Today we have an award-winning actress, director, producer, philanthropist and activist by the name of Eva Longoria.
Eva Longoria has long established herself as one of the most sought after television directors in Hollywood. Named by Variety as one of their most anticipated directors of 2021, Longoria continues to hone her craft, seek new projects, and expand opportunities for others by paving the way for future women and minority producers, directors and industry leaders in Hollywood and beyond.
Eva became well known worldwide thanks to Desperate Housewives, where she played a main character, Gabrielle Solis.
As an trailblazing actress, director, producer, philanthropist and activist, Eva Longoria has become one the most significant trailblazers behind the camera. For over a decade, she has been directing and choosing projects that have purpose and are focused on elevating the stories of the Latinx and other underrepresented communities.
Her new film La Guerra Civil is in premiering at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.
This feature-length documentary follows the epic rivalry between iconic boxers Oscar De La Hoya and Julio César Chávez in the 1990s sparked a cultural divide between Mexican nationals and Mexican-Americans. A chronicle of a battle that was more than a boxing rivalry, and examining a fascinating slice of the Latino experience in the process.
Listen to more great episodes at Next Level Soul Podcast
Follow Along with the Transcript – Episode 023
Alex Ferrari 0:09
I'd like to welcome to the show Eva Longoria. How're you doing Eva?
Eva Longoria 0:13
I'm good. How are you?
Alex Ferrari 0:14
I am doing fantastic. Thank you so much for coming on the show.
Eva Longoria 0:18
Thank you. Thanks for talking about this amazing documentary.
Alex Ferrari 0:24
I loved it. By the way, I absolutely loved it. I knew about it. I knew about the story, just being Latino in general. And I would tell like I told my dad only Do you remember this fight? Because if you're Latino, you remember that fight. But I didn't really understand the whole back and forth between the subcultures if you will of Mexico, Mexican American. But before we get started, we're going to talk all about the documentary, is it how did you go from almost becoming a physical therapist to becoming an actor?
Eva Longoria 0:58
My dream was to work for the Dallas Cowboys. Like I was like, I'm a physical trainer for the Dallas Cowboys. And I've arrived I've arrived. I was in a beauty pageant. It was a Scholarship Pageant in Texas. And my final year in college, I ran out of money, I ran out a Pell Grant, like, I had no way to finish my senior year and my friends like, hey, why don't you enter the Scholarship Pageant? I was like, what's that? And she's like, you know, you. If you win, you get money for school. So I did. And I was like, I've never been in and I'm from Texas, like, we're born and bred football and pageants. And I never seen one. I never been in one. And so my goal was to win fourth place, because I was like, if I could just give fourth place. It was like books, right? I was like, Hey, I've covered my books. And then like, third place was like, books, tuition. And then, you know, second place was books, tuition boarding. And then the first place was books, tuition boarding and a stipend. Like I was like, Look, I aint aimin high. I just want, I just want my books, right. And then they called the winners, and they were like, fourth places, so and so. And I was like, Ah, man, I didn't get it. And I ended up winning the whole thing. And I was like, oh, okay, that oh, cool, cool. I got I can pay my senior. And then that pageant made me I had it was like a feeder to go into the next level. And I was like, Oh, I don't I'm not make this a thing on my tuition. And so I had to go into the next one, which was Miss Corpus Christi, where I'm from, and I won that one. And, and literally, my mom was like, This is not your food, like you cannot enter one more page. And I'm like, I don't want to I don't know what's happening. I don't know. Especially growing up as laplata FEHA, which is the ugly dark one. And I in that prize package, Miss Corpus Christi was a trip to Los Angeles. And that was the first time I was like, Oh, that'd be fun. I've never been outside of Texas. And, and it was like a talent competition in LA that we had to go to. And so I came and then i i won the talent competition. And I was like, What is going on? I don't know what I'm doing and and literally, agents and managers wanted to sign me and because it was like, it was like the Latin craze. I remember. It was like Ricky Martin,
Alex Ferrari 3:18
Ricky Martin, Jennifer Lopez Enrique Iglesias. Yes. Yeah.
