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Fri, Mar 07, 2014
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Nasty Barbie

Eva Green looks weird.

Of course she's a beautiful woman, but there's also something sinister about her.

There's a bit too much intelligence behind those heavily mascaraed eyes.

She rarely seems to smile, and if she does it's more of a smirk.

Her long, dark, wild tresses suggest a certain degree of wantonness.

Her limbs are long and spidery.

She's basically the farthest thing you could imagine from an accessible corn-fed blonde like Jennifer Lawrence.

She's a bad-girl brunette to the nth degree.

In her new fantasy action film 300: Rise Of An Empire, a follow-up to 2006's 300 which opens here tomorrow, the 33-year-old French actress plays the villain of course, but her ruthless character Artemisia isn't your run-of-the-mill femme fatale.

She's an admiral, yo.

"Eva Green was the only name we discussed, and she was everything we could have imagined and more," said Mark Canton, one of the film's producers.

"Eva's Artemisia is a thousand per cent woman and a thousand per cent badass naval warrior. She is dazzling as both."

Loosely based on an actual historical figure, Artemisia is the lean, mean killing machine who leads Persian god-king Xerxes' fleet during his invasion of Greece and has no qualms getting violent or cutting people in half.

Her motivation? Revenge. Her parents will off-ed by Greeks, and now she wants them all to pay.

"I love playing evil characters, but especially those who are complex and have a reason to behave in such a way," said Green.

"What I like about Artemisia is that she's ballsy and utterly fearless. Her tragic flaw is her obsessive need for revenge."

Green's love of "evil" has been put to great use in a number of flicks over the years.

In Casino Royale, she played the doomed and duplicitous Vesper Lynd who breaks James Bond's (Daniel Craig) heart.

In Cracks, she's a bonkers teacher.

In Womb, she births and falls in love with her dead boyfriend's clone.

In Dark Shadows, she's a murderous witch.

This year, aside from 300: Rise Of An Empire, she has two more intriguingly dark films coming out - Sin City: A Dame To Kill For and the indie flick White Bird In A Blizzard.

Green has spent her career in a sort of shadow land, exploring the limits of the human capacity for strangeness.

That said, none of her roles have allowed her to wreak quite as much havoc as this one.

In 300: Rise Of An Empire, she's armed and very dangerous.

"I'm not the most coordinated person so it was a bit scary in the beginning," she said.

"The stunt trainer would tell me, 'Don't think. Do.'

"Fighting with two swords was a big challenge, but the core work I did helped a lot.

"It was so much fun. I felt like I was living my dream."

Speaking of living a dream, how much fun must it have been for the flick's costume designer Alexandra Byrne to dress Green for the role.

She's the ultimate Nasty Barbie.

"We dressed her as a warrior and as a woman," said Byrne.


"The director, Noam Murro, wanted her costumes to make a strong statement, so the lines are severe but distinctly feminine. The predominant colour is black with touches of gold."

She added: "The two sides of Artemisia are best captured in the garments she wears in her face-to-face encounters with the Greek leader Themistocles (Sullivan Stapleton).

"The first time they meet, when she summons him to her ship, she is alluring in a flowing metallic dress, woven in gold and purple and accessorised with golden chain mail.

"When they meet again, she is all warrior - brandishing two swords and with armoured spikes running down her back for good measure."

Green may not be cut out to play a damsel in distress, but she excels at playing distressing dames.

She challenges audiences while at the same time winning them over with her charisma and chilly brand of chutzpah.

As director Murro said: "She's dangerous, she's beautiful, she's sexy, she's conniving, she has a sword and knows how to use it.

"It's really simple: don't mess with her."

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