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INT: Eva Mendes

Dec. 6, 2006by: JimmyO

Eva Mendes in an insanely beautiful woman and if you don’t know her, then where the hell have you been? She is a spokesmodel for Revlon and has appeared in HITCH, ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO and TRAINING DAY, amongst others. Not only is this the kind of lady you want to hang out with and possibly have a margarita or two while you party all night long; she was nice enough to show yours truly some love.

She gave respect to the ‘stache which I wear proudly and gave me the nickname ‘handlebar’ (see that HERE). Damn, if she isn’t one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen. She loves horror movies, Halloween (she dressed as a taco) and she dug spending the night in a graveyard. Seriously, she is perfect. And I don’t care what anyone says; I loved her in URBAN LEGENDS 2…she was great in that movie.

Eva Mendes

So is it a normal Thursday evening for you, hanging out at the cemetery?

No, I do this on Fridays and Saturday morning.

This is your latest genre flick. The last two you did were CHILDREN OF THE CORN V and URBAN LEGENDS 2. Are you trying to make amends?

Am I trying to make amends? No. Those were very early on in my career. Actually, CHILDREN OF THE CORN V was actually my first movie project, acting, anything. Aside from playing the Fairy Godmother in the fifth grade that was my first thing and it was just awful, awful, awful – Jesus. I actually think that it's time to see that movie again for like laughs, to be like, 'Look at how terrible that is.'

You should do commentary on DVD.

I should, that'd be awesome. But no, this is something that's great and I've been wanting to work with Nicolas [Cage] for a while. I do that. I kind of like look around and think about who I want to hit next as far as my wish list of actors, and Nicolas has been on that for a while. So when I heard that this project was with him I met with Mark [Steven Johnson]. I had obviously known Mark's work and then I was like, 'Okay, this is me.' Then Mark – I just fell in love with him. We totally get each other's sense of humor.

We actually met at this restaurant and we were very polite to each other like you when you first meet and you look at the menu, and the first thing on the menu said Peekytoe Crab, and just the fact that he got it when I went, 'What the hell is Peekytoe Crab?' He looked at me and we had a twenty minute laugh fest and I was like, 'I don't care what this turns out to be. I want to do it with you.' So we kind of had that from the start, and we had this agreement. I said, 'I'm dying to work with you now and Nic, but don't make me just the chick in the movie. Give her some obstacle, some struggle.' Obviously, I play a reporter as well and so I wasn't just some little girl, but Mark is amazing.

So she's not just a damsel in distress?

She kind of is, which there is something kind of sexy about but that's not all she is. There is something kind of sweet and innocent that we wanted to keep about that, but she wasn't a victim. It's kind of hard to see that in terms of how are you not a victim if you're a damsel in distress. So we kind of played with that a bit. You always feel like she's going to be okay without him, but that's the thing – she's going to be just okay without him. She's not going to great, just okay. She's going to be so much better with him. So it was kind of a little heart breaking little story.

Now you've done a couple of Comic-Con’s, right?

Yes, I have.

Have you discovered your inner geek?

I discovered that in the seventh grade. Are you kidding me? Totally; I love it when people are that passionate. I love seeing the people who dress their kids up. I think that it's really cool.

You also see the thirty year olds dressed up.

I know, I know! But when they look like a whole little family unit walking around as aliens, I think it's so cute. It's kind of like Halloween for grown-ups and Halloween is my favorite holiday. I go nuts for Halloween. So it's kind of a way for adults to express themselves like kids again.

So are we going to see you dress up next Comic-Con?

You know what, that'd be interesting. I think I will. I was a taco for Halloween. Talk about not having qualms about anything. I wore a taco suit that had lettuce going out that way. I was a taco going that way. My head came out of the shell.

The film has a strong Beauty and the Beast theme. How is it different from other films that portray that theme?

Yeah. It's just better [Laughing]. That's it. It's just better. No. How is it different? I think that because visually it's so strong and so captivating and it's such a pleasure for your eyes, and then to have that and then have a real romantic story going on – I think that's hard to find. I think that's one of the reasons that SPIDER-MAN did so well. We saw these out of control visuals and we'd never seen some of them before, and in this movie you haven't seen some of this stuff before, but then there was a really strong love story there too. That was cool because everything he did was for her and this movie is very much like that.

Is there real danger for her, not just with the bad guys, but with Johnny Blaze himself?