Eva Longoria 3:21
Livin La vida loca was, you know, the hit song at the time. And they were like, Oh, my God, if you're Latina, you're gonna like clean up here in Hollywood. They're looking for Latinas. And I was like, Oh, okay. And I just live on one day to the next set. Okay, I think I'm gonna be an actor, just like that. But it was because I had my bachelor's degree that I was like, I can get a job anywhere. It's not like I'm going to be a starving actor, I can go get a job. So I had a lot of confidence that I would be okay. But still not knowing, you know, the industry or anything. I had $23 in my bank account.
Alex Ferrari 3:52
Now in you decided that, you know, you just like I heard somewhere that you just called up your parents is like, I'm staying. I'm not I'm not going. I'm not flying back.
Eva Longoria 4:00
I didn't even fly back. That's when I moved. I didn't even fly back to go, Okay, let me prepare for this move. No, I just, I came here for three days. And on the third day, I said, I think I'm going to stay. And my mom and my mom was like, Okay, you're going to do what I said, I think I'm gonna be an actor. I mean, I don't know what that means. But I think I'm going to, I'm going to just stay a little longer, see what happens. And my mom said that, well, you know, at least you can get a job, you have your degree, and I said, Yeah, I'm gonna go get a job. And, you know, went got a job and then became a background actor, and, you know, atmosphere actor for a couple years cuz I was like, let me let me be on a set. I don't even I've never been on a set. Maybe I should figure that out.
Alex Ferrari 4:41
Right, right. Now, did you did you feel because I mean, everything seems very serendipitous that you've just this story you've told me did you feel like there was some force something guiding you during this process?
Eva Longoria 4:54
It's so funny. You say that. I always say that. I was like, I don't know what it was. But there was something just that felt right every step of the way, like they were like I said, I'm going to stay. I wasn't scared. I didn't know anybody. I didn't have a place to live. I didn't have money and I was like, I'll be okay. I maybe it's naive, you know? naive.
Alex Ferrari 5:17
Eva Longoria 5:18
It's bliss like if I knew the dangers
Alex Ferrari 5:23
Right, exactly. No, it's like so any any actress is living listening right now. Please don't do what Eva did. Don't just
Eva Longoria 5:30
Don't do it. No, I had like five roommates in a one bedroom of people who like hey, come live with us. I go okay. Like not knowing them. I was like, I could have been murdered. I mean, you know what I mean? Like if
Alex Ferrari 5:40
Something was something was guiding and protecting you during this process, because the story that you just told me it's ends and Dateline.
Eva Longoria 5:51
Well, that in like, there's no recipe for success in Hollywood. So let's say you do exactly what I did. Yeah, he wouldn't get the same result. It doesn't work that way.
Alex Ferrari 6:01
No, it's different timing different place different everything. I mean, you hit that the right point, right time, but like you were saying, it took you a little while before you started getting some jobs. How did you keep going? Like, just I mean, I'm assuming like, I always treat that when I'm ever I'm casting for a movie. I'm always treat. I treat actors with such respect, because it's so hard, and going out on auditions and getting beat up and, and people just walking in and like, Oh, you're to this or you're to that, and it's just so it's so rough. How did you keep going when there was no real signs that this was the right path for you.
Eva Longoria 6:34
Right. 100%! Well, you know, I, when I came to Hollywood, I went to a temp agency to get a job because I was like, well, they'll have a job for me tomorrow. And that company said, Why don't you work here? And I said, What is What do you guys do? And they were like that were headhunters. You find people jobs. And you know, it's like matchmaking job, people. You know? And I go, Okay, I mean, not knowing anything, but I was so good at it. I made a lot of money. So again, I wasn't ever the struggling actor. I was so good. I was like, This is so easy this head on. But I just, I knew how to find match people up with jobs and all my actor friends were jobless. So I'm like, I got tons of supply, you know. And, and because of that, I got an apartment, I had a car, I paid off my student debt. I paid off my credit card debt. I had headshots, I took acting classes. I you know, I really invested all anything that I made back into myself. Right. And, and it was through one of those workshops or seminars or something that a casting director saw me and said, Hey, you should audition for young and the restless. And I was like, okay, and, and did and then that was like my big break was young and the restless. And, and it paid so badly. It was like two cents for the week that I kept my headhunting job. So I was a headhunter in my dressing room at young in the restless, because it just, it was like, I was not making enough young, the restless to quit my job for for two years. I did this did both jobs.
