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The Sentinel - Eva Longoria interview

The Sentinel, Eva Longoria

Compiled by Jack Foley

We talk to Eva Longoria about making the leap from TV to movies in The Sentinel, being a keen shot on the firing range and how her life has changed since the success of Desperate Housewives.

Q: What was it like finding out you had the role in The Sentinel with Michael Douglas and Kiefer Sutherland?
Eva Longoria: When I met Michael I could hardly speak I was so star struck. It’s so fantastic and a great honour. Just watching Michael working is amazing; he’s such a movie star. Michael and Kiefer are such inspiring people as well as actors. They are family men as well and it’s nice to know the business didn’t chew them up and spit them out.

Q: Were Michael and Kiefer surprised by your skills when it came to practicing at the shooting range?
Eva Longoria: I think they were a bit surprised that I was so good, yes, much better than them. They kept saying: “You’re embarrassing us!” It was funny. We went to the firing range to practice and all my shots were bull’s eyes. Kiefer’s shots were a little lower and then Michael’s weren’t even close. He would’ve killed so many civilians and bystanders if it was real. But I used to go target shooting all the time growing up, so I’m great with a gun. We’d shoot Coke cans and anything that exploded really. I can handle a gun, I can skin a deer, I can skin a pig and pluck a quail – you name it I’ve done it. The training was so easy for me. I’m pretty fit too. I work out every day and do 75 push ups a day.

Q: Why did you choose the role of Jill Marin in The Sentinel, I know you’ve been getting lots of film offers?
Eva Longoria: There is no sex at all and she’s so different from Gabrielle, so it was a new kind of image for me. You forget about me playing Gabrielle because Jill is tough; shooting people and protecting the President. She’s a very strong woman and I like her. It was refreshing to for me to do that and I hope the audience will say: “Wow, I didn’t know she could do that.” I’m in a suit the whole time; it’s sexy but there are no short skirts. I’m nobody’s love interest. I’m not kissing anyone. One of the reasons I picked it was that I got to show the audience that I can do something else.

Q: You have become a sex symbol and have been voted the sexiest woman in the world in several ‘men’s magazine’ polls. Have you always felt pretty?
Eva Longoria: No. I grew up as the ugly duckling, they called me ‘la prieta fea’, which means ugly dark one – that was my nickname. So when people call me a sex icon, it’s flattering but it never goes to my head because I never felt sexy as a teenager. I was a tomboy and any time anyone says something about me being hot, it makes me giggle.

Q: Did you dream of becoming an actress growing up in Texas?
Eva Longoria: I didn’t grow up wanting this at all. I wanted to be a sports trainer and I was actually an aerobics instructor. Then I won a scholarship to come to LA and compete in a modeling and talent completion and was amazed when I won it. I had never acted before in my life and won the acting category. I began to wonder what this is about and then decided to see what happened. That was nine years ago.

Q: How do you handle the hysteria and fascination with Desperate Housewives?
Eva Longoria: It’s sometimes hard to deal with when you’re out shopping at the supermarket. It’s amazing. But I can’t complain. I still can’t understand why anyone cares about what I do or what I say. I went to a photo shoot the other day and there were paparazzi outside. We pulled up and I asked: “Who’s here?” They replied: “You, that’s why they’re here.” I feel like I’m part of The Beatles. But I feel like it’s going to be very easy to stay grounded. You can’t believe your own hype, or you’d be let down if you blow yourself up. I’m not going to stop going to the supermarket just because the paparazzi follow me. I love to cook and a cook needs her ingredients!

Q: Why do you think Desperate Housewives is so popular?
Eva Longoria: People will always be interested in relationships, infidelity and sex and everything connected to things in their own lives. We don’t try to shock as much as drawing attention to the pent up frustrations women have to deal with. There’s a lot of satire and black humour and we deal with the basic problems facing married women.

Q: You are engaged to American basketball star Tony Parker, how important is your relationship at this point?
Eva Longoria: It’s my priority. He’s amazing and had never even heard of Desperate Housewives when we met. He took my breath away, I was just blown away because he is so good looking.

Q: Will you get married?
Eva Longoria: I hope so but Tony supports me in ways I’ve never felt supported, so whether I’m Mrs. Parker or just with Tony for the rest of my life, I’m fine.

Q: How are you balancing your work and love life?
Eva Longoria: I’m very efficient and the people who work with me always say that – they know when they have a day with me it’s going to be really exhausting because I love to fit as much in as possible. But when it comes to my personal life I’m actually very relaxed. I see Tony two or three days a week, I fly home to Texas and come back to work. He was just on the West Coast playing, so it’s been working out great. We have a lot of time together.

Q: What would you like to do next?
Eva Longoria: I want to play strong women. I would love to do a romantic comedy next; I love Vince Vaughan, Jim Carrey and Matthew McConaughey, maybe Hugh Grant. I really want to do more films instead of TV and get the opportunity to meet people like Michael Douglas and Kiefer Sutherland.

Read our review of The Sentinel

Michael Douglas interview