How to Play Shailene Woodley’s Alcoholic Mom, A Chat With Eva Green

“I’m very shy and awkward, so playing all these characters and taking on these different roles from myself makes me feel alive and gives me blood,” Eva Green tells me when I ask about the mysterious and darkly seductive roles she’s known for in contrast to the person she is off-screen. “I’m breathing and alive when I’m acting, and I’m confident when I’m acting—I’m not always in real life.” But for the alluring French actress, her intense sensuality and cunning intellect have made her one of Hollywood’s most sought after women, from her breakout role in Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Dreamers and her turn as a bond girl in Casino Royale to starring on Showtime’s Penny Dreadful and her latest role in Gregg Araki’s White Bird in a Blizzard.

Starring Green alongside Shailene Woodley, Araki’s film (King of Teenage Doom) takes us back to the late 1980‘s to tell his dark suburban dream, based on Laura Kasischke’s novel of the same title. In White Bird, we follow Kat (Woodley), a 17-year-old girl whose emotionally unstable mother, Eve (Green), vanishes mysteriously one afternoon. Caught up in her newfound sexuality and exploration of desire and emotion, Kat represses the confusion and anger of her mother’s haunting disappearance, as her father (played by Christopher Meloni) continues on with his life in the shadow of Eve’s absence.But as the story unravels, we’re given insight into Eve’s life, with surreal flashbacks and snow-covered dreams, revealing the natural of Kat’s uneasy relationship with her mother and how deeply miserable Eve was in her caged-in life as a homemaker.

And although she is but a mere decade older than Woodley in real life, Green manages to elevate her Mommie Dearest-esque character to someone untethered by time, a ghost haunting their lives. Wonderfully theatrical while not going entirely over the top, Green plays up the ugliness of Eve’s alcoholism and anger to age herself, adding a sense of hyper-melodrama akin to one of Fassbinder’s women on the verge. So with White Bird in a Blizzard now out on VOD and in theaters next week, I stole some time with Green to chat about her fears about playing Shailene’s mother, her ability to make herself invisible, and acting inside a dream.

As a new actor to the world of Gregg Araki, how did you become involved in the film?

I remember I was in Bulgaria doing the 300 film and my agent was like, “My god, you need to look at this I’m sure you’re going to love this.” And then I just really loved the story, and it was so unusual and frustrated and it had such a great conflict with the daughter. I was very moved by it, so I said yes straight away!

Had you been a fan of his past films?

Yeah, I remember I saw Mysterious Skin in the cinema when it came it. It was dreamlike and very tormented. There’s something in his films that are a bit David Lynch in a way. Seeing the film in the cinema I remember it was like a dream and fucked up and I loved that very much. His other films are all teenage trashy bonkers funny and this one, White Bird, I find more grown up. It’s in another category of its own. 

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How was the experience of turning in this character and playing a woman who was written significantly older than you? Did you read the book to get of the feeling of who she was?

When I found out my daughter would be played by Shailene, I was like, oh my god! It’s a bit unbelievable; we look more like sisters. But Gregg was like, don’t worry, it’s a bit surreal and you’ll have another hairdo. I was worried that it would not be believable, so I loved her journey. You see her young in her 20s and then it ages me. But I tried to portray that aging more in her character. She’s an alcoholic and her body changes and her voice changes, so it was a challenge.

She only exists in these surreal memories and in flashbacks, so in a way she felt ageless.

Yes, yes.

tumblr_nauvdx0VjB1ts6gi0o4_500There’s something about your character that also felt out of time and very rooted in melodrama, like she belonged to films of the past, in opposition the natural cool of the teens.

It’s true. She’s kind of a mixture of a lot of women. She could have been a movie star but she didn’t fulfill her dreams and got trapped like a bird in a cage. Sometimes it felt like, am I going completely over the top, a complete alcoholic kind of thing, but Gregg allowed me to go there because it was a dream. You have all these teenagers and they’re cool and I had the excuse of being in a dream.

You’ve worked with a lot of great directors, but what was the experience like working with Gregg Araki?

In the beginning it was a struggle to find the money for the film and then the actors. But it’s nice that this film was made all with heart, and Gregg is very open and he’s so passionate. He’s like a child on set, with this passion and he’s so loving. He’s really all about who these characters are and the story. It’s all fun. There’s no judgement or games or bullshit. It’s pure joy and we all loved it.

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How was Shailene as a co-star and daughter?

