The Supreme Court was told actress Eva Green had shown a “nasty hatred” of production plans for a failed science fiction movie and should not have received her million-dollar fee.
The 42-year-old Casino Royale star is accused of making “overly creative and financial demands” and having “mismatched” expectations with the budget of the £4m project closed in October 2019.
He is suing the production company White Lantern Films, claiming that despite the cancellation of A Patriot, he was entitled to receive his fee.
White Lantern Films is defending the case and is filing a counterclaim against the French actress, alleging that she undermined the production of the independent film.
The company’s lawyers and lender SMC Specialty Finance allege that he expressed “sheer hostility” in messages referring to production members and collaborated with the director and producer to secure the film rights and make a different film.
On the first day of a hearing in London on Thursday, Max Mallin KC for White Lantern Films acknowledged that Ms. Green had a commitment to make a film but “wanted to”.
He said he had “not only a commitment to making a film that the White Lantern can and will do, but also a scathing distaste.”
“We made a critical distinction between Eva Green’s expectation and the movie she wants to make and what the budget can afford,” the lawyer said.
Mallin said Ms. Green, who was absent from court on Thursday, harbored “hostility” to the vision for the film, which was orchestrated by one of the film’s executive producers, Jake Seal.
In his written defenses, the lawyer said that the “sufficiently resourced” film “could and would have been filmed if the protagonist and key element had not been removed”.
“Ms. Green’s expectations of the film were not in line with her budget: it was an independent film unlike the big-budget studio films that Mrs. Green was used to at the time,” Mallin said.
He added: “The conflict between Ms. Green’s expectations and reality has been repeatedly demonstrated by Ms. Green’s failure to responsibly participate in pre-production and repeatedly making unreasonable demands on the White Lantern.”
Mr Mallin alleged that Mrs Green had made a “fraudulent false statement” that she was “ready, willing and able” to fulfill her contract.
The actress claimed that an “intrigue” was being devised between writer and director Dan Pringle and producer Adam Merrifield – allegedly “Operation Fake It!” by the latter. – securing its fee and making a separate movie without SMC involved.
In a message to Mr Pringle, Mallin claimed that “his soul would die” if he shot the film with Mr Seal at the Black Hangar production facility in Hampshire.
In other conversations with her attorney, her agent, and Mr Pringle, Ms Green claimed that Mr Seal was planning to make a “cheap B-movie”, describing him as “evil” and “evil”, with production manager Terry Bird as “f”. Said he defined it. ****** moron” and local team members “s***** villagers… from Hampshire”.
Earlier on Thursday, attorney Edmund Cullen KC, representing Ms. Green, told the court she wanted to make the film, but that “the financial plan would never work.”
“This was a passion project for him. The plot of the movie is about the climate catastrophe, a topic that interests him a lot.
“He loved the script and wanted the movie done, he bent over backwards to do it.”
Mr Cullen added: “This lawsuit is designed to portray my client as a diva to make headlines and tarnish her reputation.”
In written submissions, Mr. Cullen denied that Ms. Green had violated her contract and said that White Lantern’s defense to her case was “designed to defame an actor who, in his 20-year career, has not breached a contract or missed a day’s shoot”.
Mr. Cullen later said that Ms. Green’s text messages “should be seen in the context” of negotiations to buy SMC in exchange for screenplay rights.
The lawyer said the White Lantern “tried to blame every failure in production on Mrs. Green’s door.”
He later told the court that the production was “in a completely dysfunctional state” and that “the truth” was that “this is a production that could never be made, and that the accused knew it”.
The nine-day trial continues and Judge Michael Green is expected to make his decision at a later date.
Miss Green will testify on Monday.