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Eva Mendes Actress Model

Eva Mendes, co-star of the "Hitch" Movie!

A fiercely independent actress who refuses to be pressed into a conventional mode or typecast, Eva Mendes was studying marketing in the late '90s when an agent stumbled across her photo while perusing Mendes's neighbor's portfolio. Soon appearing in an Aerosmith video and making her film debut in Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror, Mendes worked her way through the gamut of aspiring actors to appear in such high-profile films as Urban Legends: Final Cut and Once Upon a Time in Mexico. Dropping out of school soon after being randomly discovered by an agent, Mendes appeared in a few made-for-television productions and hammed it up with Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan in A Night at the Roxbury before being cast in a prominent role in Urban Legends: Final Cut. Working against typecasting despite her teen horror resumé, Mendes next took roles in Exit Wounds, Training Day, and All About the Benjamins. Mendes next began work on a children's book titled Crazy Leggs Beshee in which she wanted to introduce art, history, vocabulary, and values to children in a fun and easily comprehendable medium.

In 2003, Mendes' career took off, with the actress taking on large roles in an ecclectic quartet of high-profile films. In 2 Fast 2 Furious she played a customs agent working with Paul Walker to bring down a Miami drug cartel. Out of Time found her reteaming with Training Day costar Denzel Washington. Flexing her comedic chops, Mendes was the love interest of half a pair of conjoined twins in the Farrelly brothers' Stuck on You. And in Once Upon a Time in Mexico she played another government agent, this time opposite Johnny Depp.

The year 2004 saw no signs of Mendes slowing down, with the Cuban-American beauty starring as the ex-girlfriend of Luke Wilson in The Wendell Baker Story, a film Wilson co-wrote with brother Owen Wilson and co-directed with sibling Andrew Wilson. Mendes was born on March 5, 1974, in Houston, Texas.

Eva Mendes Calls Latina Casting Trend 'Lame'

Eva Mendes has one qualm about her success.
The 31-year-old "Hitch" star says that the recent trend to have Latina actress star opposite black leading men isn't right.

"I don't even know what to say about it anymore," Mendes says in the March 14 issue of Newsweek, on newsstands now. "Certainly I've benefited, because I've got to work with Ice Cube, Denzel and Will. But it's lame. I wish the mentality wasn't so closed."

"Are We There Yet?" actress Nia Long believes the trend of replacing black actresses with Latina ones is all about marketing.

"Two black characters equals a black film and not just a movie about two people," says Long.

American Black Film Festival founder Jeff Friday calls the casting trend "good business sense" since Latinos are now the largest American minority group.

Indeed, it's perhaps more accurate to observe that Latinas are being cast in leading lady roles more often now regardless of the ethnicity of the leading man. Although Mendes starred opposite three black men -- Ice Cube in "All About the Benjamins," Denzel Washington in "Out of Time" and Will Smith in "Hitch" -- she's also shared the screen with Paul Walker ("2 Fast 2 Furious"), Johnny Depp ("Once Upon a Time in Mexico") and Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear ("Stuck on You").

Two other leading Latina actresses, Salma Hayek and Penelope Cruz, have also had their share of a variety of leading men. Hayek's leading men include Matthew Perry, Smith, Pierce Brosnan and Colin Farrell, in the upcoming "Ask the Dust," while Cruz -- who was born in Spain -- has starred opposite Damon, Nicolas Cage, Depp, ex-boyfriend Tom Cruise, Walker and Matthew McConaughey for the upcoming "Sahara." Both actresses will topline "Bandidas," a western action flick to be released later this year.

Mendes is currently filming opposite Cage in the comic book-inspired "Ghost Rider."

Eva Mendes speaks about 'Hitch'

“ We were like, 'Do you feel good? 'Cause I feel good. Great. Perfect. Seeya!' ”

Eva Mendes was blessed with a role opposite Oscar-winner Denzel Washington in cop drama Training Day back in 2001. They re-teamed for the rather less successful Out Of Time and, in between, she took supporting roles in 2 Fast 2 Furious, Once Upon A Time In Mexico and madcap comedy Stuck On You. Hitch marks another change of pace for the Latina actress, this time starring alongside Will Smith in what's already become a record-breaking romantic comedy.