I was intimidated at first. I thought, oh god am I going to measure up? Is this going to believable? But Shailene was so great and she calmed me down and made me feel confident. She was very supportive. She’s very wise and very mature, an old soul. And she’s also very aware of the world and extremely bright and amazing.

Looking back on the roles you’ve played, there’s been a lot of characters that fall into the darker, more dramatic realm. Do you tend to gravitate towards these roles or do you find that people approach you for them because that’s how they perceive you as an actor?

You take what you find, but I am always looking for something that’s complex and something that’s interesting. I also don’t want people to put me in a box of one character also. So I always hope people have enough imagination. But I am always drawn to something complicated. It’s jubilating in a strange way, but you also have to be careful. 

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Do you find that you’re a much different person off-screen and not the mysterious woman we often see you play?

Oh, yeah. No one ever really recognizes me really. I take the tube all the time and it’s fine. I can make myself invisible, I have that power. I’m also very shy and feel so awkward that playing all these characters and taking on these different roles from myself makes me feel alive and gives me blood. I’m breathing and alive when I’m acting and I’m confident when I’m acting. I’m not always in real life, but I would like to be. So I think I’m very different for sure.

What are you working on now?

I’m going to Ireland to shoot the second season of Penny Dreadful. I get to play a very gifted and fabulous character. It’s an interesting character and one of the most interesting I’ve gotten to play. She’s in the dark but she’s fighting to get to the light and she goes through such an amazing, rich journey. 

Is Johnny Depp Hollywood’s Sexiest Vampire?

The latest Tim Burton-Johnny Depp collaboration, Dark Shadows, won’t open until May 11, but today a featurette on the film hit the web, showing off some never-before-seen footage and giving us a glimpse into Collinwood, the mansion Depp’s movie family, and the characters played by a supporting cast that includes Michelle Pfeiffer, Chloe Moretz, Eva Green, and Jonny Lee Miller.

But despite the excitement another Burton-Depp collaboration — the pair’s eighth — brings, this isn’t the first time we’ve all been to the sexy vampire rodeo. Take a walk down memory lane with us, will you?

There’s, of course, Alexander Skarsgard’s Eric Northman on HBO’s True Blood, perhaps the hottest bloodsucker—sorry, Vampire Bill—to ever cower from the sun.

And naturally, we have Robert Pattinson’s Edward Cullen in the Twilight films, if you’re into that sort of thing. If not, he has enough brothers, sisters and fake vampire parents that one of them has got to get your blood boiling.

Whether it’s Tom Cruise or Brad Pitt who’s your favorite, it was impossible to walk out of Interview with the Vampire without hoping to end up with one of these fangers clamped onto your neck.

Wesley Snipes’ titular character in Blade might have only been half vampire, but he was all hunk.

Like your vampires more New Wave? Keifer Sutherland and company, in 1987’s The Lost Boys offer eternal evil and Wayfarers. It’s a winning combo.

He might not be the megastar he once was, but Colin Farrell’s flesh-eating neighbor from the recent Fright Night reboot can come over and borrow a cup of sugar from us any time.

Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, More in New Clips from ‘Dark Shadows’

Johnny Depp has been all over the movie news world for the past couple of weeks now, and his two upcoming, much-hyped starring roles in Dark Shadows and The Lone Ranger have a bit in common. They’re both film reboots of popular television programs the Baby Boomers watched as kids. They both involve Depp wearing dramatic makeup.

Instead of the gothic vampire soap opera of the 1960s, the 2012 Dark Shadows, which sports the usual triumvirate of Depp, director Tim Burton and fellow Burton muse Helena Bonham Carter, seems like a ghoulish comic romp served with a side of ’70s cheese. Depp assumes the iconic role of Barnabas Collins, the heartthrob-without-a-beating-heart who the late Jonathan Frid made popular in the original show; Bonham Carter plays Dr. Julia Hoffman, the Collins family’s live-in therapist called upon to deal with the family’s long-lost undead relative. Michelle Pfeiffer stars as Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, with Jonny Lee Miller (Dexter) playing Elizabeth’s brother and Chloe Moretz (Hugo) playing her daughter.

Nine new clips from the upcoming Dark Shadows were released this week, including We’re introduced to Elizabeth and Julia, who have a Bechdel test-defying discussion over whatever they shall do with Barnabas, as well as the Collins children, most notably Carolyn (Moretz), who advises Barnabas to book Alice Cooper for a "happening" at the house. There’s also a really creepy scene in which Barnabas asks Carolyn about why she’s 15 and doesn’t have a husband yet, but we digress.

