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French actor Eva Green wins $1 million in spat over 'B movie'
LONDON — Eva Green was awarded $1 million Friday by a British court in a sensational dispute over the collapse of a film project she feared was destined to become a "B movie" that could ruin her career.
The film in question was a sci-fi thriller but the case played out in court like a melodrama. The producers of "A Patriot" portrayed the French actor as a diva. She had called one of the executive producers a "devious sociopath" and "pure vomit" and said the production manager was a "moron."
A High Court judge cut through the vitriol that he said threatened to complicate the case and deemed it "relatively straightforward," awarding Green the fee she had been promised for the production that folded in 2019.
Green, 42, who played Vesper Lynd in the 2006 version of the James Bond thriller "Casino Royale," said her professional reputation had been upheld after she stood up to a small group of rich men who employed "bully-boy tactics" to use her as a scapegoat for their own failures.
Her lengthy statement, however, exposed her fragility in the face of criticism and the hurt she felt from what she claimed was misreporting in the press that "has been more painful than I can say."
"There are few things the media enjoys more than tearing a woman to pieces," Green said. "It felt like being set upon by hounds; I found myself misrepresented, quoted out of context and my desire to make the best possible film was made to look like female hysteria. It was cruel and it was untrue."
Justice Michael Green dismissed a countersuit brought by England-based film production company White Lantern Film that had said the actor made "excessive creative and financial demands" and torpedoed the production.
The judge said Green had not renounced or breached her obligations and was entitled to her 810,000 pound fee.
Green said she "fell in love" with the script for "A Patriot" and its environmental message but became increasingly concerned as corners were cut and production moved from Ireland to England.
"When an actor has appeared in a B movie, they are labeled as a B actor, you never get offered quality work ever again," she testified.
During the trial, the court was told that Green used an expletive when describing potential crew members as "peasants." She had said executive producer Jake Seal was "evil" a "devious sociopath" and a "mad man," and dubbed production manager Terry Bird a "moron."
She downplayed her biting words as her "Frenchness," which the judge dismissed as inadequate and not credible.
While Justice Green found in favor of Eva Green, he gave poor reviews to both sides in his 71-page ruling.
"For such a perfectionist in her art, she was surprisingly under-prepared for her evidence," he wrote, calling the actor "in some senses a frustrating and unsatisfactory witness."
The judge said that the unpleasant things Green said about Seal were out of a genuine concern the film would not do the script justice, and he didn't altogether disagree with her criticism.
"I have to say that, having heard him give evidence, I can see how it might be possible to take an instant dislike to him," the judge wrote. "He was at times patronizing, sarcastic and denigrating. I found him to have an innate aggression and can understand why Ms. Green and others might have been displeased to be told that they had to make the film under his full control."