Eva Green plays Arthur’s royal rival in `Camelot’

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“It’s the movie I’m the most proud of. It’s about obsession,” she says with a satisfied smile. “And I play such a cuckoo character.

“I like extreme, intense roles. There’s always something wrong with my characters.”

But her taste for edgy performances sometimes puts her at odds with the people around her, she says.

“They tell me, `Play a princess! You have to play a princess soon,’ by which they mean (she explains), `nice and smiling and `I love you.’”

Green’s aversion to nice-and-smiling-and-I-love-you on the screen is made all the more striking by her very nice in-person manner at a recent interview. She’s a gorgeous brunette with porcelain skin and enormous blue eyes which, as Morgan, she can flash dangerously. But in marked contrast to a character like Morgan, she is soft-spoken and demure, and repeatedly apologizing for it.

“I’ve always been very shy,” she explains. “I was always hiding as a child. I was happy when it was raining, so I could hide under an umbrella.”

Why?

“My parents,” she says dramatically, clearly kidding (indeed, her twin sister, Joy, has always been outgoing). Turning serious, she answers, “I don’t know. It’s very strange. I was terrible in school. Really, really bad. I can still be that way in auditions _ such a nerd, sweating!”

Given all that, acting wouldn’t seem her obvious career choice.

“I’ve always loved movies, but I didn’t want to say, `I want to be an actress,’” she recalls. “So I said I want to be a director, and I went to a drama workshop in England, saying I want to know how to direct actors. It was all a lie, I think. Then I told myself that I really want to act, so I did three years in France in drama school.”

“I got better,” she says, meaning: less shy. “Maybe acting helped me a lot to express myself, to feel fully alive, like I was somebody else. You learn more about yourself when you go through other characters.”

She confides to being plagued in her youth by a lack of confidence. Does she feel secure now, in adulthood as a prospering actress?

“Oh, God! No!” she blanches. “In this business, you have to be strong and have your armor on. And then go on set and be open and give everything that you’ve got. It’s hard.”

“I need to prove,” Green says. “I need to prove all the time.”

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