Dark Shadows hits theaters May 11th, but you can check out some of the new clips after the jump.

Eva Green on ‘Perfect Sense,’ Loves Scenes with Ewan McGregor & ‘Dark Shadows’

Eva Green is best known to audiences as the mysterious femme fatale Vesper Lynd in the James Bond-reviving Casino Royale (although some hot-blooded males might best recall her revealing star turn in Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Dreamers). Since then she’s appeared mostly in small, thoughtful, and British films, and her latest, Perfect Sense, continues the trend. A small-scale doomsday romance, the film follows Green’s scientist , who falls in love with a chef (played by Ewan McGregor) as a mysterious epidemic begins to rob people of their five senses. We recently spoke to Green about what attracted to her this role, and her return to big-budget filmmaking opposite Johnny Depp in Tim Burton’s upcoming black comedy, Dark Shadows

What attracted you to Perfect Sense?
I thought it was kind of a brave, unusual story, thought-provoking but mainly a love story with the background of a catastrophe. I thought it was quite charming. I knew the director, David Mackenzie, and also the fact that Ewan McGregor was onboard was very appealing.

Did you know Ewan beforehand?
No, I knew his work but I hadn’t met him.

You share some very intense scenes with him. What was that like?
The good thing was that we had a week of rehearsal before shooting which was a luxury because it’s quite rare to rehearse on a movie so I got to know him and we were less shy towards one another. It just helped us to find the intimacy. Ewan’s also a very generous guy, very courageous, there’s something very pure about him and he’s not afraid to show his emotions.

Do you ever get used shooting such emotional love scenes on camera?
I don’t think so. I could get used to that, but it’s very unpleasant. You feel like a moron, all these people are around you, and you wish you were at least on drugs or alcohol. And yeah, you don’t feel very sexy. But it’s great when you have a partner who is in the same situation and humble and a gentlemen.

After you made The Golden Compass, you took a break from  big budget films. Was that a conscious decision?
No, I always do things from the heart and it can be a big film or an independent movie, something that has a soul. I need to fall in love with the material, it’s not a matter or money. As an actor, I just choose what’s around and what has quality. In an ideal world of course if you can it’s good to do a big budget movie because it makes you kind of bankable or whatever that means, and then you can do something smaller.

When you make a movie like Perfect Sense, is it something  you do to fulfill yourself as an actress? Or do you make it for  audiences, and in the hope they’ll find it?
I mean, both. You always hope that some people are going to see your movie. It’s true, independent movies are more difficult to reach a lot of people, but I think Perfect Sense is rather commercial, weirdly. But you never know, it’s a crazy business.

What is the rapport like between Johnny Depp and Tim Burton on set?
Like a married couple.

Is that what it seemed like?
Like best friends or brothers. Yeah, they are artists, very humble people and Tim is a sensitive guy, it’s always been my dream to work with him and it was treat, it was amazing.

What kind of tone can we expect from Dark Shadows? Is it dark, as its name indicates? .
It’s very funny, lots of black humor. Of course, it’s also very poetic, and the relationship between the characters is very complex. My character has an electric relationship with Barnabas Collins played by Johnny, and it’s kind of extreme. My character’s a wacko, it’s great. You don’t get that opportunity very often.

Is there any truth that you’re being pursued for the 300 sequel?
I don’t know, it’s a great character, so we’re trying to make her as complex as possible.

So you’ve been approached?
Yes, I’ve been approached.

‘300’ Prequel Snags Eva Green

For a certain type of aggro moviegoer, Zak Snyder’s 300 was the cinematic high point of the last 25 years, loaded with muscles and stabbing and sex and slo-mo. The beige-heavy blockbuster made gobs of money, but considering how basically everyone died at the end (spoilers!), it seemed like there’d be unlikely territory for a sequel. 

But rather than advance the story, why not go backwards? That’s the line of thinking for the 300 follow-up, which will reportedly be a prequel showing the steps leading up to the Battle of Thermopylae. The Hollywood Reporter reports that Eva Green is in negotiations to take over the lead role for the film, tetnatively titled 300: Battle of Artemisia. She’d be the titular Artemisia, "a ruthless, gold-covered goddess who persuades Xerxes to amass his army and helps lead them into battle."

As he’s busy helming the new Superman film, Zak Snyder will only produce. They’re looking to start shooting in the first quarter of 2012, so Green’s got to decide how much further she wants to go down the rabbit hole of nerd desire. Playing Bond’s girlfriend, a witch, and a CGI colorized goddess? Oh my, oh my. 