Absolutely, that's the thing. It's kind of like you sleep with the devil. You know the saying. I don't want to have to say it. It's just kind of like that, and I think that a lot of women, and men too, but I can't speak for you guys – we all have problems in our relationships. There are obstacles and this is kind of a major obstacle. Usually you have to just overcome them. This one is like, 'How do you overcome this?' It's a tough one.

Have you always been a fan of biker guys, and are you a biker chick?

No. I'm not a biker chick, but I'd love to play one [Laughs]. I like edge with my guys. So if it's a bike then great. I think it'd be fun to date one, but it wouldn't be fun to settle down with one because then I would be a worried wreck every night. 'Call me as soon as you get there.', because it's so dangerous. So the dating aspect of a biker guy is a fun idea.

So you like the bad boy?

No. I like good boys that are sometimes bad. I got that down. I know exactly what I like. I've always know. I really do at the end of the day like a sweet, good, strong man, but I do like a little edge, a little crooked there.

Mark says that he gave you a comic book of THE PRO and that it interested you?

Oh, yeah. Do you know about that?

That it would be animated? You wouldn't dress like that?

Well, the things that she does – you obviously haven't read it. Come on! There would go my Revlon contract for sure which I don't want to lose. It's just something that we've kind of been talking about and it would be really fun to do, to play something like that obviously just as the voice of someone like that.

What are your favorite comic books aside from GHOST RIDER?

GHOST RIDER! You know what, I really don't know. I would just say more comic book characters because I'm not that familiar with comic books. So I would say GHOST RIDER and I just love the idea of SPIDER-MAN, which is funny because I'm totally arachnophobia, but I think that it'd be cool if one of them bit me and then no one could ever touch me again, and I could be like, 'I rule the world!' Is that weird? Am I weird? So, yeah, I just like the themes, I love good versus evil. I obviously love good prevailing over evil. So this is really exciting to me.

Did you go back and look at the GHOST RIDER comics?

I did actually. I looked back and Roxanne Simpson is obviously very different from me. I was like, 'So, she's blonde and Caucasian, blue eyed, not me.' But I hope that the comic book fans don't reject that. I hope that they accept me for another version of Roxanne. So what I did realize what I could do was that – I swear this is so silly of me, but hopefully it works – I realized she was very, very voluptuous in all the comic books. She had massive boobage and hips, and I was like, 'Okay, why don't I not watch what I eat so much and let the fun stuff grow.' So I let the fun stuff grow because at least that way I could give them the voluptuous part. Hopefully they won't be disappointed [Laughing].

What about working with the FX, were there times when you working opposite nothing, a tennis ball or whatever?

Totally.

How was that to do?

You know what, at first you just feel like an idiot to be honest. You feel like a moron because there is nothing there. There is just nothing there, and you're like, 'Okay, what do I do.' That's where acting class comes in and I study religiously with my coach and that's where that comes into play. I have to go into myself even more so than before. Having Nicolas in front of me is fantastic and I get to work off of so much, but when you're there on your own you're like, 'Boy, I need to bring out some issues.'

You kind of bring out certain things that you're really scared of and that you're really dealing with. So you have to go really deep. It's cool, but it's difficult. I definitely like working with actors, but this is part of the job. What's really exciting is when you see it all together and you go, 'Oh my God… that is so great. It's so cool. It's a burning beast in front of me and I'm getting taken away.' So it all comes together.

Going back to the voluptuous thing, was it fun to relax and not worry about the Hollywood shape?

It was so awesome, dude. It's not like I let myself go. It wasn't like I was gaining weight for a role like I was stuffing my face or something. It was more just like, 'Yeah. I'll have that second serving. I'm tired. I'm not going to the gym today.'

Did you feel sexier?

I actually did believe it or not because my bajungas were big. That's the technical terms, but yeah, it was really nice. It was like, 'Wow, this is cool.' It helped me to get into character. Let’s say that. The Cuban side of me came out. It's the side of me that's dying to come out, it's like, 'Let me out! Come on, please.' I'm like, 'No! You stay in there you Cuban lady.'

How was Australia?

Oh, so dangerous because it was so much fun. Melbourne is such a fun city… such a fun city. The Australians are amazing people. I just got on with them so well. The whole no worries thing, I'm so into that whole philosophy. 'No worries, mate. Let’s have a beer.' It's a very cool thing to adopt.

Aside from your physical transformation you play a reporter in the movie…

I wouldn't call it a physical transformation. I love that though.

Did you model your character on any reporters? I hate when some actresses play reporters and they don't do it accurately because reporters are such a different breed of people.