This project seemed to come together very quickly...

It was actually one of those things that was rather easy. Usually the whole process from getting the script to making the deal is kind of arduous, you know? So this was the first that it felt like it was just supposed to happen and it just did so naturally. They sent me the script and I said, "I love it!" Then I met with Will [Smith] and it took like ten minutes and we realised, "Okay this is great." And that's really it. It just happened.

Was there an audition process?

No, it was just sitting down with him and he'd seen my stuff from before. Again, I couldn't believe how easy it was. I was like, "Uh, what!?" Usually this is much more difficult. But you can tell just by talking to someone whether you have chemistry or not. I don't even remember what we said, it was just small talk, but we were like, "Do you feel good? 'Cause I feel good. Great. Perfect. Seeya!"

Did you have the opportunity to improvise together once cameras started rolling?

No, because I was like the new kid on the block. It was my first romantic comedy and obviously Will's a pro and Kevin James is a pro and they come from comedy and TV sitcoms so it was great for them because they got to improvise and I didn't really. I might have got a couple of things in there but for the most part, no.

What about the crazy dancing scene at the end?

Oh, that was all improvised, yeah! None of that was choreographed for anybody. We were just like, "Okay, let's just act like idiots on the dance floor. Who can out-idiot each other!" I know that doesn't sound right, but you know what I mean.

Your character has a pretty rough date in the movie, but what's the worst dating experience you've ever had?

Actually I have a few, but if I have to pick one... I was in 12th grade and I asked this guy to go to the dance with me and he went and he just had a bad attitude the whole time. It was a winter formal, but we had to take these professional pictures when you stand and look all stupid. Anyway he didn't want to do that with me. He was like too cool for school, right? So after not having a great time I said, "Well, come on Rick, let's go dance." And he's like, "Eugh." He went to the bathroom and I'm waiting there and he never comes back! Not only that but when everybody else is in pairs I was the total fifth wheel because I had to find a ride home with this other couple. I was mortified.

Did you ever see him again?

Oh, we had words at school. Definitely.

Obviously you could relate to this character, but was the part originally written for a Latina?

No. None of the parts were written in that way. It was great because none of that was an issue. It's also great because I believe we're breaking a lot of records in the States right now. It's insane. We've been on top for two weeks now and now we're at $90m something dollars which is unheard of for a romantic comedy for two weekends. Why I'm bragging about this and so proud about this is because it's the first time that you have two leads that are non-white and bringing in that kind of moolah. It's very exciting and hopefully this is a sign that times are changing.

Do you feel like the Latin audience has previously been underestimated by Hollywood?

Absolutely. Yeah.

You've just wrapped on The Wendell Baker Story with Luke Wilson. What can you tell us about it?

Yeah, I'm really excited about that. Luke and Owen Wilson are in it and Will Ferrell is in it. Basically it's a story that Luke wrote with his other brother - I'm sure Andrew will love being referred to as the other brother, but there is another Wilson called Andrew Wilson and he and Luke co-directed it. It's just a really sweet story about this petty conman played by Luke who loses the love of his life, which is me, due to some ridiculous con he tried to pull. And then for the whole movie he's basically trying to get me back and what happens with that and his run-ins with certain people. It's really funny but it has that really sweet element to it as well.

What's it like to co-star with your director?

You know it's great when it's Luke because he's just so relaxed. We shot in Texas where they're from - in Austin to be specific - and God, honestly it was just the most amount of fun I've had in such a short space of time. It's an independent film so we just had to cram everything in there and it was a great time and a great city. I loved being directed by and starring opposite Luke.

So what's next for you?

I just finished Trust The Man with Julianne Moore, directed by her husband Bart Freundlich. Maggie Gyllenhaal is in that too and David Duchovny and Billy Crudup. Then I'm leaving for Australia in a couple of weeks to do Ghost Rider with Nicolas Cage. That's totally different to anything I've ever done before.

Hitch is released in London's West End on 4th March and in UK cinemas nationwide on 11th March 2005.

