Eva Mendes wants to play Maria Callas, thinks she’s like Callas


Eva Mendes… or Raquel Welsh? You decide. Eva usually has a whiff of Raquel to her, but they really styled her to look like a 1960s bombshell, didn’t they? Anyway, this is Eva for the July issue of W Magazine. In the full W Magazine piece, the writer falls into that tired and bullsh-t line of Eva being too beautiful to be recognized as a good actress. You know what? I’ve seen a few movies with Eva, and she’s not a good actress. She’s pretty, and sexy, and in an okay part, she can play sexy and pretty successfully. But let’s not pretend she’s Meryl Streep or anything. Why do people always do that with people like Eva, or Megan Fox, or Jessica Biel? I guess they haven’t done anything of note besides being pretty. And therein lies the contradiction – if Eva (or Megan, or Biel) were so concerned about being “the hot girl” why do they always play into it, over and over and over?


On her Calvin Klein ads: “There I was,” she says, “all greased up, my head thrown back, and I thought, Who are you? Are you kidding me?” Later that day the curvy beauty, now ensconced in a banquette at the Carlyle hotel restaurant, laughs as she recounts how disconnected the sighting made her feel. “There’s that little surreal moment,” Mendes says. “I’m proud of it, absolutely, because why not? I can access that side quite easily, and I enjoy it, but certainly how boring if that was all I had to offer. The goal is to explore all sides.”

Nobody understands how funny she is: “It’s very hard for me to be seen as funny, and the truth is, that’s where I’m most comfortable,” she says when talk turns to her latest film, The Other Guys, which opens in August and also stars Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg. Mendes plays über woman Sheila Gamble, a Knicks dancer–turned–doctor married to a dunderhead of a forensics cop (Ferrell) who doesn’t realize what a babe his wife is. “These are the two comments I get from people when they meet me,” says Mendes, who lives in Los Angeles but is in New York for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute gala. “‘You seem a lot taller on film,’ and ‘You’re funny.’ If people hang out with me, they see I’m a ham.”

On her comedic turn in The Other Guys: “It was completely liberating,” she says of the opportunity to play in another key. “Never have I had so much fun with a character and felt so natural at it. Had I done this movie three years ago, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to throw it back at Will, and now, if anything, I was overly confident. I didn’t know when to stop!”

On doing nudity for a part: “I’ve never had a problem with nudity, but I don’t put it out there without a reason,” says Mendes. “I’m not an exhibitionist. But, honestly, for my art I’ll do anything, almost. I’ll go there.”

Eva is “incredibly calculated” about her career: “I know I walk a fine line between being a respected actor and being what they call a sex symbol,” she says. “It’s a hard one to walk if you want to be known as a real, credible actor. But I’ve never felt objectified. Nothing you see me do is an accident. I might act like it’s an accident, but the opposite is true. I’m incredibly calculated when it comes to my career.”

She has a boyfriend and she wants to play Maria Callas: She met her current love, music producer George Augusto, shortly after high school, and the two now own a midcentury house in the Hollywood Hills. To hear Mendes tell it, her idea of a fun night is staying home with her dog, Hugo, a Belgian Malinois, to watch the episodes of 60 Minutes she Tivo’ed. Lately she has been listening to recordings of Maria Callas, whom Mendes says she’d love to play onscreen. “You can catch me at a very dark hour listening to an aria from Norma and crying my f—in’ eyes out,” she says. “I love doing that.”

More on Maria Callas: She’s also fascinated by the diva’s decision to abandon her career for shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis. “She gave it all up in the name of love, only to be left because she gave it up,” says Mendes, who is developing a project based on a Callas biography by Nicholas Gage. She admits that the story has become something of an obsession for her, seeing in it, perhaps, resonances with her own dual passions. “I’m a modern woman in the sense of I take care of myself, I’m fiercely independent and I’m really ambitious,” she says. “Yet I have these old-school thoughts ingrained in my mind. I do like to belong to a man. I love having a man in my life and being his woman at the end of the day. I know it’s a dichotomy.”

On becoming a mother: “I’ve never had a longing to have children,” she says. “I’ve been thinking about it lately because it’s like, Oh, God, am I going to do this? I don’t know is the answer.”