The World Goes to Pieces in ‘Perfect Sense’

How fast would you fall in love if the world was about to end? You’d either hole up in your house, stocking food and water and massaging your shotgun, or you’d be out there in the world trying to do it as much as possible. That’s how the trailer for Perfect Sense figures, sort of. It starts off like a typical romantic drama, with attractive boy (Ewan McGregor) meeting attractive girl (Eva Green) and flirting a bunch. Can you believe that two perfectly telegenic people could fall for each other? I know, me neither.

But thirty seconds in, it takes a turn. All of a sudden, people are losing their senses — not figuratively, their actual senses, taste and sight and touch and the others. Then it takes this weird Blindess-meets-Children of Men tone, with lots of people shouting and crying, riot police in the street, city blocks turned into war zones. It’s just like Black Friday! All the while, McGregor and Green continue canoodling, because what else is there to do? 

These movies about society crumbling to bits following some global catastrophe are getting to be too much. How is anyone suppose to deal with their standard neuroses when there are so many fictional ones to pile on top? Viral pandemics, sensory loss, mass sterilization, zombie-fication. Everything seems like the worst. But yeah, this one looks pretty alright. It came out earlier this year at Sundance, but it’ll get a nationwide release on February 10, 2012.

Eva Green on ‘Cracks,’ Nudity, & the New Tim Burton Film ‘Dark Shadows’

If you think Cameron Diaz is the only actress playing a bad teacher these days, go check out new release Cracks. In it, you’ll find French actress Eva Green as Miss G, a glamorous swimming instructor at an elite 1930s all-girls boarding school who hypnotizes her students with exotic tales of far-off places. The thing is, Miss G has spent her entire life on campus, her stories merely semi-delusional constructions that win over her students’ devotion. But when a beautiful new student arrives, a girl who possesses the very qualities Miss G mimics, teacher becomes obsessed with student, and everything spirals rapidly towards a tragic finale.

Eva Green is no stranger to dark, ambiguous roles. In Casino Royale, she played a Bond girl with a secret, who left Daniel Craig weeping in the shower like a lost boy. And in her first role, in Bernardo Bertolucci The Dreamers, Green played a young Parisian who may or may not be sleeping with her formerly conjoined twin brother. The 30-year-old actress is drawn to these complex roles, and it was the chance to explore such a character in even greater depth that led her to a lead role in the Starz network’s upcoming King Arthur retelling, Camelot. Up next, she’ll star as a witch opposite Johnny Depp in Tim Burton’s horror comedy, Dark Shadows. Here she is on her twisted new character, the disturbing reaction to her onscreen nudity, and why she had to back out of Lars von Trier’s Antichrist.

Is this the darkest role you’ve played yet? Yet, yeah. But there’s more to come!

Did you enjoy playing such a complex character? She’s such a rich character, and you don’t get that very often. You get a girlfriend role, or that meaty, old-fashioned thing, but they don’t make films like his anymore. You have so many things: She’s so cool, eccentric, strong, and very fragile. I like risks. I like intensity. For me, it’s quite difficult to play a normal girl, I would not be very good. It’s not that it’s boring, I just like when it’s kind of weird or a bit extreme.

She reminds me of an old Hollywood starlet, like Marlene Dietrich. I think because she’s all an illusion in a way. She doesn’t know who she is, so she’s created this character, and I’m certain that she’s watched all the movies and she’s like, Oh, I really like the look, or the way she stands and speaks. I think she got really inspired by her, by Bette Davis, and then I think you see the real her when she starts to fall apart. The veneer, the masks come off.

Is Miss G is living in a sort of dream world? She’s a sort of fantasist. She lives in a bubble – in a dream. She exists when she tell stories to the girls. Without the girls she would die.

Do you think she ever had the love of a man before? Oh no, she never got out of the school. She feels very safe because she understands the school; their rules. And when she goes outside she feels very lost. She’s extremely, extremely fragile.

And how would you describe the love she has for Fiamma? It’s obsessive love. I don’t know if you call that “love,” as it’s rather unhealthy. She wants to possess her, she wants to be her. She’s everything she would have liked to have been – she’s traveled, she’s exotic. It’s the first time I think she’s falling in love in her own way. It’s very disturbing for her.

