Happy Birthday, Eva Green! The slender-necked, dark-haired goddess is 36 on July 6th and this do-it-all Cancer has continuously impressed with her ability to intimidate us all as she owns the screen. It’s nothing to with the abandon with which she expresses no issue appearing nude when a part calls for it. It’s not even the especially dark roles she’s noted for playing. It’s the way she gives every character she plays a touch of light and dark, making them personal, endearing, and formidable.
In a recent interview with W Magazine she discussed why it is everyone thinks she’s so strange, while also going into a gush-session over Jack Nickolson in The Shining. (Watch above for all the adorableness.) It’s like One Direction kind of said, “you don’t know you’re strange, and that’s what makes you wonderfully weird.” Eva’s the kind of lady who makes you feel sweet and bitter go better together and here are just a few examples of times she made that point oh, so well.
Vesper Lynd – Casino Royale
As a double agent — aren’t all , though? — Vesper keeps Daniel Craig’s James Bond on his toes. But as a reluctant traitor, her empathy is what steals Bond’s heart in the end. What makes Eva Green’s portrayal so perfect is the way she’s able to simultaneously display disgust for Bond’s ego, challenging his usual misogynist ways, while seeing past it all. She’s the anti-bond girl we always wanted, and as the first bond girl in the Daniel Craig edition of the series, she set the bar quite high.
Angelique Bouchard – Dark Shadows
Other than our dear Helena Bonham Carter, there may be no other actress as perfectly suited for Tim Burton as Eva. Even as only one of many dark characters in this , she stands out. Angelique may be an evil witch (literally) but at her heart she’s fueled by love. Jealous, unrequited love, of course. But what girl can’t relate to that?
Eve Connors – White Bird in a Blizzard
This indie flick didn’t get nearly enough attention and unfortunately Eva’s role in it is brief. Most of Eve Connors’ story is told in flashbacks to what she was like before she disappeared from her suburban home, leaving her daughter and husband behind. It would be easy to dislike Eve, the way she flirts with her daughter’s boyfriend and drunkenly embarrasses herself, but she’s a woman with dreams. A woman trapped into being a mother because of a time period that demanded it of her. She’s mesmerizing in her complexity.
Morgan – Camelot
Morgan is of course an antagonist in this short-lived 2011 TV series. As Arthur’s half sister, she wants the throne for herself. Who can blame her for not wanting to trust in Merlin and his far-fetched plan. She’s a woman with daddy-issues and drive and Eva plays her with a ruthlessness that makes her possibly the most intriguing of the show’s characters. She’s a woman in a man’s world, and if turning to darker forces is the only option a girl has, then watching her choose that path is almost empowering.
Emilia – Franklyn
This 2008 sci-fi fantasy film about parallel worlds has a plot that gets a bit tricky and thus wasn’t much of a hit with the critics. But most people agree Eva Green’s roles in the film are possibly the most interesting of the loose threads weaved throughout. As Emilia, a suicidal conceptual artist and Sally, a smiley teacher. Here she literally plays two sides to one coin and seeing her side-by-side portrayals only accentuates her abilities.
Miss G – Cracks
A coming-of-age film following a girls swimming team in a 1930’s boarding school. Eva plays Miss G, there free-spirited and (supposedly) world-traveled swim coach. When a new Spanish girl, Fiamma, arrives to the school her independent ways and obvious sophistication both inspire and threaten Miss G. She’s a woman grappling with the illusion of herself she’s built up to her adoring teenaged girls and the truth of who she is. The story gets quite dark, and Eva takes us on a roller coaster of adoration and repulsion as only she can.
Serafina Pekkala – The Golden Compass
Her role in was brief, but in a movie filled with forthright females of both evil and good intent, her good witch Serafina embodied both. She’s a warrior, swooping in with her fellow witches in the final battle of the film, but she’s also compassionate, sharing with Lyra news of where to find the missing children she seeks. If only we could have gotten more screen time of Eva in that flowing gauzy dress.
Vanessa Ives – Penny Dreadful
Her most recent role and possibly her greatest yet, Eva’s Vanessa Ives is her most light and dark combined character. Driven by guilt and love and by forces outside her control, Vanessa is fearless but haunted. She’s an excellent friend to those around her and she can speak as sweetly to children on park benches as she can spew vitriole when controlled by spirits. Throughout Penny Dreadful’s , Eva’s Vanessa became the clear central figure of the story, her backstory and drive compelling us along. There are whole scenes of eye-contact in Penny Dreadful, proving Eva Green can do just fine without words.
Miss Peregrine – Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
So, the film isn’t out. Which means we’ll have to wait until September to see just how well Eva does in her second Tim Burton film. However, it seems a safe assumption, based on the trailer (below), that as Miss Peregrine Eva gets to showcase that loving ferocity she does so well. As caretaker to a school of misfit peculiar children with abilities and secrets, she protects and guides them all as matriarch. Obviously as a misfit herself — not everyone can turn into a bird on demand — she has her own secrets. As a sort of “Queen of the Weirdos” it will be exciting to see how dark Miss Peregrine gets when defending her kids.
Wish Eva a happy birthday and share your favorite of her on-screen moments in the comments!
MP Staff Writer, lover of all things fantastical and spooky. “Only the meek get pinched. The bold survive.” – Ferris Bueller