Alex Ferrari 8:10
Talk about hustle.
Eva Longoria 8:12
Yeah, I know. That's another thing is like it is about hustle. And it's about, you know, being resourceful. And that's life, by the way that if I if you dropped me in the middle of Paris, I'm going to figure it out. Right? I speak the language, I don't know. But I'm going to eat now many well, and I'm going to be I'm gonna figure it out. And that's I think what's missing a lot from a lot of the younger generation today is they're just not that resourceful. And they have all the tools in the world at their fingertips. I didn't have an iPhone. I had a Thomas guide, and a printout from Google that I had to follow, you know. And so, yeah, it was like, Oh, if I had the tools that you have today, you know, God, I would have gone far.
Alex Ferrari 8:53
Oh, my God. I mean, same here. I mean, my first directors will cost 50 grand because I've to shoot an on 35 You know, and it was like, now we just grab a phone because you'd be shooting commercials and music videos and short films all day. There's so much technology. I think it's because you know, you and I are of similar vintage. So you know, we when we were when we grew up there was there wasn't anything like I remember there's no internet I remember very easily there was no internet. I remember printing out the Google Maps in LA. And having the you know, the directions like printed out line by line driving around LA trying to drop off a demo reel for you know, an editing gig or something like that.
Eva Longoria 9:32
At Stage West. I submitted myself in for auditions and I would send my headshot, and I would use the postage from the company I worked at so I didn't have to buy stamps. It's like, at the end of the day, I'd sneak off and I go on I put postage on like 20 submissions and I saw I was like, Oh yeah, I was a hustler. I did background work just to eat and I would steal the bananas and apples and take it home because I was like, well I might not eat tomorrow. So let me let me take some of these bananas. Yeah.
Alex Ferrari 10:03
And so I mean, you struggled but you, you were something again was guiding you and give you these opportunities that normal, normal the normal acting story in LA is not yours by any stretch of the imagination, even at the very beginning that you're you're leaving, you're eating you're you're leaving Well, you have a job, you have a car, you've paid off student debt like This is unheard of for a struggling actor. But yeah, even then, when you got your first big break, you're like, I still want to keep my day job.
Eva Longoria 10:31
Yeah, I still like my car. So I think I'm gonna I like my apartment. Let me let me just keep doing this. Also, you know, I what you said like what kept you going because there was no signpost to say successes a year from now hang on. I felt it. And I remember my boss at that company. He goes, you know how much money you can make your you're so good at this. Give up that dream. Like, you know how many people make it in Hollywood one in 1,000,00 1 in a million, like, Come on, just focus over here and forget that stuff. And I said, I know. And I'm that one. Like, I'm taking up that space. So I've got to hurry up and be prepared. Like, I really thought that I really I never gave myself up until if I don't make it well, by 30. I'm moving back home. Like I never had a plan B I was just like, No, this will happen. And I also approached it like a business I knew exactly how to invest in you know what I need to classes. I don't know how to do that. I'm not good at that. I'm going to do this. So, you know, in that time, we know when you're going out for Latin roles are like, Can you do it with an accent and I'm like, I don't I don't have an accent. Like there's other levels of. And there's other levels of Latinos zero and it was like Rosie Perez, there's other levels of dimensions of Latinos that don't sound like Rosie Perez, you know, and, and so I was like, I gotta I need an accent coach. I don't I don't have an accent. I need to get one. When people come to Hollywood, they try to lose their accent. I was like, I was trying to get an accent. Like,
Alex Ferrari 12:12
Now. So it sounds like the you really put an intention involved. You really had an intention, and almost manifested what you were trying to get like you'd like no, I'm I'm there already. In your mind. You were already successful, even though there was no signs at all. And there's a difference between delusion because we all we all understand. We all might have been a little delusional. I might have been a little Listen, listen, either look, to be in our business. You got to be insane. You got to be insane. In general, it's an insane business. It's like running off with the circus, basically, you know, so it is it is an insanity to be with. But yeah, there is a little you need a little delusion to even think you can make a movie is a delusion. It's insanity.
