At this point someone interjected and asked if Eva could relate to her character:
Eva Mendes: No, not really, because I grew up in the city and everything was so exciting. My mom worked at the Hollywood Chinese Theater, albeit in the box office and souvenir shop, but I don’t know. Maybe I would if I grew up in a small town.
We then asked Eva how she felt about her wardrobe for The Place Beyond The Pines, as her character fits right in with the early 90s vibe:
Eva Mendes: Yeah, I wanted her to be as raw as could be. This is not a girl who fuses with makeup or clothing, this is a woman who is on survival mode and who is really bare bones.
A little tidbit – those horrendous jean shorts she wears, that are so God awful, were actually mine from 1992. I swear. Absolutely. [Laughs]
“The director did not make you wear them, you brought them yourself?!”
Eva Mendes: First of all, the director doesn’t make me do anything. [Laughs] I learned that early on.
You make your decisions as an actress, and if I’m really uncomfortable with something I wouldn’t let a director talk me into it. Derek loved it though. He wants as much personal stuff infused with your character as possible. That’s what he loves and really encourages his actors to do. I love that.
The shorts are very ill-fitting and that’s what I wanted for Romina. She’s raw.
Moving towards the chemistry between Eva and Ryan Gosling, we asked where that connection came from:
Eva Mendes: Ryan and I have known each other for years, but it’s possible that you could be friends with someone and not like how they work. I respect him so much as an actor though, and he certainly improved my game, as well as everyone else on the cast.
Expanding upon this question, we asked if it’s harder or easier doing a more intimate love scene with a close friend:
Eva Mendes: Love scenes are always awkward – let’s just say that. They’re awful. It’s nobody’s favorite thing. I’m not giving you anything different from anything any other actor or actress has said. I’ve manage in my career to really skip through them, and there’s times in a script where my character has a love scene and I carefully address the director and say “Can we please cut this out? I feel that it’s gratuitous and there’s no need for it.” Thankfully that has happened.
I try to avoid them whenever I can, but I’ve done a few things along those lines which I believe have been appropriate for the films I’ve been in, but I’ve never done a simulated sex scene because I feel like they’re rarely appropriate.
Getting back to her character, we asked Eva if she think’s Romina actually loved Luke, or if it’s more the biological father talk she mentioned earlier:
Eva Mendes: It’s up to everybody to decide. I like when people come up to me and say “Oh she really loved him!” or contrarily say “No, she was just doing it for her son!” Really, I don’t even know, but I think certainly she was just a women in a very difficult predicament. I’m so happy I had that woman’s day at my house, it really gave a lot of insight.
Looking for even more character insight, we asked Eva’s thoughts on how her parenting went when the film does its final jump to the last act where we see her child grown up, because a good 15 years passes and we don’t hear much about what happened in the blank area:
Eva Mendes: Well I feel very protective and motherly right now, I feel [Luke’s kid] wasn’t that troubled! Oh my gosh, this is so funny, I’m feeling so overprotective! I’m want to talk about other character’s influences, no my own kid! [Laughs]
The truth is I think she just over-parented and at the time when we finally see her, she had decided “He’s a teenager, I’m going to let go and give him his space a bit.” There’s a couple scenes that were cut that show more interaction, and in one of those I smack him, and it was heartbreaking to smack [Dane DeHaan’s] little face, but it was a really hard scene where I was trying to tough love him. I think when we see Romina those 15 years later there’s a sense of going “OK, I don’t know what to do so I’m going to leave this alone because I’ve over-parented.” She has this alliance to Luke that I think is really beautiful.
Clearing up some future projects, we asked if she was going to be in the next Fast and Furious:
Eva Mendes: No.
“What about Clear History?”
Eva Mendes: Yes, Clear History! I just finished shooting with Larry David. I’m really excited about this you guys. It’s all improv, and definitely shot like Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Thanks so much to Eva Mendes for taking the time for this interview, and be sure to catch her in The Place Beyond The Pines when it opens March 29th!