-- Night is falling and Eva Mendes relaxes is the bar of the Soho Hotel in New York. She looks tired, and there is a reason. She has been rehearsing the whole day with Keira Knightley, with whom she is working in 'Last Night' the first film directed by screenplayer, Massy Tadjedin. This film makes true the last dream of this daughter of Cubans, who just a few month ago, spoke about her admiration for the British actress and her desire of working with her. One by one, Eva Mendes' dreams have become true: she played the character that Joan Crawford did many years ago, in the remake of 'The Women', where she co-stars with Meg Ryan and Annette Bening; she worked in 'The Spirit' directed by legendary comic book writer Frank Miller, and she also worked under the famous German director, Werner Herzog in 'Bad Lieutenant: Port of New Orleans.' Eva has also launched a bedding collection, Vida, and has traveled through Europe promoting Calvin Klein's lingerie. Although she is not desperate to be the only protagonist of a movie, Mendes knows that the opportunity will arrive sooner or later. Dreams are her thing. And prominently among them is to work with Pedro Almodóvar, one of her favorite directors.
RDS: I feel like you've been showing a lot of good work in film, but it seems that you've never had the opportunity to work in a movie where it's just about your character. Do you feel that way?
Mendes: No. I feel like I'm being given the opportunities that I should be given at this time. I think that little by little I'm proving myself to the industry, that I can act and that all these years of going to school, and I still go to acting class, that I can do it. I'm a trained actress and I can do it, but I think that you have to prove yourself. So I've been very lucky and I just finished a film with Werner Herzog and although the character in 'We Own The Night' wasn't a well developed character it was still on the road to being more dramatic. That's not all that I want to do though either. I want to venture out into comedy which is really my true passion.
RDS: Do you feel ready to be in every scene of a movie?
Mendes: Yeah, but I don't think that anyone can come out of the gate and do that. I think that all this practice is great for me. I'm in no hurry to get anywhere. So I think I'm exactly where I need to be.
RDS: What differentiates Frank Miller, who comes from the world of comics, from all the other directors you've worked with?
Mendes: Just the fact that he's very much into the characters and character development and where you are. It's interesting because at first you see 'The Spirit' or you see the trailer and you think, 'Oh, it's a guy's movie.' But I have to tell you that in 'The Spirit' there are some very well developed female characters. If you look at my character or Scarlett Johansson's, Jamie King's or Paz Vega's it's not about women looking hot, but women very much in control.
RDS: How would you describe your character? She's a tough girl, right?
Mendes: She is, but because Will Eisner wrote 'The Spirit' back in the 1940's she's a dame. She can handle herself and yet she's a lady. She's always dressed to the nines. She happens to be a jewel thief which I thought was pretty cool because there's a point where she's a little girl in the script and we see her as a little girl and this limousine drives by her. We see the hand of a woman just laying there and the woman has a big diamond bracelet and my character, as a thirteen year old girl, looks at it and thinks, 'I want that. Oh, my gosh.' She grows up and she realizes that because she's not educated the only way to get that is to steal it and so she becomes a jewel thief.
RDS: Is there something that you liked when you were 13 years old?
Mendes: I don't like jewelry. I always saw my mom struggling to pay the bills and to make ends meet. I promised her, and I have letters that I wrote to her, that I was going to buy her house and pay off her bills. I knew ever since I was a little girl that I was going to do that. So in that sense absolutely.
RDS: When you've been through a life like that, does it make this sweeter?
Mendes: I think so because I appreciate everything. Everything. I really do. I appreciate room service in a beautiful hotel. I really, really do. It doesn't go unappreciated.
RDS: What does your mom think about all of this?
Mendes: She loves it, but it's very hurtful for her because of what people say. She is hurt by all those rumors in the Internet. I think what's frustrating to my mom and to my family is that when things are written about me or there are misquotes about me. I think that becomes hurtful and I can understand that because it's hurtful. There were rumors on 'We Own The Night' that me and Joaquin Phoenix were together. That hurt her because she knows my boyfriend and he's family to her for years. I think it hurts her as a mother. So that's when I feel bad.
--------- Read the rest of Selecciones' interview with screen siren Eva Mendres in the January issue of the magazine.