Friday, June 20, 2014

The rise of Eva Green

Earlier this year, she single-handedly turned what could have been a forgettable, cynical cash grab sequel into a must see, exhilarating delight. Right now she is headlining the most talked about new television series of the season.
Eva Green, the statuesque star of “300: Rise of an Empire” (2014) and “Penny Dreadful” (Showtime, currently running) is an extraordinary actress possessing rare gifts and an unlimited reservoir of talent. She has that elusive factor—that it factor—all great actors possess. She inhabits each and every role with a physical transformation and emotional commitment that is staggering—especially when one considers the variety of characters she has taken on.

The French beauty was destined for greatness from the start, making her film debut by landing a starring role in the erotic drama “The Dreamers”, a controversial, (and brilliant!) film by the acclaimed Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci. This is the equivalent of starring in a Stanley Kubrick film in your first movie role. Bertolucci is the Oscar winning director of “The Last Emperor” (1987) and famous for another controversial erotic film, “The Last Tango in Paris” (1972) starring Marlon Brando. For a young actress to take on the leading role in a movie made by such a strong director with a reputation for a heavy-handed (and manipulative) style of working with actors, was a huge risk.

But the courageous move paid off for Eva Green. The film was well-received and the controversy was miniscule compared to the uproar caused by “Tango” back in 1972. “The Dreamers” is a thoughtful, intelligent exploration of sexuality, culture, politics, and eroticism told through the eyes of three college students against the backdrop of the 1968 Paris student riots.
Eva’s next major role was for yet another powerhouse director in 2005 when she starred as Sibylla in Ridley Scott’s epic “Kingdom of Heaven”. Even among a cast that included Orlando Bloom, Jeremy Irons, Brendan Gleeson, Liam Neeson, and Edward Norton, Eva stood out and her performance garnered rave reviews. Next, she would go on to star in arguably the best James Bond movie ever, “Casino Royale” (2006). Her performance as Vesper Lynd is flat out the best performance by a Bond girl ever.

Eva followed up “Casino Royale” with another popular big budget blockbuster hit by once again teaming up her Bond co-star in Daniel Craig in “The Golden Compass”. After this, the rising star mixed up the pace, flexed her acting muscles, and demonstrated her astonishing depth of range in a trilogy of independent, character heavy films. “Franklyn” (2008), “Cracks” (2009), and “Womb” (2010). After two more under the radar productions, “Perfect Sense” (2011) and “Camelot” (2011), the prolific actress made a return to blockbuster filmmaking, giving a delightful scene-stealing turn in Tim Burton’s sloppy but entertaining “Dark Shadows” reboot (2012).
Eva Green is incredible. Her physical presence and sexual charisma are astonishing. She can do comedy, horror, epic fantasy, adventure, eroticism, intimate character, studies and be true in all of them—and own each and every role. She is every bit as convincing with a sword in her hand among barbarians as she is in a cocktail dress among the elite.
Check out Eva Green this summer on Showtime’s creepy “Penny Dreadful”, in “300: Rise of an Empire” (DVD/Blue Ray release next week June 24th), and later this summer as the title character in “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For”.

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