Eva Longoria 12:55
Yeah, I mean, it is a little delusional. But the other thing that I had on my side was, and I'm an insane optimist and a hard worker. So I knew those two went together. But I also felt I felt like I have very tough skin. So the nose didn't affect me. And I got 1000s 1000s The day I got desperate hours of the day, I auditioned for Desperate Housewives. I had nine auditions that day. And I was changing in my car, driving from Disney back to Warner Brothers back to Disney back to Sony back to Culver City. And it was like, oh, like I ran out of gas that day. That's how many auditions I had. And Desperate Housewives was at eight at night. It was the last audition. I'm changing in the car. And I get there and I'm exhausted. And I just was like, you know it, you know, the other seven auditions today said No, I already knew I didn't get them. And and it was like, you know, in the car, doctor, okay, lawyer, okay. And then Gabby was like, sexy, and I'm like trying to put on this tight dress in the car. I get down and Mark, Jerry is an audition. And he goes. So what do you think of the script? And I was like, I didn't read the script. Like in my head. I'm like, I read my part. Like, who has time I had eight auditions a day. I'm not gonna read eight scripts. And I said, You know what, and I was just done. I was done for the day. And I said, You know what, I didn't read it. I didn't read the script. But I read my part and my parts really good. And, and he, he told me later, he knew I was Gabrielle in that moment, because it was the most selfish thing to say. I don't know what everybody else but I'm amazing. And I was like, so can I just do the audition? So you can say no, so I can go like I was just, you know, and then you did it again the next day? Yeah. And you started all over. So I had this. I have very thick skin even to this day. I really never take things personal. If I'm if I you know, if I get reviewed badly or this I'm like, Well, you know, it's not your cup of tea.
Alex Ferrari 14:57
Now, do you feel that you get Desperate Housewives later and a little bit later in life because you weren't, you weren't, you know? 20 You know, I think you were 30 you were like, 13 Yeah, exactly. 29 When you got it, so you already kind of had an established, you've established who your identity was at that point. Do you think that helped you deal with the tsunami, tsunami, excuse me of fame, and criticism and love and hate and everything that comes along with that package? Did that help you with that? Because that crushes many.
Eva Longoria 15:31
Yeah. 1,000% I knew who I was, you know, I probably knew who I was when I landed in Hollywood. You know, I didn't drink I wasn't into drugs. I didn't smoke. Like I was pretty, you know, and I was like, oh my god, Los Angeles, you're gonna, you know, get into drugs and travel and I was like, There's drugs and trouble in Texas like the same thing. But I had a really strong sense of who I was. And so when fame hits you, I think God I was 29 I mean, because I was like, you know, you especially back then the tabloids were like the leading thing not like social media today, but like, the tabloids defined you and so it was like America, sweetheart, America six kitten, and then you kind of became that, right? Like, if you look at Britney Spears, and Christina Aguilera coming up at the same time, and one was America's sweetheart. And one was the bad girl. And they were babies and they kind of go, Okay, I got to play the part. Now I've got to be the bad girl. And, and so they tried to do that with me. And I was like, you know, that? I'm not that. And, and I'm very grounded. You know, I have a really great family and I have, you know, great friends, my friends back then. Or, you know, the couches I slept on. And the I didn't have a dress for an audition. And my best friend, you know, let me address. They're still my friends today. They're the girlfriends that, you know, traveled with me and lived with me and you know, but I, I you know, they were there for me when I had nothing.
Alex Ferrari 17:01
So you know, so you know that they're their true friends at that point. Yeah, it's yeah, you know, cuz you never know, famous, such a double edged sword. So many people want to be rich and famous and you like, but look at how many people who are rich and famous who who are destroyed by it. It's just Hollywood is riddled with stories like that. You're an exception. You're like, you're an anomaly.
