Actor Eva Green has won a long-brewing lawsuit this weekend, related to a science fiction film she was once on the hook to star in called A Patriot. Green has been suing the film’s production company, White Lantern Film, for a few years now, seeking a $1.04 million “pay or play” fee she stated that she was owed on the movie, which began to fall apart in 2019. White Lantern, in turn, counter-sued, accusing Green of deliberately sabotaging the production of the film.
Per Variety, the basic issues on A Patriot came down to this: Shortly after Green signed on to the film—apparently a futuristic thriller about the effects of climate change—the movie’s funding mostly collapsed. Among other things, that meant the movie’s budget (already low at $10 million) was cut, leading Green to worry, in private correspondence, that she was stuck in a “B shitty movie.” The whole thing eventually devolved into a sort of legal stand-off, with no actual filming in danger of taking place; if Green walked, she’d waive her fee, and if the studio and its financiers admitted the movie was D.O.A., they’d have to pay it.
The topic of Green’s private conversations became a major aspect of the court case, as the defendants dredged through her WhatsApp history to find instances of her talking pretty extensive shit about producer Jeff Seal and his crew at Black Hangar Studios, who were brought in to handle this much cheaper version of A Patriot. These excerpts were, undeniably, embarrassing—at one point, a testifying Green pointed to her “Frenchness” as a reason for some of the nastier invective—but what they didn’t show, according to the judge in the case, was that she’d done anything to A Patriot except demand producers spend the money to make a good version of it. Justice Michael Green, in rendering his verdict in the U.K. trial, noted that, “This was not part of some unlawful conspiracy or deceit,” and that the actor “desperately wanted to make the film.” He said she was owed her pay or play fee, and dismissed the counter-suit against her.
In a statement about the case—available in full on Deadline—Green stated that, “In this legal action I was forced to stand up to a small group of men, funded by deep financial resources, who tried to use me as a scapegoat to cover up their own mistakes. I am proud that I stood up against their bully-boy tactics.” She also spoke harshly of certain members of the press, saying she “found myself misrepresented, quoted out of context and my desire to make the best possible film was made to look like female hysteria.” A statement from White Lantern and Sherborne Media Finance pushed back on these claims, saying, “The suggestion Eva Green has made today that this legal action was motivated by or represented gender-based bullying is completely unwarranted.”