Mendes is from Miami

Eva Mendes gives a sparkling performance as Will Smith's love interest in the new romantic comedy Hitch. What's her background?

Born in Miami and raised in Los Angeles, the Cuban-American actress got her first break in 1998 when she auditioned for a horror film, Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror, and rather to her surprise was chosen for a small role. What she saw on the screen horrified her. "It challenged me to do better." And better she did, in a series of performances that includes a co-starring role with Johnny Depp in Once Upon a Time in Mexico and two Denzel Washington movies, Training Day and Out of Time.

Today, at 30, Mendes says she wants to project "a different kind of Latin woman." She is writing and illustrating a children's book, Crazy Leggs Beshee, and has two releases in the hopper. These are Trust the Man, a drama co-starring Julianne Moore, and The Wendell Baker Story, a comedy co-starring Will Farrell. She also has plans to film Loving Che, the story of a young artist who romances Che Guevara during the Cuban revolution.

Eva Mendes: Love Will find a way

They lean forward and gaze into each other's eyes. Anticipation builds as their lips gently pucker.
Suddenly, Kevin James, TV's King of Queens, dives in and lays a dainty peck on the mouth of a shocked Will Smith. Cinema's king of the summer blockbuster recoils in mock disgust as he yells, "What the hell was that?"

The initial reaction of the New Yorkers who witnessed the filming of the smooch lesson gone awry for the courtship caper Hitch, opening Friday, wasn't much kinder.

"They had no idea what the movie was, no idea what the scene was," recalls Smith, who chuckles while seated in a high-rise eatery with a Central Park view the day after the movie's premiere. "All they see is me out on the corner kissing Kevin James. And this black dude screams out, 'Will, no! Uh-uh. Don't do that. Whatcha doing, Will?' "

Making amends, for one. The image-conscious actor came to regret his refusal to kiss a man as a gay hustler in 1993's Six Degrees of Separation, his breakout film that followed the popular sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and chart success as a rap artist.

But in these queer-eyed days, same-sex spit-swapping is de rigueur.

"It took someone like me to turn him," jokes James, who shines as a timid accountant who pines for Amber Valletta's stunning socialite. "I minted more for that kiss than the one with Amber."

Smith also is out to score some laughs. Much to the delight of his female admirers, the buff-and-polished action hero is finally starring in a romantic comedy. In Hitch, he's a lover, not a fighter. There are no aliens to battle. No androids gone amok. No big guns, bad guys or pug dogs wailing disco classics.

Instead, the relationship romp is overrun with hapless males in desperate need of guidance on matters of the heart. That is where Smith's Hitch comes in. His job is to coach woeful Romeos so they can impress unattainable Juliets. Meanwhile, Hitch must conquer his own commitment fears when he gets an itch for a sassy gossip columnist.

Eva Mendes, who plays the tabloid tattler, says of Smith, "God, he's so sexy. Women are going to respond to him in a different way. You really see his vulnerability."

Today, he's attired to inspire such thoughts in an urban preppy getup of Lacoste pullover and baggy jeans. The final touch: the multi-carat diamond rocks that anchor his unmistakable stuck-out ears.

"It was strange for me, stripping it down to essentially just talking," says Smith, 36, of his genre switch. "No blue screens, nothing. To perform honestly and emotionally with a robot, that's a skill I've developed. But I love the interaction between Eva and me. I'm so at home in that romantic space."

His action days are waning

As his melon-sized biceps prove, he's also at home in the gym, lifting weights and running. But the routine can be a grind. "I'm going to stay in shape for about four more years," he vows between bites of bread. "Then I'm letting it all go. I'm going for the guy-with-the-gut roles. Soon as I'm 40, I'm going to stop watching what I eat."

This sci-fi junkie, who turned down a chance to go to MIT to pursue a music career, is smart enough to know that aging action heroes carry an expiration date. There are two paths to safeguarding your status: You can either mix it up as even Vin Diesel is doing in the upcoming comedy The Pacifier. Or run for governor of California, a post currently filled.
Smith also is reviving his hip-hop pursuits. His first solo album in nearly three years, Lost and Found, is due March 29.