Eva Longoria 17:20
Yeah, thank you. But you remember each Hollywood story, they. Of course, that was on e and it was like, you know, she was you know, she was such a pretty girl from Missouri. And then and you're like, and so and then they tell you like the downfall of everybody. And I remember we premiered. And literally three days later, there was an E True Hollywood Story on me. And I go What did I do? Did I fall from grip? Did I do drugs? What happened? Like I was like, the beginning of the end now. Like it's supposed to happen later, it was so funny.
Alex Ferrari 17:52
Oh, God. And then of course, any movies that you might have done before Desperate Housewives they start going into, they go into the archives of the stuff that you did, and like, look at what she did back then.
Eva Longoria 18:01
And I did so many student films for real, you know, he did feel and did so many bad things. And then all of a sudden, I was at Blockbuster. I don't know if people remember there was a blockbuster. You had to go and get a DVD before Netflix mailed them to you. And, and my I remember going into blockbuster, and my face is on the cover of this film. And I was like, what is that it was a different title. It was and it was just a student film I had done and this director packaged it sold it on my name. And I never knew until I saw it a blockbuster. But yeah, yeah. And family comes out of the woodworks, right? Like all these people who are related to you. Yeah. A friend of mine, who's on another hit show. And every time he gets recognized around the world, he gets so pissed off, because it's like, that's all people know me for. And I and every time people come up to me and they go, Gabby Solice, I am like, Yes, that's me. You know, I'm just so grateful. And so like, so grateful that that director thought I had some sort of value. Because that's what you hoped for. You don't I mean, you work to the value that you can make something happen.
Alex Ferrari 19:09
No question. And I've read somewhere that you are an avid meditator. How do you cuz I've been meditating for years. I meditate hours a day sometimes. And it's changed my life. How do you use meditation? In your balancing you're insane world that you live in with all the things that you do and all the plates you spend, you know, mother and philanthropist and actor and director and all these kind of things. How does meditation help you kind of balance yourself and what does it do for you in general?
Eva Longoria 19:40
You know, it really centers you before the day I have to do it first thing in the morning and it makes me more patient. It makes me have compassion. It makes me happy. You know? It really just shifts your energy to a place of positivity and a place of gratitude. That's a big one. You know, I really learned also Do be aware of how you speak, right? So I used to be like, I got it, I have to go to this meeting across town, I have to go to this audition, I have to go. Do you know James Corden or I have to be on Jimmy Kimmel tonight. Instead just switching it to I get to write, I get to have a meeting about a project, I want to get off the ground. Like, isn't that what you want? So why are you going on? After all, you know, I get to be on Jimmy Kimmel to promote this TV show I was on I get to, you know, I have to get home and bathe my kid. No, I get to make it home in time to bathe my child and put them to bed. Like I get to do that. I get to cook dinner for my family. And just that little word was through meditation, right? Like, be careful of how you speak in life, you know, and people go, how was your day to day you are so busy, I'm so busy. It's like I can't I can't it's just too much. I'm so busy. And switching that word to productive? How was your day productive? Right, I was so productive today. I had eight meetings. I had, you know, this deal go through I had this conversation with so and so it was a pretty productive day. It wasn't a busy day, you're not doing busy work. Everything you do during the day is towards a goal towards something. So have that gratitude in your words, as you approach your day. And that's what meditation does. It really makes you think about things that are on autopilot that you shouldn't be on autopilot about.
Alex Ferrari 21:30
And I agree with you 110%. You also are an you know, an insane philanthropist that you give back so much. Can you just talk a little bit about what giving back means to you and how it affects your life. Because I started, when I started my show six and a half years ago, I was trying to get in, I was trying to you know, I was trying to knock on the doors and try to get these meetings and try to make connections. And I said I said I'm tired of all that. I'm going to start getting back to my to my community, which is filmmakers. And all of a sudden doors swung open. And now I get to talk to people like you and all this kind of things. It was because I gave back and it's addictive, the giving back and changing people's lives and whatever which way I can, you know, with the show or with whatever the work I do. So how does that affect you?
