Eva Green in Casino Royale

When filming began on 'Casino Royale' this past January with the crucial part of Vesper Lynd still not cast, the rumor mill went crazy. First, Charlize Theron was believed to have been chosen for the role. Then Thandie Newton. Then Rachel McAdams. Heck, even Angelina Jolie's name was dropped with something approaching seriousness.

At last, producers named French actress Eva Green as their choice for Vesper Lynd -- a selection that
struck some by surprise, since the relatively inexperienced Green was known primarily for baring more than just her soul in Bernardo Bertolucci's'The Dreamers.' But if Green, whom Bertolucci deemed "so beautiful it's indecent," is no ordinary Bond girl, then neither is Lynd herself, an enigmatic beauty who's sent to assist Bond and winds up breaking his heart. Green phoned us from her London home to talk about working with Daniel Craig, jumping in high heels (or letting your stunt double do it) and unlocking the mystery of the Bond girl who isn't really a Bond girl.

There was such intense speculation during the casting process for Vesper Lynd. What was that process like for you?
It was very last minute, because they approached me a year and a half ago, and they'd just given me the sides, and it was like oh, I'm not really keen on doing it, because I didn't want to do a Bond girl role. And they really, really insisted, and they sent me the script, and I was surprised -- it was quite deep, and it was based on the characters rather than the action. I mean,there's still a lot of action, but it was quite unusual for Bond. So I just flew the next day to Prague and auditioned straight away, and then I got the part. It was very, very quick.

And what was your reaction when you got the news?
I was very excited -- relieved. You know, at the same time, I was like, oh my God, I have to go to the Bahamas tomorrow, just jump on the plane. But it was great. I had my glass of red wine.

Did you read the book? How similar was it to the script?
Yeah, I read the book. The mood is the same, but I would say [the film's] quite loosely based on the book. It's not happening during the same time. The character of Vesper is very enigmatic in both, but I would say she's more neurotic in the book. The sense of guilt is more obvious.

I had heard that Vesper Lynd is Bond's first and perhaps only true love. What is it about her makes it so hard for Bond to get over her through the years?
In the book, we're going backwards. He fell in love once, she broke his heart, and from then on he just lost his trust in women. I can't explain why, exactly, but he's just completely broken and he becomes emotionally detached after that.

What was the most challenging thing about being a Bond girl?
Just her, just the subtext, because it's a very tricky character; you never understand her motivations really. You will understand her in the second Bond, maybe -- why she did that and that. It was quite good to have [longtime Bond producer] Barbara Broccoli on the set because she was kind of like a director in a way, she's very passionate. But oh, yeah, it was the subtext. I'm not going to say, oh my God, the most challenging thing was the action.

Did you do any of your own stunts?
I don't have a lot of stunts, but I have a stunt double in the staircase, because it's quite tricky to jump in high heels ... [You might] break a leg.

Despite your initial trepidation, what ended up being your favorite thing about being a Bond girl?
I would say there were many things. It was a great experience, because when we think about Bond we think about the Bond family, and it really exists. They're very maternal, and it was always very easy to go on-set -- no pressure, we had a lot of fun traveling [to] those amazing places like Italy, Prague; it was just fantastic, and it's a great part, too. So it was a great pleasure.

Are there any actors or directors you'd like to work with after this?
I really like Michel Gondry, actually. Otherwise I like the Danish director Susanne Bier, Lars von Trier ... I would like to do something more independent, rather than an enormous machine.

So you see yourself having more of an international career than selling your soul to Hollywood?
Yeah, sure, anywhere -- China, on the moon, you know.

You've been in an arty drama film with Bertolucci, a historical epic, an action film -- what sorts of roles are you drawn to?
I like complex roles. I don't like to call Vesper a Bond girl, because it's sometimes a bit narrow-minded. It sounds like, "ooh, strong woman, action woman in a bikini." But yeah, just you know, complex, funny, it can be dark -- but the most important thing, I think, is the director at the end of the day.

How was it working with Daniel Craig?
He's a very unusual actor, not an obvious choice for the studios, I would say. He's a man. And very broken, rugged, very strong and also quite sensitive, so he has all the good qualities. He's more human than the other Bonds.

Well, I know you have to run -- thank you so much for calling, and good luck with the film.
Thank you. Take care.

WATCH IT: See the electrifying trailer

BOND CENTRAL: Online games, videos, photos and more

GET TO KNOW BOND: See Daniel Craig and Martin Campbell Unscripted

Tags:Casino Royale, James Bond, Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Bond girl, movies

categories Features, Cinematical