just suggestions. Of course the producers were very free to say no.”
When questioned over messages in which Green expressed she was “pulling out” of the project and would not work with Seal – whom she felt was damaging the quality of the film by reducing the budget and insisting on a studio shoot as opposed to on location – she pointed to her Bond co-star Daniel Craig, who told a journalist in 2015 he would “rather slash my wrists” than return to play Bond. Despite the bombastic claim, she explained, he subsequently returned for a final 007 film. When Mallin countered that Green had plucked the Craig anecdote out of her agent’s witness statement, she retorted: “I know this story very well because I know Daniel very well.”
The atmosphere in court on Tuesday – the fourth day of the trial and Green’s second consecutive day in the witness box – was especially charged, with both sides’ lawyers frequently snapping at each other. At one point, while Green’s agent was whispering to her legal team, Mallin turned around and said sharply: “I wonder if Mr Collier could keep his voice down while the witness is giving evidence.”
Green also noted the atmosphere at one point, saying: “It’s very tense.” On another occasion, after Mallin repeatedly asked her to explain the words in a message that had been sent during the final weeks of the film’s development, Green grew visibly frustrated, retorting: “Words, words, words.”
After she was finally released from the witness box in the afternoon, Green appeared relieved, immediately rushing over to Pringle and the film’s former producer, Adam Merrifield, to hug them.
The case continues.
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