High Court says Eva Green’s film project is a ‘Shakespeare joke’

A failed sci-fi film starring Bond girl Eva Green was a “Shakespearean farce”, the film’s producer told the High Court.

Casino Royale actress Ms Green was set to lead the dystopian thriller A Patriot, 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 filing a counterclaim against the French actress, alleging that she undermined the independent film’s production, made “excessive creative and financial demands” and that expectations were “incompatible” with the budget movies.

Max Mallin KC, for the production company, claimed that a “scheme” was concocted between actor, writer and director Dan Pringle and producer Adam Merrifield – allegedly carried out by the production company as “Operation Fake It”. – to receive her fee and make a separate film without involving the lender of the project.

On Thursday, however, the High Court in London heard from Mr Merrifield, who denied any scheme to undermine the production, saying the comment he made was a joke.

He said: “We had weeks and weeks to get to the Black Hangar [the studios] and trying to make this film work.”

The producer said there was a plan to move to a new production structure, with Mr Merrifield leaving the film, but it was unclear if it had been implemented.

“At this point it turned into some kind of Shakespeare,” he said, adding later: “There was really nothing to gain from it.”

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Eva Green testified two days earlier in the trial (Yui Mok/PA).

The court previously heard that although the film was originally to be shot in Ireland, the film was later relocated to Black Hangar Studios outside London.

On Thursday, Harry Boyd – the first assistant director on the project who later resigned – said he visited the Hampshire studios about six weeks before filming began.

He told the court: “It was like a morgue. It should be busier than this courtroom, with lots of people running around.”

In written evidence, Mr Boyd – who has worked on projects including the 2021 Oscar-winning film Dune – said he only saw three or four of the crew, who were working on another project.

“It was an aircraft hangar with leaks and no soundproofing,” he said, adding in his written testimony that he was “disturbed” by the facilities.

Mr Boyd continued: “There was no doubt in my mind that Black Hangar was not suitable for making a big motion picture. The facilities – costumes, make-up, changing rooms etc – were not at a level or size suitable for any team.”

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The case is due later this month with a written ruling later (James Manning/PA).

Mr Mallin told Mr Boyd that he had not visited the studio again and did not know if it had been soundproofed.

Mr Boyd replied: “It would be difficult to do in four weeks and it would be very expensive.”

The assistant director said the amount of work required to prepare for the production would take “eight weeks, under pressure”, adding: “You can build a house in four weeks but it could fall down after two. “

Giving evidence on Tuesday, Ms Green said she did not want to work with executive producer Jake Seal and his team, but would not break her contract.

In texts used in White Lantern Film’s claim, Ms Green referred to Mr Seal as “evil” as a “devious sociopath”, “pure vomit” and “a liar and a madman”.

Mr Boyd, who has worked in film and television since 1990, told the court: “When I dealt with Mr Seal… I found him very unpleasant. I have been doing this for a long time and you can smell the rats, as it were.

“I felt he wasn’t doing his job the way you would expect it to be done.”

The trial is expected to hear evidence from Ms Green’s agent on Friday, and a ruling in the case is expected later.

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