(Please note strong language in paragraphs 9 and 11)
LONDON (Reuters) - Hollywood actress Eva Green, who is suing financiers for her fee for a failed film in which she was to star, told a London court on Monday she would not make a career-ending "B movie" that she said was cutting corners in stunt safety and crew pay.
The French actress, whose film credits include the James Bond movie "Casino Royale", is suing White Lantern Films and SMC Speciality Finance for the $1 million fee she says is owed over the collapse of the planned independent movie "A Patriot", in which she was to play the lead role as a soldier.
The production company has launched a counter claim against Green for breach of contract, blaming her for the science fiction film's failure before it went into production in late 2019, saying she never intended for it to go ahead.
Giving evidence at the High Court in London, Green, 42, said she had become concerned the film's production team had been cutting corners, citing how her stunt training had been reduced from four weeks to five days.
This was "extremely dangerous for action films" she said, and referenced the fatal 2021 shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins for which actor Alec Baldwin is facing a charge of involuntary manslaughter.
"You look at what happened with Alec Baldwin on the movie 'Rust', the producers cutting corners, no safety measures and a young woman got killed," she told the court.
Baldwin has denied responsibility for the shooting, saying live ammunition should never have been allowed on set and weapons handlers were responsible for firearm safety.
In its written submissions, White Lantern's lawyers said Green, also an executive producer in the project, had made unreasonable demands about crew, locations and equipment.
They cited WhatsApp messages from Green in which she described one producer as a "f****** moron" who should be fired and another as "evil". She also described funders for the movie as "arseholes" and some proposed crew members as "shitty peasants".
"I wanted to make the most brilliant film possible," Green told the court, agreeing with White Lantern's lawyer Max Mallin that making a "B movie" could kill her career.
Asked by Mallin if the director had approached her to make a "B shitty movie" - a reference to a text message she had sent about the film - for $1 million, she said she would not.
Green, whose lawyers say has never breached a contract or missed a day's shooting in her 20 year career, said she could have ensured a quality film by getting a strong core crew but the producers had not wanted to pay standard industry rates.
"I didn’t want to work with a substandard crew. I wanted to work with a high-quality crew who just wanted to be paid standard industry rates," Green told the court.
Green said the script for "A Patriot" had been one of the best she had read and she had fallen in love with the story: "It was about climate change, it was very dear to my heart."
The trial, which will conclude next week, will determine liability with any award settled at a later date.
(Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Christina Fincher and Alison Williams)