[From W Magazine]

Can I say something? Eva would be a terrible Callas. Just awful. I know that sounds mean, and I seriously don’t mean Eva any harm, because she’s actually pretty harmless, but please don’t let her play Callas. Callas was an old-school diva, a larger-than-life presence, all tragedy, all drama, all passion, all of the time. Eva is… pretty. That’s it. She can’t play the part. Throw a black wig on Meryl Streep, and she could do it. Not Eva. Here’s an old-school photo of Callas:

Greek-American operatic soprano Maria Callas (1923 - 1977) arrives at Idlewild Airport in New York, to appear on the television show 'Person to Person'.   (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)


W Magazine photos courtesy of W online.

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38 Responses to “Eva Mendes wants to play Maria Callas, thinks she’s like Callas”

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  1. lmae says:

    Yeah, Maria Callas did more than sit around in underwear fondling her own boobs. Eva Mendes is a very attractive woman who has made herself a decent career. Not much of an actor and certainly not someone to portray the intensely charismatic opera star.

  2. bite me says:

    i dont think eva is THAT pretty…but she does have a smoking body

  3. Tess says:

    When the Jackie/Ari/Maria story was big, I remember thinking that Maria was incredibly ugly, even grotesque. It seemed like a no-brainer that Ari would drop-kick her out of his life for Jackie.

    Maybe it was because I was only a teenager and her looks were too womanly and exotic for my taste at that time.

    Funny, because I now find her absolutely beautiful. And her story is a great story. If it’s made into a movie I HOPE thay do her justice.

    PS—not as a star turn for Madame Gristle, either.

  4. L says:

    Whatever, Fanny Ardant already did an amazing job playing her in Callas Forever. Eva couldn’t pull that off.

    Plus, Callas wasn’t this young slim sexy thing. She was fuller (not fat by any means), but lost a lot of weight in her 30′s to 1) compete with the younger divas and 2) Keep aristotle onassis around. Eva’s to young and not nearly classy enough to play her.

  5. tripmom says:

    ha ha ha ha ha. her art. she’d do anything for her art. yep, she’s a true artist.

  6. Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

    Well, they both had addiction issues, but I’m not sure how that translates to bel canto.

  7. danielle says:

    Wow – lot of Eva hate! I liked her in Hitch. Don’t think I’ve seen her in anything else tho.

  8. Hautie says:

    Well I remember being annoyed when Madonna did Evita/Eva Peron. And she manage to pull it off without completely embarrassing herself.

    So Eva may be able to do Callas. Who knows.

    But I would pay to see the whole triangle of Jackie/Ari/Maria done well.

  9. prissa says:

    She’s boring IMO. Not a good actress either. *meh* *shrug*

  10. Maritza says:

    Penelope Cruz would be a better choice she’d be a great Maria Callas. Maybe Robert DeNiro could play Aristotle Onassis.

  11. Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

    Not hate, just a bit of joking about. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her anything but that Will Smith video, so I don’t know what her acting is like. I never saw the last Callas movie, but my guess would be that the danger in taking on that role would be that it could lend itself to scenery-chewing. Lots of sadness in a personal life plus a gussied-up imitation of iconic figures can turn into hysterical Oscar-baiting, I guess. Obviously, I’m not an actor.

    Staggeringly talented lady, but Leontyne Price was always my favourite that bel canto rep. Nothing wrong with her in the least–she earned that title of ‘La Divina’ and deserved it–but something about Price and Verdi, well, it’s good listening.

    People can get really territorial about opera/opera singers, to the point of irrationality. There are a lot of people out there who think Jessye Norman’s Four Last Songs recording is nothing to write home about: I can’t respond to that in a more eloquent way than, ‘huh?’ That’s some high-powered crazy talking to me but taste is taste. I’d guess the main quibble is that it seems odd to hire someone to lip sync. Yes, there were the hired hands who dubbed over all of those musicals, but you can’t really get away with that with opera singers who train for decades and have highly distinctive voices, can you? Who knows? It reminds me a bit of the Michelangelo’s ‘Terrence’ joke, but it’s a good joke.

  12. Tia C says:

    I don’t see any reason why Eva couldn’t play Maria Callas if she wanted to. She’s not a bad actress – she’s better than a lot of others, IMO. And her look would work. I say go for it, Eva!

