A legal battle involving actress Eva Green over the failure of a £4m film project is intended to portray her as a ‘diva’ to damage her reputation, the High Court has heard.
The Casino Royale star, 42, was slated to star in the sci-fi film A Patriot before production was shut down in October 2019.
He is suing the production company White Lantern Films, claiming they are entitled to his fee of one million dollars (approximately £810,000) for the film, despite its cancellation.
Ms Green, who was an actress and executive producer on the project, says she is entitled to receive the fee if the production is canceled under a so-called “pay or play” arrangement.
White Lantern Films is defending the case and filing a counterclaim against the French actress, claiming she repeatedly made “unreasonable demands” and undermined the film’s production.
At the start of the eight-day trial on Thursday, attorney Edmund Cullen KC told the court that Ms Green wanted to make the film, but “the financial plan was never going to work out.”
She added: “This has been, for her, a passion project. The theme of the film concerns an issue that worries her a lot, namely the climate catastrophe.
“She loved the script and wanted to get the movie done, she bent over backwards to get it done.”
In their written defense of the complaint, White Lantern Films’ lawyers said Ms. Green had expressed “lack of confidence and dissatisfaction” with some members of the production crew.
Max Mallin KC, for White Lantern, said she was “increasingly reluctant to get involved in production”, in breach of contract.
In the text messages used in White Lantern’s statement, Green is said to refer to one of the film’s executive producers, Jake Seal, as “evil”, “devious sociopath”, and “a liar and a madman”.
“I can’t believe Moron Jake…pure vomit,” reads another message said to be from Ms Green sent in August 2019.
He is also reported to have called production manager Terry Bird a “fu****** moron” and described Mr Seal and Mr Bird as “total jerks”.
However, Mr Cullen told the court: “This case is designed to paint my client as a diva in order to grab the headlines and damage her reputation.”
He added that it was “really extraordinary” that Ms Green was faced with a case where she was “somehow trying to undermine the project all the time by making unreasonable demands”.
The lawyer continued, “He has repeatedly agreed to postpone the start of principal photography. He agreed to move the production from Ireland to the UK. He has made repeated offers to use part of his fee to finance production costs.
In written submissions, Mr. Cullen said that White Lantern’s defense to the case was “an artificial construct that has no reality with respect to the factual and legal position as it existed at the time.”
“It appears to be designed to tarnish the name of an actor who hasn’t breached a contract or missed a day of shooting in a 20-year career,” he added.
The lawyer said that White Lantern has “tried to pin every production failure on Ms. Green’s door”.
He later told the court that the production was in a “state of complete dysfunction” and that the “reality” was “this was a production that could never actually have been made and the defendant knew it.”
Judge Michael Green is expected to make his decision at a later date.