Eva Green today won a £4million court battle against movie bosses who blamed her for sabotaging a sci-fi film in a bitter row in which she branded crew members ‘s****y peasants from Hampshire’ .
But despite ruling in her favour in London this morning, a High Court judge did not accept that it was ‘credible or adequate’ for the Hollywood star – who called the producers ‘weak and stupid’, ‘pure vomit’ and ‘total a***holes’ – to blame her rudeness on her ‘Frenchness coming out’.
Mr Justice Michael Green also branded the French actress a ‘frustrating and unsatisfactory witness’.
The former Bond girl, who starred alongside Daniel Craig in Casino Royale in 2006, was set to play the leading role of Kate Jones in dystopian thriller A Patriot, but the production collapsed in 2019. The 42-year-old actress sued the filmmakers of the £4.6million movie, claiming she was entitled to her $1million (£810,000) fee under the terms of her contract agreement.
This morning a High Court judge ruled Ms Green was entitled to the lump sum, however, Mr Justice Michael Green was clear that being French was not a defence for her poor language. But he added: ‘This was not part of some unlawful conspiracy or deceit’ intended to sabotage the film.
French actress Eva Green (pictured arriving outside court in January) has successfully won a multimillion-pound High Court case in London after being blamed for the collapse of the dystopian thriller film A Patriot
Jake Seal (pictured leaving the Rolls Building in London in February), the owner of Black Hangar Studios in Hampshire, said he did not know actress Eva Green described him as ‘pure vomit’
Throughout the trial, Ms Green had sought to blame her use of foul language and brash treatment of staff on her ‘Frenchness coming out’, claiming it made her say things in a ‘very direct way’.
White Lantern Film and lender SMC Specialty Finance brought a counterclaim against Ms Green, alleging she had undermined the production and relinquished her contract.
In text messages used in White Lantern’s claim, Ms Green is said to refer to one of the film’s executive producers, Jake Seal, as ‘evil’, a ‘devious sociopath’, ‘a liar and a mad man’ and ‘pure vomit’. She is also said to have called production manager Terry Bird ‘a f****** moron’ and described the men as ‘total a***holes’.
The judge said: ‘I understand the torment it must have been for her to have all her private texts and WhatsApp messages revealed in open court and scrutinised for what they disclosed about her true state of mind and intentions in relation to the film.
‘She said it was “humiliating” but some of her explanations for the language she used and the feelings she expressed – such as they were down to her “Frenchness” – were not credible or adequate.
‘However I do think allowances need to be made for the heightened emotions that were clearly present when some of the messages were written and for the fact that these were assumed to be personal correspondence between friends that would never have been imagined to be seen by anyone else and certainly not analysed to the extent they were.’
Ms Green – who was cast as soldier Kate Jones in the dystopian thriller which was also set to feature Game Of Thrones star Charles Dance and Twister star Helen Hunt – said there was a serious lack of preparation for the film, such as an absence of stunt training.
The judge agreed that the Casino Royale actress (pictured earlier this year) was entitled to her million-dollar salary (£810,000)
Producers Terry Bird (left) and Jake Seal were mentioned in a series of text messages she had sent. She called the director of the film ‘weak and stupid’ in one message
Ms Green starred in Casino Royale in 2006 alongside James Bond actor Daniel Craig
The court heard from one of the assistant directors on the project who said the proposed studios in Hampshire were ‘like a morgue’ and were ‘an aircraft hangar with leaks and no soundproofing’.
However, Ms Green said: ‘If I had been called to set, I would have done this film even though it would have been a disaster.’
The actress had made the comments, including calling the director of the film ‘weak and stupid’, over a series of private text messages.
The judge said he took into account Ms Green’s ’emotional and forthright personality in explaining her more extreme comments’, in private messages about the producer – whom she ‘clearly detested even though she only met him once’.
He added that while the James Bond star had said some ‘extremely unpleasant things’ about the film crew, ‘she was speaking her mind in the private messages, using hyperbolic language not in her native tongue’.
In a statement issued after the ruling, Ms Green said her ‘professional reputation had been upheld’.
The actress said: ‘I fought tooth and nail to defend the beautiful film that I loved and had signed on for.
‘A film that spoke of a cause I hold dear – climate change – and warned of the resource wars and mass migration that would occur if we don’t address the problem. I stood my ground, and this time, justice prevailed.’
Thanking her legal team and the judge, she said she had been ‘forced to stand up to a small group of men, funded by deep financial resources, who tried to use me as a scapegoat to cover up their own mistakes.
‘I am proud that I stood up against their bully-boy tactics,’ she added.
When accused of being rude to staff on set, Ms Green (pictured outside court in January) told the court she had a ‘very direct way of saying things’ and blamed her ‘Frenchness coming out’
Actress Eva Green filming near Tower Bridge in October 2019
Mr Justice Michael Green announced the actress’ victory this morning at the High Court of Justice in London, ruling she was entitled to the fee, and dismissing the counter-claim.
He said text messages from the star to her associates which said ‘we have to pull out’ or ‘we had to get out’ could not be taken out of context to prove she had terminated her contract.
Instead, the judge said the messages had ‘to be understood in the context of a heightened emotional state’ where she was ‘being open with the people she trusts’.
He added: ‘In particular, I find that Ms Green did not renounce her obligations under the artist agreement; nor did she commit any repudiatory breaches of it.’
The bitter legal battle saw both sides throwing around a number of claims during a high-profile 11-day trial in London earlier this year.
The 007 star’s representation, Edward Cullen KC, told the court that the actress had been subjected to a ‘character assassination’ adding that it was ‘based on some of the cheapest and nastiest sorts of stereotypes around’.
In a statement, White Lantern Film said: ‘We are naturally disappointed by today’s judgment and the court’s findings. We are carefully considering our options as to potential next steps, including appeal.
‘The suggestion Eva Green has made today that this legal action was motivated by or represented gender-based bullying is completely unwarranted. It does not reflect the judgment in any way, nor the evidence that was heard at court.
Eva Green arrives at the Rolls Building, London, for her High Court legal action last year over payment for a shuttered film project
‘Eva Green filed a lawsuit to be paid $1 million for a film which was not made and for which she did not provide any acting services. The evidence presented at court and about which Ms Green now complains were things that she herself wrote and said.
‘Her comments, emails and WhatsApps were examined in order to establish whether she intended to quit the project, or would have proceeded with it. That was the key evidential issue before the court.’
They added: ‘SMC has a long and proud record of financing and championing producers, directors, writers and acting talent of all genders, from Oscar winners to first-time female Directors.
‘It is preposterous to suggest that Ms Green’s gender played any role in our decision to defend ourselves against this legal claim.’