Is there a sexual element to it too? I don’t see it as a sexual thing, weirdly. Probably, of course, there is an attraction but it’s more she wants to be her. If you read the book, it’s really hard, there are a lot of details and she kind of rapes her. It’s mysterious, she does sensual things to her, but it’s better to remain enigmatic. It’s more sexy, in a way.

What was it like working with a female director for the first time? She [Jordan Scott] is very feminine, very sensitive, and it’s great because there was a real collaboration. We were like partners, and we sent emails to one another and really shared ideas. Sometimes you have a director and you’re the actor, you’re the puppet, and you’re not allowed to utter a word. Here, she really trusted me and gave me a lot of freedom, and she’s so passionate about the project. It was a gift.

I know you were going to do Lars von Trier’s Antichrist at one point, which is another very dark role, but your agents didn’t think it was the best role for you at the time. What happened? No, it’s a complicated story and I can’t get too much into details, but I adore Lars von Trier. He’s always been one of my favorite directors. But we didn’t agree on a couple of things and that’s it, that’s life in this business.

You’ve completed the first season of a television show. What attracted you to that? Was it the idea of being able to explore a character over a long period of time? Yes, it’s the first time I’m doing something like this, and it’s great to have a collaboration with the show runner and go, Oh my god, she’s a bit evil in that episode, can we make her a bit nicer? And have time to explore such an amazing character. It’s such a big character. She’s like a mixture of Joan of Arc and Lady MacBeth. It’s very cool, and very good, I hope.

Were you ever worried that by going to television, you would somehow lose your mantle as ‘film actress’? No. Television is becoming something different, it’s kind of the future. People are a bit lazy and go less to the movies, and they download movies or buy DVDs, and it’s a new medium. You have to adapt. The legend of Arthur is so fascinating – it’s not something little.

And what about going to a network like Starz? The network’s not as well-known for serious drama as compared to HBO or Showtime. It’s very different. Chris Albrecht is on board, and he used to run HBO – he came after Spartacus. So it’s a new image, and I don’t think Camelot is Spartacus. And you never know, people might not like it – we don’t know, it’s a gamble.

Your first film role was notorious for its nudity. Afterwards, did you reject a ton of offers to take your clothes off? Yeah, I had some offers. But if it’s relevant and it makes sense in the story. But, I was very disturbed when The Dreamers came out because of course I take off my clothes, but I think there’s more to it. It’s a real story, it’s not porn. But people make such a big deal out of it. But I love this movie.

It’s a great film. But what disturbed you exactly? They ask a lot about nudity.

Like I just did. I mean, it’s a love story, it’s something else. Now when I have to do a nude scene, I always think twice about it, I’m very self-conscious.

Tell me about Dark Shadows, the Tim Burton film you’re shooting. Has that started yet? No, in a month.

What can you tell me about that? I’m not allowed to say too much about it. It’s extremely well written, very, very funny, in a Tim Burton way. It’s very focused on the actors, and the characters are really rich. My character is a full-on witch and she’s completely obsessed with Johnny Depp’s character, and she’ll do anything to get him.

Is it going to be a film children can see? I don’t know, it’s the weirdest thing I’ve ever read. There will be blood, so I don’t know. It’s always dark and poetic with Tim Burton. It’s a mixture of Sweeney Todd and Beetlejuice—back to his old roots.

Director Jordan Scott on ‘Cracks’ & Growing Up in One of Cinema’s Greatest Families

The Scott family has been making movies for over forty years. There’s Ridley, the masterful director who established the family business, making a cinematic mark on each of the past four decades with modern-classic films like Alien, Bladerunner, and Thelma & Louise. His brother Tony rose up in the 80s, and is now best best for glossy, big-budget studio box office hits like Top Gun, True Romance, and Enemy of the State. Jake Scott, Ridley’s son, directed underrated feature films Welcome to the Rileys and Plunkett & Macleane as well as a slew of music videos, and his brother Luke Scott directs high-end commercials out of London. And now their little sister, Jordan—the sheltered girl from Ridley’s second marriage—has joined the family business.

Her first feature film is Cracks, a methodical and dark tale of adolescent girls at a boarding school in Ireland and their free-spirited teacher, played by the transformative and eerily beautiful Eva Green. While there are remarkable, dramatic scenes in Cracks—as well as scenes that remind you it’s her freshman effort—Jordan Scott is more than equipped to carry on her family legacy. The 32-year-old took a few minutes to reminisce on growing up in England, her circuitous route to becoming a director, and where she’s headed next.