This $20-million-a-movie club member, who also is a producer on Hitch, can afford a change of pace. A true superstar whose hot-weather outings have grossed more than $1 billion, he has ruled the July 4 box office on a regular basis since 1996's Independence Day. Now he's ready to set off a different kind of fireworks while seducing this weekend's Valentine's Day date crowd.

"Hitch is who I am," Smith assures. That would include the film's awkward college flashback in which the West Philly native exposes his inner Urkel. "Mike Lowrey from Bad Boys is my alter ego," he says, referring to his slick lady-killer detective. "That is who I dream of being."

He and his actress wife of seven years, Jada Pinkett Smith, go so far as to offer Hitch-style counseling to friends and family. "Jada and I study relationships. I am a student of male-female interaction."

Women likely will relish the sight of the Fresh Prince charming his way through love's pitfalls and pratfalls. But Sony, the studio behind Hitch, isn't taking any chances. Millions were invested in a Super Bowl ad to convince fans of his brawnier fare that their masculinity won't be compromised. "People generally look at romantic comedies as chick flicks. This one is not that," says Smith, who balances cutting up with James with canoodling with Mendes.

Learning from a master

He took his cues from one of the best in the biz: Cary Grant. "I love how Cary Grant could be so aggressive with women without losing his sensitivity," he says. "Like with Katharine Hepburn in The Philadelphia Story. She broke his golf club. He runs up and balls his fist to punch her, but he knows he can't hit a woman. So he grabs her face and shoves her down."

Hence, the vicious food fight between Smith and Mendes, in which chopped veggies are the weapon of choice.

For someone who effortlessly sinks into the role of a dating coach, Smith has very little personal experience to draw upon. Not because he didn't have luck with the ladies. Just the opposite. "My first record came out when I was 17, three weeks before I graduated from high school. The women always knew who I was. It wasn't, um, the average teenage experience."

Smith, who had an '80s hit with partner DJ Jazzy Jeff aptly titled Girls Ain't Nothing But Trouble, continues: "When you are on the road, you are in town for one night, and the girl knows it's now or never. The dating is the walk from the lobby, up to the elevators to your room."

The easy pickings were swell for a while. But even men can't live by one-night stands alone. "You start to get a little older, and it's like, 'Wow. You don't know anything except I rap, and you are willing to do anything for me.' Well, that's not really for me then. That's for some person you don't really know, some fantasy of a guy who probably doesn't exist."

Eva Mendes: Breaking All The Rules

In "Hitch," Eva Mendes co-stars as New York gossip columnist Sara Melas, who goes undercover to get the scoop on the city's much-talked-about "date doctor," Alex Hitchins. Hitch seems cool and collected when he teaches the rules of dating to his male clients, but when Sara is thrown into the mix, he starts to have trouble following his own rules. MTV News' Jeff Cornell recently took a shot at hanging out with Mendes and not doing anything stupid. Here's how it went:

MTV: Tell us about your character in this film.

Eva Mendes: I play Sara Melas, a gossip columnist of all things, and a very, very guarded woman who's just a totally hopeless romantic inside but has been hurt before and just couldn't deal with it one more time. So the guard goes up and the ice comes up, you know, and it's funny because when I just saw the movie, when I saw my character onscreen, I was just like, "I have friends like that, and I've done that myself." It's so interesting what we do in order not to get hurt again, but we don't realize that we're actually only hurting ourselves by just closing off.

MTV: What was it like, as someone who is a potential target of gossip columnists, to try to get in the mindset of one?

Mendes: I was kind of like, "OK, how do I justify what I do as my character?" So I started reading about a ton of people like Liz Smith [of the New York Post] and a bunch of New York gossip columnists, and one of them said — I can't remember the name, and I couldn't find the quote when I was trying to find it the other day — but one of them said, "I don't abuse, I amuse." I thought, "Well, that's interesting." I know that's a fine line, but ... with that lightness, I approached my character like that. Like, she wasn't going out to get anybody.

MTV: You've said that the chemistry between Will Smith and Kevin James in this movie was fantastic.