  13. tooey says:

    Eva can’t act; she’s like Jessica Alba. Her hotness is all she has, which is why she gladly plays into it with being greased up, open-mouthed and finger sucking in every photo shoot. She’s a one trick pony. But a girl has to pay the bills…

  14. Iris says:

    she reallllyyy wants the public to know how funny she is. she’s probably not funny. maybe a ham, though.

  15. Lou Dobbs Flour Power says:

    I find her so ugly, WTF is her appeal? I guess beauty really is subjective because to me, Eva looks like a man. Whatever….

  16. jover says:

    I agree with most posters Eva is a lousy actress and if she were so good why is she doing all this faux edgy and sexy modeling stuff instead of some real acting or maybe some theatre. Terrible idea it would come off like a bad SNL skit.

  17. alexandra says:

    For all the beauties behind their computers. Envy, envy, envy

  18. blue_planet says:

    I’d switch sides for her, I’m not kidding. Her and Cate Blanchett. Only them. They’ve just got that something.

  19. tooey says:

    @alexandra, not envy. She’s beautiful for sure, But STFU about not being taken seriously as an actress. Stop being photographed all orgasmic all the time and maybe someone will take you seriously. That’s all. Stop whining…

  20. Carrie says:

    Did anyone see Natalie Portman on “Inside the Actor’s Studio”? Well, James Lipton asked her, as an actress known for being attractive, if it was easier or harder to be beautiful as an actress.
    Her answer was almost immediate, and the face she made as she gave it was priceless: obviously it is easier to be beautiful in Hollywood, as it opens doors and gets you parts. She said that the serious actress response is probably to say that it is a distraction and takes away from the work, but it is a necessity for getting the work in the first place.

    I found it so refreshing that an actress is finally admitting this!! I’m so sick of these beautiful actresses with middling careers blaming it on their beauty- YOU ONLY HAVE A CAREER IN THE MOVIES BECAUSE YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!! If you weren’t beautiful, you wouldn’t be on the big screen (or the small screen, either!)

  21. original kate says:

    isabella rosellini would make a good maria, i think. but i could also see penelope cruz, if she gained about 30 pounds.

  22. tooey says:

    Amen Carrie (and Natalie!)…

  23. maria says:

    Penelope Cruz would make a good Maria Callas.

  24. KLaw says:

    Penelope Cruz could to the drama, but I would laugh to see her faking the singing. Ms. Callas sang like a roaring train, and that takes more than personality. I just can’t imagine Callas’ voice coming out of a tiny actresses’ body. I loved Fanny Ardant in the role, because she had the charisma, but when she faked the singing it was painful.

  25. jane16 says:

    Love Maria Callas. My favorite. I don’t think anyone famous should play her.

  26. ohmegod says:

    Oh wow.. she is TOTALLY gorgeous!

  27. Ally says:

    All the actresses who complain about this (as well as the beefcakes who do the same) would better spend their time in university and acting classes… then they might bring greater depth to their performances. I like Eva Mendes, but she’s average at best as an actress.

  28. Camille says:

    She’s a gorgeous woman, and these pics of her are just stunning, and I also appreciate her honesty about not really wanting kids (*cough* certain other actresses, thats how you answer that question *cough*), but she is a terrible actress and should maybe just stick to modeling so that she doesn’t have to speak.

  29. nofreelunch says:

    LOVE EVA, but her acting range is pretty limited. i don’t think she can act even at the JLO level and that’s really saying something. Callas needs Marion Cotillard at a minimum.

  30. Claire78 says:

    I have no idea why this woman is relevant. She should have just been a model then we wouldn’t have to listen to her. She always struck me as arrogant

  31. la chica says:

    Michelle Lea (Glee) can play Callas in the earlier, plumper, more insecure phase of her career. she would have to be willing to put on some weight but can keep the same face.

    Penelope can play Callas after she lost the weight and started attracting famous lovers.

    Zeta Jones can play her as she is aging but is still a total diva.

    i agree that Eva looks like her but that would be miscasting. i hope that this doesn’t turn out to be another Sean Young public Catwoman audition. lol.

  32. Jillian says:

    Let’s have an undiscovered actress/opera singer play Maria Callas in a movie. If Eva Mendes really cared about representing Callas accurately she’d do that instead of famewhoreing.

  33. Fabulous says:

    Eva Mendes = the most beautiful woman in the world. Probably.

