Bournemouth film makers to give evidence in Eva Green court case

Actress Eva Green <i>(Image: PA)</i>
Actress Eva Green (Image: PA)

TWO Bournemouth film makers are expected to be witnesses in a court case which will hear how Bond star Eva Green described crew members as “peasants” and an executive producer a “moron”.

Adam Merrifield and Dan Pringle were ousted in January 2020 from the company that was making the futuristic thriller A Patriot.

White Lantern (Britannica) Limited was taken over by the film’s funders, who are now involved in a High Court action with the star of the abandoned film.

The film was also due to have starred Charles Dance and Oscar winner Helen Hunt and was to have been a big step up for producer Mr Merrifield and writer-director Mr Pringle. They had made the 2016 satirical horror film K-Shop in Bournemouth on a budget of £147,000.

Production of A Patriot was shut down in October 2019 after relations worsened between the star and the film’s executive producers and funders.

Ms Green is suing for her fee of one million US dollars (£830,000), arguing she was owed the money under a “pay or play” contract even if the film was not made.

White Lantern (Britannica) has filed a counter-claim arguing that the star left the production after her “unreasonable demands” were not met.

In WhatsApp messages revealed before the trial, she referred to executive producer Terry Bird as a “moron”, saying she wanted her own team around her but she would be obliged to have “peasants crew members from Hampshire” instead.

Dan Pringle, who remained attached to the project as writer-director, is said to have received WhatsApp messages in which the star said “we want to get rid” of executive producers Mr Bird and Jake Seal.

White Lantern (Britannica) had been set up to make the film as a separate company from Bournemouth-based White Lantern Film Advance Limited before control was taken out of Mr Merrifield’s and Mr Pringle’s hands. They remain directors of White Lantern Film Advance Limited.

Adam Merrifield said in a statement: “Local film makers Adam Merrifield and Dan Pringle are former directors of White Lantern Film (Britannica) and key witnesses in the ongoing case but no longer directly involved in the action.

“Since this production, the company has come out of the pandemic very well and we’re making family romantic comedies for a Canadian studio. We shot one in September, will shoot the next one in March and have others coming up later in the year. We’re very active locally and keen to put some distance between us and the case.”

At the start of the eight-day trial on Thursday, Ms Green's barrister Edmund Cullen KC told the court the star wanted to get the film made but “the financial plan was never going to work”.

READ MORE: Film producer Adam Merrifield goes from kebab shop horror to futuristic Brexit thriller

He added: “This was, for her, a passion project. The theme of the film concerns an issue of great concern to her, namely the climate catastrophe.

“She loved the script and wanted the film to be made, she bent over backwards to get this done.”

In their written defence to the claim, lawyers for the production company said Ms Green had expressed “a lack of confidence and dissatisfaction” with some of the production crew.

Max Mallin KC, for the company, claimed she was “increasingly reluctant to be involved in the production”, in breach of contract.