Mendes: So great, so great. But I thought that his and my chemistry was great too. I'm biased — I'd rather see him and me up there.

MTV: What was it like working with Will?

Mendes: He's amazing. My God, it was so not acting. ... He's got so much going on and stuff, I would just be his little audience. I'd be like, "Oh, man, I'm in the scene. Jeez." But yeah, you don't get any better than Will. He's the best. Absolutely.

MTV: There's a really good message at the end of this film. It seems both men and women can learn from this story.

Mendes: Yeah, I think so too, and I love the fact that this is from a male's perspective, so it's just so totally different than most romantic comedies, but it still shows the struggles we go through as men and as women. And yeah, at the end, it's really interesting 'cause it's just about basic principles — there are none. And that is so true, especially with relationships.

MTV: What will we see you in next?

Mendes: I have "The Wendell Baker Story" coming out. It's opening at the Austin Film Festival, and that's with Luke Wilson and Owen Wilson and Will Ferrell. And I was just a part of "Trust the Man." It's with Julianne Moore and David Duchovny, Maggie Gyllenhaal — who I love — and Billy Crudup, so that was really great to be a part of such an amazing cast.

MTV: Who are you in "The Wendell Baker Story"?

Mendes: I play Luke Wilson's love of his life, and he plays a petty con artist. He kind of does [one last con job], and I'm like, "I'm still in love with you, but I'm done, it's over," you know what I mean? And so basically the whole movie he's trying to win me back. And it's actually really endearing and it's kind of [about] what he does to try to win me back and all these different characters he meets along the way.

Eva Mendes Joins Ghost Rider

Fox News reports that Will Smith's Hitch co-star Eva Mendes has just signed to play a role in writer/director Mark Steven Johnson's Ghost Rider. Nicolas Cage plays the title role in the Columbia Pictures comic book adaptation, with Wes Bentley playing baddie Blackheart.

The Marvel Comics property centers on a motorcyclist who makes a pact with dark forces, gets double-crossed and battles the bad guys to protect the woman (Mendes perhaps?) he loves.

The movie is being produced by Michael De Luca, Avi Arad, Gary Foster and Ari Arad. Johnson rewrote a Shane Salerno script. Shooting begins this month in Australia.

Eva: I hate sex scenes

2 FAST 2 FURIOUS beauty EVA MENDES detests acting out sex scenes so much, she'd prefer to appear fully nude onscreen than have to go through with one.

The sexy actress, ex-girlfriend of MATT DAMON, made a brief appearance in DENZEL WASHINGTON's movie TRAINING DAY without a stitch of clothing on, and she admits she finds nudity a lot more comfortable during shooting than false passion.

She says, "I'd much rather be fully naked in a scene than have to stimulate sex with someone. Even kissing is really intimate."


Eva Mendes stars in the new movie ''Hitch''

Most men have difficulty finding love because it's hard to be yourself. That's where Alex "Hitch" Hitchens comes in. As a tactical adviser who specializes in first impressions -- he customizes and orchestrates a client's first three dates -- Hitch has been secretly responsible for hundreds of New York City weddings.

Sara, meanwhile, is a gossip reporter for a daily tabloid who, after a chance meeting with Hitch, finds her professional life and personal life on a collision course. She decides to write an expose on Hitch's condescending methodry. She also makes Hitch re-evaluate his game, and rethink love in the process.

'Training Day' Actress Joins 'Fast and Furious' Sequel

Actress Eve Mendes ("Training Day") will be joining Paul Walker and Tyrese in "The Fast and the Furious 2" if negotiations with Universal Pictures go well.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the sequel, to be directed by John Singleton, will feature Mendes as the female undercover agent who teams up with fellow agents Walker and Tyrese to bring down a ruthless drug dealer.

"The Fast and the Furious," which was directed by Rob Cohen and starred Vin Diesel, was the box-office hit of the summer of 2001. Diesel and Cohen, who recently teamed up on "XXX," turned down offers to make "The Fast and the Furious" sequel after negotiations regarding salaries collapsed. Walker appeared in the original film, and also returning in the role of a street racer will be rap artist Ja Rule.

