Actress gives evidence in High Court over bitter film dispute

January 31, 2023 3:59 pm

Eva Green argues that she is owed her fee under a so-called "pay or play" provision. [Source: BBC]

Actress Eva Green described a film producer as an “inexperienced, pretentious moron” as “an emotional response” after she was lied to about filming, she has told the High Court.

The Casino Royale star is suing White Lantern Films over her $1m (£810,000) fee for a film that never got made.

Her barrister has claimed the production company wants to paint her as a “diva” to damage her reputation.

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They dispute her claim and are countersuing.

The company is arguing she made “unreasonable” demands and pulled out.

The French actress was due to star in and executive produce A Patriot in 2019, but fell out with fellow producers over the budget, location and preparations.

Ms Green argues that she is owed her fee under a so-called “pay or play” provision, which guarantees an agreed payment to an actor even if the film is never made.

A series of her WhatsApp messages have been revealed to the court, in which she called executive producer Jake Seal “the devil” and “evil”, and described the crew as “peasants”.

Asked about her description of an “inexperienced, pretentious moron”, she told the court on Monday: “I’m probably talking about [producer] 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.

Referring to another message describing two of the film-makers as “weak and stupid”, she said: “It’s my Frenchness coming out sometimes.”

She added: “Sometimes you say things you don’t actually mean. Of course they are not weak and stupid.”

And asked about the reference to crew members as “peasants… from Hampshire”, she said: “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 said she withdrew after budget cuts forced filming to move from Ireland, and because of “chaotic” preparations and what she described as corner-cutting – such as an “extremely dangerous” reduction in her stunt training – and the crew being paid “significantly” below industry rates.

She said she would not make a “B-movie” because appearing in such a film “could kill my career”.

“When an actor has appeared in a B-movie they are labelled as a B-actor, you never get offered quality work ever again”, she added.

White Lantern has claimed “Ms Green’s expectations for the film were incompatible with its budget”, and that she was “repeatedly making unreasonable demands” about the crew, locations and equipment.

Max Mallin KC, for White Lantern, has also claimed that Ms Green had an “animosity” towards a vision for the film held by Mr Seal.

The civil trial is due to last for a total of eight days.