Eva Mendes discusses ‘The Place Beyond the Pines’ and aging on-screen

Eva Mendes plays a harried waitress in "The Place Beyond the Pines." Credit: Atsushi Nishijima
Eva Mendes plays a harried waitress in “The Place Beyond the Pines.”
Credit: Atsushi Nishijima

The last time Eva Mendes was seen on screens was in “Holy Motors,” in which she played a model kidnapped by a belligerent underground manbeast with a curved goatee. She had no lines and barely broke her icy model facade. It was a kind of commentary, if perhaps accidental, on the career of Mendes, a beautiful woman and, earlier last decade, an It Girl — a designation that tends to stick for three or so years before being unceremoniously taken away.

“I’m an actress,” Mendes insists, with a relaxed smile. “I’m certainly not a glamazon. I turn it on when I have to, if I have to wear something on the red carpet to sell a movie. That’s not where the art lies.”

Mendes has done her fair share of questionable Hollywood product (“2 Fast 2 Furious,” “Hitch,” “Ghost Rider”). But she’s always made room for more challenging fare, such as “We Own the Night,” “Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans” and “Training Day,” in which she played Denzel Washington’s mistress. “I was as raw as you could be in that movie,” she recalls. “That’s what I gravitate towards. When you do the bigger Hollywood films they like you a little more cleaned up.”

She’s now in “The Place Beyond the Pines,” a three-part megadrama in which she plays a small town waitress who sired a baby with a carnival motorcycle racer played by her real-life boyfriend Ryan Gosling. “I feel like I’ve been prepping for this role my whole life, whether I realized it or not,” she says.

The film spans 15 years, requiring her to don some light aging makeup. “I didn’t think of it as aging. I thought of it as a pain manifesting its way through time,” she says. She still had tricks to make her look — and act — older. “I had garments I would wear under my clothes to make me feel a certain way.” She even shaved her eyebrows down a very thin line — in the middle of the night, without telling her director, Derek Cianfrance. “These were things that would suggest this is a woman who abandoned herself. That’s where I went with it.”

Like everyone in the cast, Mendes has raved about Cianfrance (“Blue Valentine,” also with Gosling) as a director who places actors front and center. “He’s my dream director,” she says. “I’ve never worked with anyone lie this. He creates this world that feels so incredibly natural. So real.”

Mendes stayed at the Holiday Inn in Schenectady, where the film was shot. Cianfrance had her work at the diner that employs her character, where she talked to the waitresses about their lives and histories. He even had her cast her own mom.

“A lot of times they way it goes is you get to the location and it’s the first time you’ve seen it,” she says. “You’re shooting at your [character’s] house, and it’s the first tme you’ve seen it. So I would hang out at the house I had. He’s about creating history.”

“I have a theory,” she says. “It’s very difficult to not be good in a Derek Cianfrance film. He has it all there for you, It’s just about tapping into it.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.