Mendes, 24, who made her feature-film debut in the 1998 comedy "A Night at the Roxbury," has also starred in "Urban Legends: Final Cut," "Exit Wounds" and "All About the Benjamins." She is currently finishing work on Carl Franklin's "Out of the Time" opposite Denzel Washington, and will be seen next in Robert Rodriguez's "Once Upon a Time in Mexico" with Antonio Banderas, Johnny Depp and Salma Hayek.

"2 Fast 2 Furious" may be a little 2 slow 2 see

Although the story line is something that may keep your interest, hard bodies, fast cars and dull dialogue make up this movie.

"2 Fast 2 Furious" is a sequel to "Fast and the Furious" but will come across as its own movie. It has it's own separate story line with few references to the first, and although it includes the high speed racing scene previously seen, the attention is focused on the sexual characteristics of the actors in the movie.

It portrays the typical tale of crooked cops, the pretty lady shacking up with the bad guy and the good guy falling for the girl. A gruesome torture scene, a scramble scene and risky racing scenes (that leave you touchy and tense) may compensate for the awful acting.

The words are spoken, but there is no emotion behind the characters. Eva Mendes (Monica Fuentes) starred in "Training Day" and needs more training to act in her next role. Paul Walker tries to pin point a catch phrase of "how 'bout them apples?" I dont know if he realizes that he uses it twice in the movie and both times your lip will curve up on one side as your brow rises in perplexity.

The movie is launched with a car race that will leave you at the edge of your seat, as it culminates with a bridge being raised. The race ends with the capture of disgraced cop, Brian OConnor, (Paul Walker). While infiltrating the racing scene in the "Fast and the Furious," he let the leader of the pack drive off (Vin Diesel) and was stripped of his badge. He is now forced to redeem himself and assist in the capture of Carter Verone, (Cole Hauser).

Carter is a businessman who is using his import/export business as a cover up. Eva has been undercover with him for a year and for some reason she has not been able to take him in. Brian insists on taking the assignment under his own terms. He reunites with his childhood friend, Roman Pearce, (Tyrese). Roman has nothing to lose and after a fist fight with Brian decides to give up being on house arrest and partners up with him in the battle to take down Carter.

An almost deadly race scene earns the trust of the businessman and together they begin working undercover with Eva to bring him down. Their friendship will continue to evolve as you hear "hey bro' " or "hey cuz."

It is almost as if they are trying to hard to show us the camaraderie between the two. "2 Fast 2 Furious" will keep you wondering what will happen next to the two guys in charge as they find themselves in sticky situations. They will also get to strut their stuff in high-speed cars that are decked out with exaggerated engines, mighty mufflers and of course the turbo tab that kicks in the speed.

Eva Mendes May Be 'Stuck on You'

Cuban-American actress Eva Mendes ("Training Day") is in final talks to star in "Stuck on You" for 20th Century Fox. The film features Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear. Produced and directed by Peter and Bobby Farrelly ("There's Something About Mary"), the film centers on conjoined twins (Kinnear, Damon) who face a crisis after one of them decides he wants to make it big in Hollywood, and convinces his brother to go along for the ride.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Mendes will play an actress who falls in love with Kinnear's character. Mendes, 25, who starred in "The Fast and the Furious," "All About the Benjamins" and "Exit Wounds," recently finished work on the last film of Robert Rodriguez's El Mariachi trilogy "Once Upon a Time in Mexico" opposite Johnny Depp and Antonio Banderas. She'll be starring next in John Singleton's "2 Fast 2 Furious" with Paul Walker, and Carl Franklin's "Out of the Time" with Denzel Washington. In addition to movie work, Mendes also has been hired by Revlon as its cosmetics spokesperson alongside actresses Halle Berry and Julianne Moore.

