Actress Eva Mendes takes a trip back to the late Eighties. Oscar Watch Interview 3: The popular manager of El Caribe, the legendary Russian-owned nightclub in Brooklyn's Brighton Beach, he has changed his last name and concealed his connection to a long line of distinguished New York cops.
For Bobby, every night is a party, as he greets friends and customers or dances with his beautiful Puerto Rican girlfriend, Amada Eva Mendes , in a haze of cigarette smoke and disco music.
But it's , and New York City's drug trade is escalating. Bobby tries to keep a friendly distance from the Russian gangster who is operating out of the nightclub - a gangster who is being targeted by his brother, Joseph Mark Wahlberg , an up-and-coming NYPD officer, and his father, Burt Robert Duvall , the legendary deputy chief of police.
We Own the Night is one of the first major Oscar contenders of the year, and we recently caught up with actress Eva Mendes to discuss her award-worthy performance in the film. Candid as always, Mendes had a lot to say about her character and the film itself. Here is our exclusive conversation: I've never heard any negative press about you.
I only ever hear the nicest, friendliest things about you. You know what that means? That means that something bad is coming soon! One thing I've been sure about in my career is that I don't want to get caught up in this celebrity obsession thing.
So I live a pretty quiet life. I try to avoid all of the hot spots. It's good to stay out of In Touch magazine. It is, it is. Occasionally I will get in there for something I am wearing. That's fine with me, if I'm in the pages of "Who wore it better? That magazine comes to the house, and its so hard not to pick it up and flip through it Eva Mendes: I know what you mean. Of course if it's around, you have to pick it up and check it out. See what is going on.
Are you kidding me? One of the things Joaquin Phoenix said, when I interviewed him earlier, was that you guys were doing this car chase scene in the rain and there were people off to the side of the road, yelling for you. Trying to get your attention. I don't remember that. I was wondering if that's hard to concentrate on your acting when you have people that are screaming out your name the whole time?
I don't remember that happening. Maybe I was just so into the scene, that I completely blocked it out of my mind. I thought it was weird that spectators could get that close to you guys while you were filming.
That's so funny, because I totally don't remember that. So, it obviously didn't effect me in the least bit. It was a really big scene, so I was just in it. I was locked in character.
I was in the car, and I was hunched down for all of it. It was pretty intense. Were you basing your look on anybody in particular for this film? I just did some textbook research. I looked at pictures from that time period.
I was really young in the 80s, so I didn't really go out to clubs. I was twelve in , when the film takes place. I remembered the crimping of the hair. I had to do it. It's not coming back. Not in my lifetime. It doesn't work for me. But it was kind of fun going back and doing the scrunchy thing.
I didn't really base the look on anybody. I just saw someone rocking that hairdo. She obviously grew up in that time period, and I was wondering if she just kind of got stuck with that hair style. She probably got stuck. It happens to the best of us. Some of us just get stuck. And I used to wing this part of my hair out.
I would wing it out, and thought it looked really cool. I would spray it so it would stick straight up. I tried to do that a little bit in the movie, but not too much. What happened with this film, is that it is such an important film for me.
Obviously, it's a very exciting, yet dramatic, film. I didn't want my hairstyle, because it was the 80s, to overwhelm anything. I could have gone crazier, but I didn't want this close-up on me, and to have these crazy bangs that were sticking straight up.
You know what I mean? I didn't want it to be about the hairstyle. I wanted it to be about the character. As you progress in your career, and your characters become more and more complex, is it hard to go back to the less complex roles.
What are you looking for at this moment, career wise? I am looking for complexity in general. I just want to dig deeper, whether if it's in a comedy or in a quirky, dark film. I just need complexity. I need to get a little deeper now that I'm ready to do it. Speaking of that, and this is a little off the topic of this movie. Did he ever approach you about starring in Barbarella?
Because I heard that, at one time, he was considering both you and Jennifer Lopez for the role. But now he's going with his current girlfriend Rose McGowan. No, he never called me about that. I haven't even heard about the movie. They are remaking Barbarella?
Now, back onto the subject of the movie at hand, what did you take away from your experience working with actors like Mark Walberg and Joaquin Phoenix? I learned that I have to be on my game, so I better do my homework.
The only way for me to be totally prepared on those shooting days is to be overly prepared. So that I know it backwards and forwards. So if they throw something at me, I am right there. I have to shoot it right back. Did you identify with this character at all? I identified on a lot of levels with her. I find that I work best that way. The closer I can be to the character, the better for me. The more I have in common with her, and the more I can personalize her through myself.
That's the way I work right now. That could always change. Did you guys ever discuss if the character was making the right decision at the end, or if you guys should move in another direction with it? It was set in the script like that. I had a really good discussion with James Gray, the director. I said, "Like every good break-up, there is always that last 'lets see if we can make it work' thing.
That's what the story is, and it had to be the way James wanted it to be. We all had to remain true to the story. But, with my character, as my voice, I had to fight that a little bit.