French actress Eva Green has won a lawsuit against White Lantern Film over her $1m fee for a sci-fi film that never got made. The Casino Royale star sued the production company, claiming that she was owed the sum after the film collapsed amid a bitter dispute with producers. The ruling, made in January, follows a trial in which text messages in which Green called one producer a “moron” and another “evil” were revealed.
White Lantern claimed that Green’s “unreasonable demands” derailed the film, A Patriot. However, judge Mr Justice Green dismissed White Lantern’s counterclaim and ruled that the 42-year-old actress was entitled to her fee. He said Green “did not renounce her obligations” under her contract, nor did she commit any repudiatory breaches of it. Mr Justice Green also described Green as “in some senses a frustrating and unsatisfactory witness”.
Giving evidence in January, Green was asked about messages she wrote about the film-makers, including one in which she described two of them as “weak and stupid”. She explained that comment by telling the court: “It’s my Frenchness coming out sometimes. Sometimes you say things you don’t actually mean. Of course, they are not weak and stupid.” However, Mr Justice Green continued in his judgment that “for such a perfectionist in her art, she was surprisingly under-prepared for her evidence.”
Despite some of the unpleasant things Green said about producers and crew, Mr Justice Green decided that “this was born from a genuine feeling of concern that any film… would be of very low quality.” Green released a statement following the judgment, saying her “professional reputation has been upheld”. During the trial, the media coverage of her messages and actions “felt like being set upon by hounds”, she said.
The trial highlighted the difficulties of working in the film industry, with budgets and time constraints often causing tensions to run high. Green’s lawsuit serves as a reminder that actors are professionals and entitled to be treated with respect and paid accordingly for their work. The judgment also shows that while there may be disagreements and conflicts, contracts must be honored, and breaches must be proven before counterclaims can be made.