Are they? I did a little bit, but we actually really see me in two scenes being a field reporter. The first scene we didn't see today, but it's when I first see Ghost Rider for the first time in twelve years or something. So that was kind of like everything going out the window because I kept trying to hold it together and keep professional. But the man you love is right in front of you and you're talking to him in an interview for the first time. I just went back to fifteen right away. So the years of journalism and the experience in field reporting didn't really pay off in that moment.

So you don't really see that too much. The only thing that I was really worried about was my voice because I'm very up and down and up and down. I can sometimes get whinny which I really hate. So I was careful when I did those couple of scenes to keep my voice very strong and not to go up and down. Honestly though there wasn't that much focus on that. So we were more concentrating on playing the human part of her because the second time we see her in that situation she's again – it's after he stands her up. So it's more emotional and I play more just this woman who is totally in love and frustrated. She's like, 'Goddamn it. Why has this happened to me again and why can't I be with the guy that I love?'

Would you come back for a sequel?

With these guys, absolutely...

What are you working on now and what do you have coming up?

I just finished my first movie that I produced. It's a very, very independent film called LIVE which I play a network executive hired to get the network back up. It's a television network and I basically – it's really cool because it's a commentary on like America and where we're going with reality TV and stuff like that. So I play this character where I'm so focused on getting the network back up and I find a way to put Russian roulette on the air. It sounds funny and hysterical, but the really funny part is that I don't think we're that far away from that.

My character finds this sort of loop hole in the legal system and finds a way to do it. It is very thought provoking and for me it was very important to do because I really feel like we are deep into the dumbing down of America, and I don't want to be a part of that, or I want to be a part of it as least as is possible. So I thought that this gave me some kind of voice. Then earlier this year I did a really dramatic piece with Joaquin Phoenix, Robert Duvall and Mark Wahlberg which is called WE OWN THE NIGHT, which is kind of my first real drama, leading role in a drama. It was an unbelievable and amazing experience. It was really intense and really cool.

Is producing something that you want to do more of?

Not so much, but it's more like, if it's the way that I can get a project made then great because there comes a point when you're a woman in the industry and then being an ethnic woman in the industry, you realize that you can sit around and complain because that's the easiest thing to do or you can get off your butt and actually make some things happen and not wait around for studios to come to you with things; so, in that sense, yes… but the actual act of producing, no.

Why is that?

You know what, there is too much to do for me. I just want to concentrate on my acting. I'm like, 'Tell those trucks what?' I just love my craft so much that I love going head first into it and into the whole experience and not have to worry about anything else.

So you're not a great organizer is what you're saying?

I didn't say that [Laughing]. But you know what, I'm not actually a great organizer, but I do get things done. I definitely do get things done.

With LIVE, is there a studio attached to it yet?

No, we're doing the indie circuit run and we just finished that actually. So we're going to do the whole film festival thing and stuff like that.

Who's starring in the film?

Me. No. We got me and David Krumholtz from NUMBERS. He's in it as well and Andre Braugher is in it, and we've got some great improv actors in it as well because it's shot as a documentary, and Bill Guttentag, who is a two time Oscar winning documentarian who directed it and wrote it. So it's got a very kind of realistic quality to it.

Is it satire or serious? What's the tone of it?

There is a satirical element to it, absolutely.

How is Mark as an action director compared to Rodriguez and Singleton?

Oh my God, they're all kind of similar especially in the sense that they're all little boys which is really cool to see. It's fun to see these grown men become little boys and play around. But Mark, he and I are the same. We're so similar. He would say something and I would just get it. He wouldn't come up to me and I would get it. We were just so on the same wavelength. I was just there from day one.

Did you ever get the feeling that he was ever over his head at times?

No, no, not at all. Mark makes you very, very comfortable as far as him being able to handle it. He handles things with ease. He's got it. I'm good too at not doubting my director. Once I'm in I'm in. I'm like that because it would make things so much more complicated otherwise. Even if you don't agree with your director I don't doubt my director. I almost kind of relinquish power when I get there to some degree because you just go, 'This is your thing. I'm a part of it. I'm just a part of your whole vision.' So in a sense I'm there for them, and then I don't get blamed when the movie sucks. I'm like, 'Hey! You wanted it that way.' No.

What was the crab ultimately on the menu?

I don't know. We never found out and that's the beauty of it, and then one time in Melbourne we thought about finding out, but decided it was more fun to not find out and always be Peekytoe Crab buddies.

Let me know what you think. Send questions and comments to jimmyo@joblo.com.

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