  34. ViktoryGin says:


    Maria Callas was a highly temperamental and complex personality who seemed to spew fire and throw shadows simulatenously. You need an actress who can at once be vulnerable yet hard as stone. Who’s autocratic yet dependent. A person must also possess profound creative and expressive ability to tackle Callas, especially because Callas, herself, was a performer of the highest caliber and controlled her voice with iron-clad discipline. Callas studied her craft for 8 hours a day, every day. And to think that Eva thinks so highly of herself that she could channel this woman who has gone down in history as the single-greatest opera singer of the 20th century is just CRIMINAL to those of us who know better. In fact, what made Callas so special was her dramatic capabilities. I understand why Eva is so inspired by her. Callas possessed the kind of dramatic flair and timbre to strip paint from walls. Eva doesn’t even begin to approach this. Even Judi Dench when she has spoken about Callas spoke of her in awe and deference. And Judi Dench would be a much better choice if she were the right age. So, Eva, sit down and remember your place among the marginally talented. Rant over.

  35. ViktoryGin says:

    @ Jo Mama Besser

    Price possessed the more conventionally attractive voice, but was always a rather safe singer. Hence why her career lasted as long as it did.

    Callas’ voice was never “beautiful”, but most opera singers in the dramatic fach aren’t blessed with “beauty” of tone. Fair price to pay for the sheer volume and power that they have. Price was a lirico-spinto…so she could approach some of the bigger Verdi roles and still keep it lyrically pleasing. Callas never wanted pretty. She wanted power and substance. She even said this when people compared her to Renata Tebaldi, her contemporary. Tebaldi had the “prettier” tone. Callas had the power. When people express their love for Callas (and indeed it is often in the form of shameless rabid worship) it’s her emotional substance that they admire(and technial effiency).

  36. Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

    For me, it isn’t a matter of removing power to make it pretty, or setting up some sort of power vs sensitivity debacle, I was only commenting on this specific case. Case in point, Britten wrote Peter Grimes with Peter Pears’ voice in mind, who I guess would’ve been the ‘Price’ when compared to John Vickers’s ‘Callas’. It’s Vickers’s interpretation that I prefer. It’s just so, so unsettling and menacing–and it’s great.

    Apparently, the whole debate over Strauss’ Four Last Songs is still going
    (Elisabeth S. vs Jessye Norman’). People who prefer the latter often say that her wispy delivery and rapid/ subtle shifts in tone colour make it gentler and more like a lullabye. It makes me want to defenestrate myself. Of course, who am I to judge her? No one, but still, she is one in a very exclusive lists of opera singers whose voices I actively hate. Others say that Norman’s voice is too powerful and sacrifices too much in order to prove her bombast. Funny you should bring up spinto–as that is how Jessye Norman self-identifies now. Now that she teaches, curates, and does concert material, she doesn’t have to worry about being boxed in or shut out concerning her roles.

    To each his own, I guess. I can’t even remember how many times I replayed ‘Beim Schlafengehen’ the first time I heard it. Heck, part of me thinks it should be illegal for anyone else to record it. Schwartz-y? Couldn’t make it through the song. Comparing the two–in my little opinion–is like comparing a Rolls Royce to a congested duck.

    Doesn’t even matter, really. Hell isn’t other people, it’s floor-length scarves and 1.5 litre bottles of water.

    ‘What are you playing?’
    ‘The notes,’
    ‘The right ones?’
    ‘Why’s your piano out of tune?’
    ‘It’s not.’
    ‘Why are you playing it at that tempo?’
    ‘You asked.’
    ‘Are you in the right key?’
    ‘Why aren’t you counting?’
    ‘Why can’t you?’

    Could be worse, could be Kathleen Battle. Why did she have to muck up her career like that. Huge, HUGE waste.

  37. Paddy says:

    I’ve never seen Eva Mendes do anything or heard of her until now. She is pretty. If she owns the rights to Greek Fire and is the person developing it then the reason for her playing Callas is obvious. The only way I could see ANYONE casting her in that role. I wish her well and hope she can pull it off. Luckily others are working on projects about Callas and the other Eva…Eva Green certainly looks like a more interesting choice, though I’ve never seen her so anything either. Look, if Jane Seymour can play Callas using the dubest – I don’t know what it was accent – and win an Emmy for it. Then anything is possible. (Love Jane and she was actually pretty good except for the accent choice) Hint to Eva if she reads this…Callas was an American and while had a very effected way of speaking did not speak with an accent!