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Eva Green: “I hate watches!”
Point of View

Eva Green: “I hate watches!”

Thursday, 20 October 2016
By Frank Rousseau
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Frank Rousseau

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5 min read

She wowed as the James Bond Girl with the dynamite eyes in Casino Royale. As a witch, she grappled with Johnny Depp in Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows. Now Eva Green is reunited with the director in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. She tells us why she never wears a watch.

Between films, the sexy scion of French actress Marlene Jobert never ceases to amaze Hollywood with her talent and special beauty. But off-set, who is the gorgeously Gothic, thirty-something actress, and is she really as “peculiar” as she’s made out to be?

This is your second film with Tim Burton. What's the big attraction?

I was a huge fan of his work long before I made Dark Shadows alongside Johnny Depp. He was a hero to me. A unique artist. A poet of sorts. When he called with another role, I said yes straight away. I would have played anything! A lamp, a table… [laughs]. Tim has an amazing talent. He knows how to combine horror with lighter elements. Children enjoy being frightened, without actually being scared to death. Take Bambi. You can’t imagine the number of kids who’ve been upset by that film!

Eva Green
What kind of child were you?

OK, I admit, I was weird! Well, really I was just shy. I never wanted to go to birthday parties, probably because I was scared of clowns. I’m over that now! My first time as an actress in Los Angeles wasn’t easy, either. I was so clumsy. It took me a while to adapt to LA, although I’m not the only one. I know a bunch of actors living in Hollywood who still haven’t got used to it.

What don't you like about the City of Angels?

The feeling that you’re constantly being judged. Are you hot? Too hot? Not hot enough? It’s actually the local film crowd that I find weird. I’m often asked why I don’t move to Los Angeles. I say that I go there to work, give interviews, meet with my agents, make films, but live there? Never! Plus I can’t stand traffic jams. What a waste of time, not to mention the pollution stinging your eyes and nose. I just don’t get this city. In Europe, all the major cities have underground systems that get traffic off the roads. In Los Angeles, people get in their car to drive a hundred metres. It’s beyond me.

Eva Green
Eva Green
Tell us about your home in London.

I swear it’s not a witch’s den full of taxidermied bats, although I’m sure that’s what people imagine! I love the Portobello antiques market. Whenever I see a teddy bear looking at me with those sad eyes, it’s like it’s pleading with me, “save me, save me”: I just have to buy it and take it home. I also like Chinese and Indian art. I do have a few strange objects, but nothing too out of the ordinary. I see my flat as a kind of temple. A bubble where I feel good. I’d describe it as “baroque”.

I hate watches. I never wear one. If I did, I'd never take my eyes off it.
Eva Green
Apart from teddy bears, what else do you collect? Watches, maybe?

Definitely not! I hate watches. I never wear one. If I did, I’d never take my eyes off it. There’s something addictive about seeing the seconds hand going round and round the dial. Whenever you’re under pressure, the first thing you do is check the time. As though knowing what time it is can make a difference. Although it does happen. The course of an entire life can change in a single second!

Where does this aversion to time come from?

School, probably. There was always the clock on the classroom wall, the silent voice telling you “don’t be late”, “do your homework on time”… My Swedish father was forever hammering home how important it was to be punctual. I can’t think like that now. I hate having to keep to a schedule. I’ll let you in on a secret: rules aren’t my thing. Also, keeping track of time is a reminder that as we grow older, time goes faster and faster. That’s how it feels, anyway.

Eva Green
Eva Green
So if I follow your logic, you associate watches with rules?

In a way, yes. A watch is always there to remind you there’s a job to be done and that it has to be done within a certain timeframe. It takes away your freedom, forces you to comply. The only watches that find favour in my eyes are pocket watches, the kind used by Miss Peregrine whose orphan wards each has a strange power. She’s a mysterious character who has the ability to alter time, and can turn into a bird. A kind of dark Mary Poppins who doesn’t think twice about firing a crossbow at anyone who poses a threat to her peculiar children. Miss Peregrine has a watch that she uses to create a space-time continuum that protects the school from Nazi bombs. If I had to own a watch, that’s what it would be. One that can make time stand still at a happy moment and keep us safe from harm. Not one that constantly reminds us time is flying by!

Eva Green
I like the gesture of having a pocket watch.
Eva Green
What else do you like about pocket watches?

The fact you don’t wear them on the wrist, presumably. There’s a baroque side to them too, something quaint and outmoded. I like the gesture of having a pocket watch. A nineteenth-century gentleman would slip his watch out of his pocket. There wasn’t the frantic gesturing that goes with modern watches. That constant flicking of the wrist.

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