LONDON (AFP): A lengthy legal dispute over a never-made film starring French actress Eva Green reached London’s High Court on Thursday.
Green, who starred alongside Daniel Craig in the James Bond film “Casino Royale”, is seeking payment of her acting fee for an aborted sci-fi project called “A Patriot”.
The 42-year-old actress is suing the UK-based production company White Lantern Film, claiming she is still entitled to her fee of $1 million (£810,000).
The production, announced in 2018, collapsed the following year.
Green filed her lawsuit saying she owed the fee under a “pay or play” contract clause. She is also seeking reimbursement of her legal costs.
White Lantern Film countersued, alleging that she derailed the £4 million project by making “unreasonable demands” and by dropping out of the lead role.
The trial is expected to last nine days, with the judge issuing a ruling at a later date.
Green did not appear at the first full hearing Thursday and was represented by her lawyer Edmund Cullen, but is due to give evidence on Monday.
The actress “wanted the film to be made, she bent over backwards to get this done”, Cullen said, calling it a “passion project” for which she was an executive producer.
He accused the production company of trying to depict Green as a “diva to win headlines and damage her reputation”.
A lawyer for White Lantern, Max Mallin, said Green had shown a “vitriolic aversion” to production plans and was “increasingly reluctant to be involved”.
“We have got a critical split between the expectation of Eva Green and the film she wanted to make, and what the budget could afford,” he told the court.
In written arguments, Mallin also pointed to text messages in which she harshly criticised several of the production crew members.
In them, Green calls the film’s executive producer Jake Seal a “devious psychopath” and production manager Terry Bird a “moron”.
Cullen conceded that Green’s “language is unguarded and at times strongly and perhaps carelessly expressed”.
But he accused White Lantern of trying to “lay every failure of the production at Ms Green’s door” while in fact the project was in a “state of complete dysfunction”.
Last year, Cullen represented two former members of the Sex Pistols who won a London court battle against ex-frontman John Lydon over the use of the punk band’s music in a Disney series.
The Celebrity Net Worth website estimates Green is worth $10 million.