The Hollywood actor Eva Green has been unfairly portrayed as a “diva” by producers and financiers in an attempt to shift blame for the collapse of a sci-fi film in which she was supposed to star, the high court has heard.
The former Bond Girl is suing White Lantern Films and SMC Speciality finance for her $1m (£807,000) fee for A Patriot but the two companies are countersuing, alleging that Green pulled out of and breached her contract.
Their evidence includes vituperative WhatsApp messages, including in which she referred to the film’s executive producer Jake Seal and his colleague Terry Bird as, respectively, “pure vomit” and “a fucking moron”.
At the start of the 11-day trial in central London, Edmund Cullen KC said the criticisms of his client were unjustified and that A Patriot was a passion project for Green, which she “bent over backwards” to get made.
He told the court: “This case is designed to paint my client as a diva to win headlines and damage her reputation.”
In his written arguments, he said the counterclaim “seems to be designed to blacken the name of an actor who has not breached a contract or missed a day’s shooting in a career spanning 20 years.
“Bizarrely EG [Green] is criticised extensively for her supposedly unreasonable behaviour, when in fact the documentary evidence shows her consistently striving to ensure that the film would be of the highest possible quality, including by making repeated offers to contribute her own funds towards the hiring of suitable crew.”
Cullen said the problem was that the project “never had any proper financial foundations”. He added: “The reality … was this was a production that could never be made and the defendants knew that.”
He said the WhatsApp messages were “perhaps, carelessly expressed” but needed to be considered in context. “They are contradictory and volatile, reflecting the personalities of those involved and the extreme tension surrounding the film’s production,” he said.
In written submissions, Max Mallin KC, for the counterclaimants, said that the messages, which also included a reference to local crew members as “shitty peasants … from Hampshire”, had the effect of “undermining the film and the artist agreement”.
He argued that the script was “adequately resourced” but that Green was not accustomed to appearing in lower-budget independent films at the time and made “excessive demands beyond the financial realities of the film and its budget”.
The counterclaim alleges that Green was “not in any event ready, willing and able to perform her obligation” while conspiring to give the impression that she was, despite having no intention of participating in the version of the film proposed.
Green had entered into negotiations to exchange her fee for the script rights and Mallin told the court her “ultimate aim” was to “produce a different iteration of the film at a later date in a different location and with a different team, and without the involvement of SMC”.
In a WhatsApp message, she said: “We are going to get back the script rights and relocate to Scotland or Ireland … November or after Christmas …”
Green, who was not in court on Friday, is expected to give evidence on Monday.