Nocebo Star Eva Green Will Watch Her Movies When She's 100 [Exclusive Interview]

"Nocebo" is an equally psychological and physical horror movie. It's mind and body horror, both surreal and all too realistic. Director Lorcan Finnegan's film takes a horrific part of the world, which is best not to spoil, and turns it into a suitably nightmarish setting featuring stars Eva Green and Chai Fonacier. 

The home is another cage in Finnegan's new film. "Lorcan explored that a bit in "Vivarium,'" Green told us in a recent interview, referencing Finnegan's 2019 sci-fi mystery. "It was something like being the perfect house, but it's too perfect and you choke. There's something when everything is too perfect, it's not right."

Green is an actor who works with true independent spirits. The "Penny Dreadful" star has made some box office hits, like "Casino Royale," but she's also made several out-of-the-box films, such as "Franklyn," "Perfect Sense," and "The Salvation." With "Nocebo," Green stars in another film that plays by its own rules. During our interview, the actress told us why she won't watch the film or her other past works until, maybe, she's 100 years old.

'Oh, God, am I going too far?'

Jack Nicholson in "The Shining" is one of your favorite performances. Here, you're playing someone stuck in a house battling their inner demons. Were you inspired by Nicholson at all here? There's a delivery or two that made me wonder.

No, no, but it's a compliment. Yeah, madness. That's for sure, that's in common. I'm such a big fan. I watched [that] movie so many times because I was horrified when I first watched it. Then I was so fascinated that I watched again and again for his acting, I guess. I thought he was so magnetic and very funny and his kookiness. Yeah, it's quite weird.

Didn't you say that performance wanted to make you an actor?

Oh, God, it was probably subconscious. I was in awe of him. I don't know if there was a specific moment with, "Oh, I want to be an actor." But for me, he enjoys himself so much. There's something — he's having fun and his jubilation is contagious, I find. But yeah, maybe, probably it gave me the desire to do this crazy job, maybe.

It seems like you enjoy yourself even when it's darker material. Like, you're not an actor who can't shake a role.

You mean some actors are into it and they can't get rid of the role because it's so dark?

Yeah. For you, it's fun.

It's fun. Yeah, exactly. Of course, the director does it all, but Lorcan is very, very funny, and has a very dry Irish sense of humor. At the end of the day, it's terrible when actors take themselves seriously. Like, "Oh, come on." It's fun to be able to do extreme things and because it was so — to control everything in life, it's a good platform to vomit and go [roars]. It's fun.

Did you have a lot of conversations with Lorcan about the more surreal imagery? Do you need to know exactly what he wants to say with it to play it?

First of all, he's a very visual director, so he sent me lots of images that were very inspiring and several documentaries on Lyme disease that were actually quite concrete. Because that's the thing about the movie, is that we always wonder, "Oh, is it psychosomatic or is it real? Is it due to a tick bite?"

When I watch these documentaries on Lyme disease, all these people are struggling so much. Lots of them are misunderstood and they're not taken seriously. It's quite painful. It's very hard. It really depends on how you react to this illness. But some of the people were shaking and having serious fits, and that was concrete for me.

I was like, "Oh, that's interesting." It almost sometimes looked possessed. It was weird, like shaky, shaky. But then he also sent me some books on sleep paralysis. That was quite scary and interesting. Of course, when you do extreme things like this, you always worry about being ridiculous. You're like, "Oh, God, am I going too far?" But he's there. Lorcan will go, "Oh, God, no. A bit less." It's really nice to feel that he trusts you as well. You feel loved or whatever. "Loved" is a big word.


Yeah, exactly. He trusts you and it's important.

'It is so absurd, effing mad'

Are you a very referential actor? As you said, Lorcan suggested those images, but do you also look at films to prepare?

It was interesting, because Lorcan asked me to watch the movie "Safe" with Julianne Moore again. I think it's Todd Haynes. It was interesting because she's living in this very fancy L.A. home and it's the perfect housewife and all this and there's that pain. She feels trapped. I felt it could be something similar for Christine. But also, it was the atmosphere as well, as I said. I like "Single White Female," the Polanski movies like "Repulsion," or in the same vein as this oppressive thing, "The Servant," the Dirk Bogarde movie I love. That really was echoing the Dinah/Christine relationship.

It's also very William S. Burroughs for a bit with a giant tick on the bed. Was that a surreal day?

Oh, I was laughing so much. It was difficult not to keep a straight face with this thing. There were people in green suits and with an enormous tick. Then landing on Mark Strong's face, it was really difficult like, "What the f*** is this?" It's funny. It is so absurd, effing mad.

By this point, what's your relationship acting with more effects-driven scenes? You've done some big green-screen work in the past.

There were two men and they were holding a stick, and at the end, there was this enormous tick. So it was good because you didn't have to imagine. That's the most difficult thing, when they completely do a clean green screen and they go, "This is what's happening." Sometimes you feel a bit insecure because you're like, "I'm not sure. I can't see." So there, at least there was a real wonderful, beautiful tick. But yeah, green screen, I find sometimes you have to trust the director. "Here you go." God knows. It's not in your hands.

You and Chai have some intense scenes, but what's it actually like on the day shooting those scenes?

Oh, she's absolutely lovely. We were not like, "Oh, we have to be dark." We were joking between takes and also, it was my first movie since Covid. It was during a heavy lockdown in Ireland. We all were wearing masks and all this. I felt the privilege as an actor to be able to take off the mask and talk to another human like Chai and, "Oh, we're not wearing masks." It sounds quite weird, but we take everything for granted. I was like, "Oh, wonderful." She is just such a professional actor. Very, very instinctive. Super bright. She's a very old soul, very mature. She possesses a strength that I've never seen before, actually.

'How come you never watch your movies? Are you crazy?'

So making your first movie after quarantine, how else did you feel about acting?

I enjoyed it. I felt very blessed. I felt so lucky. Sometimes, because of quarantine or doing a movie, you were stressed. But here, it made me realize how lucky I was. Of course, I love Lorcan and his crew were amazing, so it helped tremendously. I just felt blessed.

You've worked with a lot of fiercely independent filmmakers like Lorcan. Typically, what draws you to working with a director?

On a big studio movie, I sometimes feel sorry for lots of directors because it's very hard for them to express themselves. The studio is very strong and it's very hard to express their own vision on a [big] movie. Lorcan, who has a very strong vision, is very inventive, very cool, he knows exactly what he wants. This is so wonderful, because he's the only one who decides. It's not 100 people and politics and all this. He is there and it's all him, like in the old days. But yeah, indie movies, they're getting more and more difficult to make, but when there's a subject that is appealing to you and I'm like, "Oh!" I jump at the opportunity.

You don't watch the movies when they come out, though, right?

Actually, I was talking to my mum just before the interview and she was like, "How come you never watch your movies? Are you crazy?" It's not like I disrespect the work. It's just that I'm having a really hard time looking at myself. I become very narcissistic, not in a good way. I'm like, "Oh, my God, this is terrible. I'm terrible." Or maybe it's good. I'm only seeing myself, rather than the movie. I prefer to have the experience and I talk about it and then ... I don't know. Maybe I'll watch all my movies when I'm 100 years old.

"Nocebo" is now playing in theaters and available on VOD.