A rare example of an actress beginning her career well into adulthood, Eva Green's first feature-film role was the female lead in Bernardo Bertolucci's 2003 erotic drama The Dreamers, when she was 22. Green made quite an impression with her debut performance, working with a legendary director and appearing in so many nude and/or sexually explicit scenes that the film originally received an NC-17 rating. The young actress was praised for her tremendous presence onscreen, and the delicateness with which she portrayed both fierceness and vulnerability. Audiences, perhaps inescapably, also noted her exquisite beauty, as well as the ease with which she brought her own sensuality to the sexually charged film, never compromising her character in the process.
Achieving such exposure (so to speak) at the very beginning of her film career, Green was in no hurry to become a superstar. For her next role, she starred alongside Kristin Scott Thomas in the French adventure Arsene Lupin, a modest, low-profile project. Her next film, however, Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven, was anticipated to be the big-budget blockbuster of its season. While Green's performance as Sybilla of Jerusalem was respectable, the film was panned by critics and audiences alike.