What were some of your favorite films growing up? Growing up I strangely loved Some Like It Hot. I watched it every single weekend as a kid, and Tootsie. I liked a lot of comedy. I’m sure I wasn’t allowed to watch anything that was too risqué for a kid.

Were you a student at a boarding school like the one in Cracks? I didn’t go to boarding school, but I went to our local all-girls school. It’s a very different dynamic when it’s just same sex. I think everyone just wants to kill each other. Girls can be quite mean, quite cruel, and I think that’s something I drew on for Cracks.

What is it about the Scott family that draws you all to film? I can only speak for myself and my brothers, really. We all took a very, very similar path as we were all art students, and painting and drawing were the subjects we were all best at. I think the film business is contagious as it’s such a wonderful way to express just about everything you have observed and learned throughout your life. It got to a point where all we really conversed about around the dinner table was painting and film.

You’ve mentioned your experience on the Legends set. Any other memorable experiences on your father or uncle’s film sets? I wasn’t allowed onto sets much at all, as it was a bit confusing for me as a kid. But for Legends it was this fairy-tale, larger-than-life environment, which I think my parents believed was alright for a child to experience. It was years before I visited another set, which was a bit disappointing actually. I didn’t visit the next set until I was 14, the set of 1492.

Why didn’t your parents let you on set? Well, I think my parents had the right idea. They believed that once you get a little taste of that world, the world created by a living, breathing set — and recognizing that you created your own world — that once you get a little bit of that in you, you’re totally cursed [laughs]. So I think they probably did the right thing by keeping me away for as long as possible. I’m glad I was held in reality for so long. Did your brothers ever include you in any of their short films or video projects when you were kids? Oh god no! They never included me in their short films. I was a lot younger then them anyway. Each one of us found directing in our own way. I was first a painter, mainly when I was torturing my parents and going through my gloomy teenage rebellion phase. I truly tortured them, enough to where I know it’s really going to come back to me when I have kids. I painted like crazy when I was a teenager. I learned that from my father, though I don’t do it as much as I should now. He paints every weekend. It’s amazing really. Very good for the head.

How did you “find directing?” Well, I moved out here [Los Angeles] to go to art school because I still wasn’t convinced I wanted to be a director. Though I was obviously curious, as I was involved in both the film and art programs at Art Center of Pasadena. Soon I was just drawn into film, away from art and design, and I left school entirely. I just wanted to go to work. I think I’d been dying to leave school since I was 15 anyway.

What’s your next directing project? Hopefully my next project is Peony In Love, based on the Chinese love story that turns into a ghost story.

So you’re mixing genres again, much like Cracks changes in tone as it moves towards its climax. I’m into genre blending, yes. I always prefer stories that unfold naturally. I believe they feel more lifelike in that way, even if it goes somewhere completely bonkers halfway through. I like to be drawn into a tale slowly and not hit over the head in the beginning. It’s just a preference and might not be the right thing to do, but I like to allow things to unravel.

That sounds like some advice your father gave to you. Does he ever ask for your advice on anything? Certainly never on directing. I think he once asked me about somebody’s hair, if I liked it. My dad and I talk about everything else, though. We check in once a day. I wag my finger at him sometimes for certain things, but he’s not looking for my advice. Not at this stage, at least.

In the New ‘Camelot’ Trailer, Starz Lives Up to Its Name

Recently, the unfortunately named Starz network has been making a push to join the likes of HBO, Showtime, and AMC in the league of prestigious cable networks. While their half-hour comedy Party Down sunk in the ratings, it remained a cult and critical success, and provided actors like Jane Lynch and Adam Scott with significant career boosts. Spartacus has also been well-received, but hasn’t quite captured the zeitgeist as shows like Mad Men and Boardwalk Empire have. Today, we got our first extended look at Starz’s latest bid for cable legitimacy in the form of Camelot, an hour-long drama about King Arthur’s court that features a cast surprisingly stacked with, well, starz.

It feels like exactly four years ago (maybe because it was) that Eva Green turned Daniel Craig’s steely James Bond into a cry baby in Casino Royale. Now here she is as Arthur’s ambitious half-sister Morgan. As for Arthur, he’s being played by Jamie Campbell Bower, who made his film debut in Sweeney Todd, and recently appeared in New Moon and the final Harry Potter movies. Rounding out this group of reformed movie actors is Joseph Fiennes as Merlin and Claire Forlani as Queen Igraine. Camelot premieres in April. See what it’s all about above.