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You may still think of Eva Mendes as the woman from Hitch, or from the shampoo commercials, or from tabloid-ready relationships. But the actress who could easily spend a career coasting on her beauty has taken the last 4 years to make a series of risky and under seen films, from the gonzo Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans with Werner Herzog to the intimate Last Night with Massy Tadjedin to the surreal French experiment Holy Motors with Leos Carax.
Now the latest acclaimed director she can add to her Rolodex is Derek Cianfrance, who broke out with Blue Valentine several years ago and who is back with the sprawling, emotional, and really good The Place Beyond the Pines. Mendes plays Romina, a woman who hooked up with Ryan Gosling's character Luke while he was in town with a traveling carnival. When Luke comes back in town Romina reveals she's given birth to their son, setting Luke off on a quest to provide for his family in all the wrong ways.
With her segment of Pines set in the early 90s, Mendes told me about the secret behind the godawful jean shorts she wears in the film, plus why she's allowed herself to make fun, obscure movies instead of worrying about staying in the public eye. Check it all out in the video above, and see her, Gosling and the rest of the amazing cast in The Place Beyond the Pines, which is currently in limited release.