Eva Green was described as “fragile”, “volatile” and “likely to burn” before a multi-million pound sci-fi film dropped, a film financier has told the High Court.
Financier and executive producer Alastair Burlingham said he believed Mr Green was “becoming increasingly difficult, if not impossible to manage” during pre-production of the dystopian thriller A Patriot.
The Casino Royale actress had the lead role in the film, but the production was abandoned in October 2019.
The 42-year-old is now suing production company White Lantern Film, claiming she is entitled to her million dollar (£810,000) fee for the project despite it being cancelled.
White Lantern Film is bringing a counterclaim against the French actress, alleging that she undermined the production of the independent film and made “excessive creative and financial demands”.
On Friday, Mr Burlingham, co-owner of lender company SMC Specialty Finance, began his evidence on the sixth day of the trial at the High Court in London.
In his written evidence to the court, Mr Burlingham claimed Ms Green was “playing games with the producers”, including producer Adam Merrifield.
He continued: “In July 2019, I suggested, based on the calls I made with Mr Merrifield, that Ms Green was becoming increasingly difficult if not impossible to manage, that she was engaged of erratic and diva behavior, and based on communication with the two producers that it was. she seemed emotionally vulnerable and prone to self-destruction or loss of interest.”
Mr Burlingham later said he was “concerned by mid-summer 2019 that White Lantern was finding it difficult to handle Ms Green” and that he was concerned the actress was “calling all the shots”.
He said: “My impression was that Ms Green’s claims were fantastic and more suited to a James Bond film than a five million dollar independent film from a first-time British director, and perhaps that was due to an attempt misleadingly provide’ to produce executive services when she should be preparing for her role.”
Mr Burlingham later said he believed the delay in production was “largely due to Ms Green”.
The actress denies allegations that she was not willing to go ahead with the project, saying in her written testimony: “In the 20 years I’ve been making films, I haven’t broken a contract or missed a single day of shooting.”
She added: “I repeat if [White Lantern Film] having fulfilled his contractual obligations under my contract and having asked me to provide my services under my contract, I would have done that.”
During her evidence in court, Ms Green said she “fell in love” with the script but was not called to the studio for rehearsals or stunt training, describing this as “weird” and later “absurd with capital A”.
Mr Burlingham said that in July 2019 writer and director Dan Pringle was “concerned about Ms Green’s state of mind and agreed to a change of location and a change of script at the same time”.
He continued: “Mr Pringle again emphasized how volatile and ‘vulnerable’ Ms Green was.”
On Friday evening, Mr Burlingham told the court in his oral evidence that “90% of what I heard from these guys was about Eva Green and 10% about the making of the film”.
Ms Green’s barrister, Edmund Cullen KC, said parts of Mr Burlingham’s evidence were “exaggerated to blacken her name”.
“I object to the use of the phrase denigrating her name,” replied the financier.
Mr Cuillin: “Smash her name… they have no basis in fact.”
Mr Burlingham said: “You’re telling me that I was never told that Ms Green was temperamental, fragile, what does he think? Did I put that in a witness statement to tarnish her name? No.
“These are all adjectives, descriptions, given to me… He doesn’t want to tarnish her name, I’ve been told consistently.”
Mr Cuillin previously told the court the case was “designed to paint my client as a diva to win headlines and damage her reputation”.
He said it was “very unusual” that Ms Green was facing a case “that she was trying to undermine the whole project by making unreasonable demands”.
Mr Burlingham is due to continue his evidence on Monday, and the trial is due to conclude next Friday, with a ruling expected later.