HFPA in Conversation: Eva Longoria, Renaissance Woman

by Kirpi Uimonen Ballesteros August 7, 2019
Actress Eva Longoria

armando gallo/hfpa

The world got to know Eva Longoria as Gabrielle "Gaby" Solis on Desperate Housewives.  She describes her eight seasons on Wisteria Lane as her film school.  I started to learn the industry and learn the business and that’s when I really decided I wanted to be a director and a producer.  I paid attention to where the cameras went, I shadowed directors, I asked questions, I was curious, I was just enamored by the filmmaking process.  And we shot on film up until season 6.  We were one of the last shows to transition to digital.  It was really such a great experience,” Longoria tells HFPA journalist Yenny Nun at Four Seasons hotel in Los Angeles. 

After Desperate Housewives, she starred, produced and directed shows like Telenovela, Devious Maids and the latest, Grand Hotel.  Now she is playing Dora’s mother in the family adventure Dora and the Lost City of Gold.  She enjoyed taking the backseat of running daily challenges on a set. “When I did Dora, I loved being on set and not thinking about where the camera went and not thinking about are we going to make the day or it’s getting dark, we’re not going to get the scene. ”

Dora and the Lost City of Gold is the first movie where she plays a mother while being a mom in real life.I all of a sudden had a mom compass and so every scene that I approached I was oh my gosh, I don’t think I would ever let my child do that and would we let Dora hold that snake and the director had to correct us and say, “Eva, this is Dora, it’s not Santiago.”  He had to keep reminding us, “Dora would do that, I don’t know about your child but Dora would do it.”

She was excited when she got the call to be Dora’s mom. “When it was announced my friends from England, Germany and France called me and said: ”You’re going to be Dora, we love Dora, my child loves Dora.”  And I said, “how do you know who Dora is?”  I thought she was only for the Latino community and I did not know she was a global icon and everybody knew her internationally.  That was really surprising to me that she taught English in other countries but in the United States she taught Spanish.”

What would she choose if she had to choose between acting, directing or producing? “I would choose all three.  Meaning, I have to produce something I’m in and probably direct.  Because I like to control the environment and the final product and I want to have a say in it and so for me my preference is to do all three, to be the producer, director, and actor in something. But if I’m not, I love acting.  Acting would still be my true passion.”

Listen to the podcast and hear what it was like to film on the Gold Coast in northern Australia; why she entered a beauty pageant in college; what she studied at university; how her parents reacted when she told them she was going to pursue acting; what kind of family she comes from; what kind of work she did in Los Angeles before she got a job as an actor and why she kept her day job for a while; why her mom thought Eva won an Oscar when she got a job on The Young and the Restless; how she built her resume; how she helps other women; why she fell in love with the Spanish TV show Gran Hotel and wanted to produce and direct an English version; how her sister influenced Eva to give back and get involved with different charities; how she met her husband José Antonio Bastón; how she feels being a mother; why she gave her son the name Santiago; what she thinks about the world’s political situation and global warming; and what she is doing next.