CATEGORIES Interviews
"If I'm going to be emotionally naked, sometimes a script will call for me to be physically naked as well."

For an actress who appeared in just one movie ('The Women') in 2008, Eva Mendes made plenty of headlines. A reported stint in rehab, which she will neither confirm nor deny; a topless photo spread in Italian Vogue that made the viral rounds faster than you can say 'Ghost Rider'; and a steamy Calvin Klein ad campaign, deemed too racy and banned by U.S. networks.

And now, on Christmas Day, she returns to the big screen in Frank Miller's 'The Spirit,' and her presence is undoubtedly a nice present for moviegoers who enjoy a side of sexiness with their superhero movies.

She plays Sand Saref, a jewel thief so hot she can melt the hearts of the undead -- namely the eponymous crime fighter (Gabriel Macht). Mendes dished with Moviefone about re-teaming with Scarlett Johansson, why she has no problem with artistic nudity ... and why she thinks certain body parts should be in proportion.


Eva Mendes Interview

    For an actress who appeared in just one movie ('The Women') in 2008, Eva Mendes made plenty of headlines. A reported stint in rehab, which she will neither confirm nor deny; a topless photo spread in Italian Vogue that made the viral rounds faster than you can say 'Ghost Rider'; and a steamy Calvin Klein ad campaign, deemed too racy and banned by U.S. networks.

    So, yes, '08 was noteworthy for Mendes. And now, on Christmas Day, she returns to the big screen in Frank Miller's 'The Spirit,' and her presence is undoubtedly a nice present for moviegoers who enjoy a side of sexiness with their superhero movies.

    She plays Sand Saref, a jewel thief so hot she can melt the hearts of the undead -- namely the eponymous crime fighter (Gabriel Macht). Mendes dished with Moviefone about re-teaming with Scarlett Johansson, why she has no problem with artistic nudity ... and why she thinks certain body parts should be in proportion.
    --By Kevin Polowy

    WireImage.com

    1. Did the huge success of 'Sin City' factor in to you taking a role in 'The Spirit'?

    Well, the success ... sure. But more than that it was, I remember when I first saw 'Sin City' I was like "Oh my God!" Just to really feel like you can escape is very exciting for me. When you can go into somebody's mind, into their world. I'm a big [Jean-Pierre] Jeunet fan, you know, 'City of Lost Children' and 'Amelie.' And that's how I feel when I watch his films, I feel like it's a different world. So, I had that feeling, and I thought OK, so Rob Rodriguez we know is amazing, and I'd worked with him before. And then Frank Miller, I educated myself about him, and I put him on my radar, and I was like, this is someone I definitely want to work with. So when it came up, it was kind of a no-brainer.

    Lionsgate

    2. You worked with co-star Scarlett Johannson before, in 'My Brother the Pig.'

    [Laughs] It was my second job ever. She was a pro. She still is, of course, but she was [even at age 13]. She was just really amazing to work with because she was like this mini-adult. So to reunite with her [in 'The Spirit'] was really special. And at that point it was interesting because when Scarlett and I sat down, Frank had not yet really written her character. It wasn't fleshed out, and there was never a scene with her character and my character. But he saw our dynamic together, and he was like "Well, I definitely want to capture some of this."' She's like my wiser little sister in a way.

    Lionsgate

    3. Was there anything you found surprising about her, working together again?

    Yeah, that she's very maternal. She's very sweet, and she's very maternal. And of course, she has this amazing look of just being completely, not only beautiful, but extremely, extremely sexy. She just oozes sexuality. Yet there is such a maternal quality in her that is so beautiful that I think people would be kind of surprised and impressed by. And she's smart, but I think you can tell that she's smart. She's a smart cookie.

    Getty Images

    4. With a movie like 'The Spirit,' are you ready to handle the sort of love or hate that can come from hardcore comic lovers and fan boys?

    No, I'm not! The good thing -- and I'm going to be totally honest, and it's going to make me sound like a total wimp -- the good thing is that I think that the fans, the hardcore fans that I respect so much, because they know their stuff way more than I do in that world, I think that they tend to blame the director more if it's a total debacle [laughs]. So I think maybe I'm alleviated of that a little bit, and they know I didn't write it, you know what I mean? [laughs] But I hope that they know that I give it my all.

    Lionsgate

    5. So what was your preference this year, 'Dark Knight' or 'Iron Man'?

    That's really hard. Can I have, like, 'Iron Man' on Friday, and then 'Dark Knight' on Wednesday? [Laughs] God, I don't know. I think that 'Iron Man' was just a really fun film, but I think 'The Dark Knight' was a little deeper.

    Warner Bros.

    6. Could you ever see yourself pulling a Charlize Theron and completely uglifying yourself for a role?

    Oh yeah, of course! I'm an actress. I can see myself doing anything. Absolutely. People always say, "Well, aren't you tired of playing the sexy roles?" And it's like, well, first of all, there's not just one facet; there's not just one face to sexy. There's many different kinds of things. And I'm not ever playing sexy. I'd shoot myself. I'm playing a character, and if she happens to walk a certain way, or wear a certain dress, or disrobe, then that happens to be sexy. But I never think, 'Oh, this is a sexy character.' Just like I never think this is a bad character or a good character. I never generalize that.

    Fox

    7. You made headlines this year for some very revealing shoots. First there was the Italian Vogue photos, then a banned Calvin Klein ad. Are you collecting proof that America is too sexually conservative?

    You know what? I'm American, and I'm as proud as you get. But I think it's easier for us to portray violence, and then to be OK with it, than it is for some reason to portray nudity. And look: I don't like gratuitous nudity, and I believe that I've never been a part of gratuitous nudity, in a film or in a photo shoot. I feel like all my stuff has always been, if not artful, if not artsy, you know, tasteful. I think we're a bit conservative when it comes to nudity and sexuality. And it's so funny because I'd much rather see a beautiful nude of a woman than see these girls with these Triple-D fake boobs in a bikini. To me, that's more vulgar than seeing a beautiful nude of a natural body.

    Calvin Klein

    8. So it's a matter of taste?

    Yeah. It's like, who cares if you actually see the nipple in the nude? It's a beautiful, natural nude. Versus, you know, women in these tiny, little, itsy bitsy bikinis with boobs that really don't belong on their body. And I'm not against fake breasts at all; I'm not against augmentation. But I think when you get to that point of vulgarity where it's not in proportion, that's more vulgar to me than a beautiful nude.

    Calvin Klein

    9. Is it true that you said something along the lines of "Actresses who don't want to do nude scenes should be nuns"?

    That doesn't sound like anything I would say. But I think that a lot of actresses look down and frown upon other actresses doing nudity. And I think in a film, baring your soul is baring your soul, and sometimes it entails nudity, and that doesn't mean that you're not as mysterious or you're lesser than [others]. I think that can add to your performance, because it's a scary thing putting yourself out there. And if I'm going to be emotionally naked, sometimes a script will call for me to be physically naked as well. I would never frown upon it. And I think in Hollywood some actresses do frown upon it. They say it like an honor: "I would never do nudity!" And it's like, oh come on! I'm an actress, you know, I'll do what it takes to make my part as honest as it can be. So I probably said something like that.

    Sony