Eva Mendes Is 'Stuck' on Farrelly Brothers

Eva Mendes has been seen this year kissing Denzel Washington in "Out of Time," playing cop with Paul Walker in "2 Fast 2 Furious" and camping it up with Antonio Banderas and Johnny Depp in "Once Upon a Time in Mexico." However, her dream role came along in the form of playing the neighbor to conjoined twins in Bobby and Peter Farrelly's latest film "Stuck on You."
"You have to understand, 'Dumb and Dumber' is my 'Gone With the Wind,' I quote it all the time, and 'Kingpin' is one of my favorite movies," Mendes tells Zap2it.com about the directing/writing team who also masterminded "Shallow Hal" and "Me, Myself and Irene." "I always thought that if I could meet the Farrelly Brothers, I would get along with them. So to be working with them was a dream come true."

All this coming from an actress who almost gave up acting after her first film in 1998, "Children of the Corn 5: Fields of Terror."

"I had a love/hate relationship with acting after 'Children of the Corn 5,' I was going to give it one more try," says the 29-year-old actress who admits she likes the perks of the job, such as dressing up for star-studded parties, drinking champagne at hotel bars and talking to guys who think they recognize her. And, while she enjoys playing the sexy Latina roles she's becoming known for, she fought the Farrelly brothers when they were pushing her to play her role with an accent.

"I told them the whole Charo thing is dead, and after a while they agreed with me," she says, admitting that she is still scantily clad in the film. "But I don't do it with an accent."

At first, she tried too hard to be funny for her dream directors, but then she learned by watching her co-stars, who play the brothers. She combines the subtle sarcasm of Matt Damon and the overt humor of Greg Kinnear.

"I wasn't too sure Matt could be funny, but he has that dry wit that I love so much," she says. "And Greg is always theatrical and out there, I learned from both of them to relax and don't try to be funny."

She says she was nervous at first to play the neighbor who thinks the brothers are the most normal people she's ever met, and she was afraid she wouldn't like her co-stars.

"I clicked with them both, and I was so glad because it would have been terrible if one was a jerk. I was in La-La land working with them," she smiles.

Kinnear says, "She put up with a lot from us. We teased her and tried to make her crack up, but she is naturally funny, and she is beautiful, too."

Her "Out of Time" director Carl Franklin says, "She is our modern-day Gina Lollobrigida, she's smart, sexy, strong and can be funny, it's a rare combination."

The beauty comes from her exotic Cuban-American mother, she says. "I am voluptuous to you out there [the press], but my mom thinks I'm skinny. I don't spend time obsessing in front of a mirror too much, I don't do 100 sit-ups, but I did give up pasta, bread and beer -- that was hard."

For now, she's giving up the tough roles, though, and looking for something softer. She kicks herself for not landing the role opposite Benjamin Bratt in the drama "Pinero." Her next film is a romantic comedy with Luke Wilson, "The Wendell Baker Story" and she's working on a comedy opposite Will Smith called "Last First Kiss."

"I'll see if I can pull off funny and sexy for now," she smirks.

Eva Mendes: Out Of Time

After an attention-grabbing cameo in Training Day, Eva Mendes reunites with Denzel Washington on the Florida-set thriller Out Of Time. She tells you about bad acting, intimidation, and being "really lucky".

This is your second film with Denzel Washington in a couple of years! How does that feel?

You know, I was terrible when I started out! I mean, I know I was terrible in Children Of The Corn 5. I can watch the tape now and it's hysterical but at the time I was horrified. So I got myself an acting teacher and began working at it. When I went for the audition to star with Denzel in Training Day, I was so prepared, probably over prepared, so there was no room or excuse for a mess up! This time, when I auditioned for this film, I was really focused and it was one of the best auditions that I ever had. When they told me I'd got it, I went crazy!

So I guess you're no longer fazed at working with such a respected actor?

It could have been a lot more intimidating, but I came in very prepared. Having worked with him on Training Day, it wasn't too bad coming into Out Of Time. And in this, I have to help him carry a film so it was really all about the work.

What's the secret to the chemistry between you two on screen?

I just think we work well together. He makes me a better actor, he really does. He really has that presence. He can challenge you with a look and you can either sink or swim. Hopefully I swam.

So how are you coping with all the attention that comes with becoming a movie star?

You know, all that star stuff, I don't care about it. It's not important to me. I make movies because I love what I do. I'm just really lucky. I'm a happy girl!



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