INT: Eva Mendes

Interview #1 Mickey Rourke
Interview #2 Eva Mendes
Interview #3 Robert Rodriguez

Legend has it that breakout star Eva Mendes was discovered at a garage sale. A garage sale. I don’t know if you’ve been to a garage sale lately, but it shares much in common with other havens for shady characters, such as bus stations and off-track betting facilities. Last summer, after I’d moved to a new apartment, I checked a few out during an abortive attempt to find some cheap furniture. I found a lot of interesting things, such as prosthetic legs and mounted deer heads, but no Eva Mendes.

I did, however, find her at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, where I sat down to talk with her about her latest flick, ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO.


Were you actually discovered at a garage sale?

My neighbor was a photographer and he was always telling me he wanted to shoot with me, and I just really wasn’t interested. But, when I had a garage sale one morning, he brought a camera and just started taking pictures. He had a photo that he decided to use in a book that he shopped around. A manager saw it and inquired about me, asking whether I act or anything. So, I met with the manager because I was at a time in my life where I was just so bored with myself. I was going to school, but I was just like, “What am I doing?” And I took up acting just like that; I didn’t take any classes or anything. I did a film, CHILDREN OF THE CORN 5, and I was horrific. I realized that I didn’t want to be some empty-headed actress, so I quit school and started studying with an acting coach.

How did you get involved with the project? Did Robert have you audition?

He did the worst thing you could do to an actor. What happened was, I went down to Texas to read for him. He didn’t want to release the script, though, so they said, “You’re just going to meet him.” Ok, never believe that! So I went in and sat down, and we were just talking. And then he put the script in front of me and was like, “Why don’t you read a few lines.” I was like “Whoa. Oh my God.” Because you want to be prepared, to have it broken down. You want to have it perfect. But I couldn’t say no, of course. 

Did you know Johnny Depp was going to be in it?

No. That was the next big surprise. I found out I got the role and I was, you know, ecstatic. And then I hear that it’s being offered to Johnny Depp, and I was like, “He’s not gonna do it.” It’s like a defense mechanism. “He’s not gonna do it. Don’t even get, excited.  He’s gonna be busy or something.” And then when they said he’d do it, I just freaked out.

Can you talk a little about working with Johnny Depp?

Oh my God. Can I talk a lot about working with Johnny Depp? Where do you start? First of all, there’s the beauty factor. I’m sorry – he’s like one of the most beautiful men I’ve ever seen in my life. When I was a little girl, I actually had his posters up on my wall from "21 Jump Street". It was a total crush. So, I have to admit I was a little nervous.

Did you tell him about the posters?

No. (Laughs) You don’t tell Johnny Depp that. He’s, like, the epitome of cool. I was just like, “Hey man. No big deal. I can handle this.”

He really surprised me with how funny he is. I know you get to see it in the movie, but in person, he’s really funny as well. (Sighs) He’s dreamy. 

During takes, he totally throws you a curveball. I think, because I shot this two years ago – I’m not cutting myself slack in any way – but I think today I’d play the character differently. I think I’ve grown a lot and I’ve become more confident in my work. But when I shot Once Upon A Time In Mexico, I was so nervous and I felt so green at the time. I wish I could have played ball with him a little more, but I was a little in awe.

What’s it like working with a director that does so many other things at the same time?

It makes it easier for me, actually, because if a director knows what he wants, than I know what to give him. I come to a job with a lot of ideas – that’s just me. With Robert, he just tells you what he wants, because he’s cutting it in his head as he’s shooting you, and he’s also there holding the camera, which is really kinda weird. Usually, your director is off in the dark background and you just hear “action”, but Robert is right in front of you. I love it.

He also works very quickly, too.

It is shot quickly, but we shot in high-definition, so we actually had a lot more time. With film, it’s so expensive, you can really feel those dollar signs. But with high-def, it’s video, so if you mess up, you just do it again. It’s really cool. I liked it a lot. It’s not fair to talk about Robert without mentioning his wife and producer, Elizabeth. She’s a badass. She’s an incredible woman and definitely a part of the whole ambience that they create. She’s part of the whole machine. 

What was the atmosphere like on the set?

It was really fun. In between takes, Robert plays music, and there’s food and you’re hugging and kissing and everybody’s family. It was really special in that way. I think I got really spoiled.

What part did your experience as a Cuban-American play in your approach to this role?

Both my parents are Cuban. I barely made it to Miami. They’re very proud of that. I was conceived in Cuba, though. I think speaking Spanish was a big part, because we shot in Mexico. I know Mickey Rourke was really confused a lot of the time. He was just like, “Que?  Que?” But speaking Spanish was a good tool down there. It was good.

I have to admit that my Spanish is not great. I ignored it for a big part of my upbringing. My mom would talk to me in Spanish and I’d answer in English, because it wasn’t cool to speak Spanish, you know what I mean? Now I completely regret it. I’m like, “I was so stupid.”

Source: JoBlo.com



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