Eva Longoria 22:17
Yeah, I mean, you hit it right on the nail. I mean, it's it's studies have proven, you know, giving, giving and being charitable, increases your life's fulfillment, right? Like, you're like, Oh, I didn't even know I needed this to be filled. And then it becomes addictive. Like now I you know, I travel all over the world. I go to India, I go to you know, because I just like love, philanthropy and community efforts. But honestly, it I grew up with it in my DNA. I mean, I have a special needs sister. She's She was born with a mental disability. So I grew up in her world, I grew up with other people helping us, you know, charities that you know, sponsored a trip for her to go to Disneyland charities who you know, created after school programs for kids with special needs to have a place to go. And so I always I always like whose charity she's so sweet. She's so nice. That lady, you know, and, and so I knew before I was even famous that I was going to, you know, do something charitable and give back and and then once I got my platform and my microphone, then I was like, oh, okay, I have something to say.
Alex Ferrari 23:24
And I could and I could do some good in the world. Yeah. Now, when did you decide that you wanted to make it or to add directing as part of your resume? Because so many actresses and actors, they just go on through whole life and they're just actors, and they don't want to do any directing. But I've seen and I've spoken to many actors who have turned director what it does for them and it also elongates their career they can direct until their whatever and and just really enjoy that process. What when did you decide at what point in your career did you go? I think I want to direct which is the cliche of everything. What I really want to do is direct.
Eva Longoria 24:02
Yeah, I know. I think I'm better at this than easy. Uh, you know, i i People think I'm an actor, turn producer, director. And I think I was always a producer, especially producer I love to the business side of our business. You know, that's why I my approach with myself was like, Alright, I gotta do this. I gotta do that. I like how do I set myself up for success? And and I remember when I moved to Hollywood, I checked out a movie I went and bought a book it oh my god. Samuel French, right?
Alex Ferrari 24:35
Yeah, yeah, it's through city.
Eva Longoria 24:37
No, and Holly now
Alex Ferrari 24:38
Ohh there's another one. That was a second year. That's before they moved I think yeah.
Eva Longoria 24:41
And that was that and and how to produce one on one. I mean, I bought that book first over acting because I was like, Well, I got to create I got to create my own project. So how do I do that? And there was like a sample budget in the book and I put it on my Excel spreadsheet and I was like, okay, plugging in numbers and, and and then I I quickly had a a gig with this show called Hot Tamales live with Kiki Melendez at the improv. And he was like, hey, help me book some comedians. And then I said, Well, how are we going to pay them? She was like, I don't know. And then so we asked the improv like, well, how much is it to get the night out of dead night? We want to make it Latin Night. Okay, great. You can have the state we get the door, you get the drift, you know? And, and it was just like, you figure it out, right? And I was like, Okay, we watch tapes, VHS tapes of comedians and to book out the night and, and then we got a sponsor. I was like, well, we need a sponsor, right? We need somebody to pay for this. So we should get a tequila, you get a tequila company, they give us money. And they will mention the tequila and say like, it was all shooting from the hip, Beto. And how did you win? And I did that first. And then through that, you know, directed some of the sketches we had on stage. I'm like, no, no, you've got to come out through there. And we're gonna hear some props. And you know, and I fell in love with it. And then, you know, became an actor, and then use Desperate Housewives. As my film school. I really used I didn't go to film school, but I was on a set for 10 years. So I was like, paying attention. Pay attention to where the camera when, what lenses? What are, what are lenses? What does that mean? 2530 511 10 100? Like, what? Why is that light there? What are you doing? What's a balance? You know? And checking the gate? You know, you said back in the day, taking the gate, what does that mean? Now, you know, I used to load the camera. When we were one of the last shows to go digital, we shot on film for much longer than other TV shows. And, and so I paid attention, and I and I really took advantage of all the directors that came through and and ask them questions, and I was just a sponge. And so that's when it was on during this process where I said, I think I I think I want to direct TV. And and then somebody asked me, Hey, you want to direct this short film? And I go, yes. And the minute I said, Yes, I wanted to put it back into my mouth cuz I was like, why did it? Why did you? You just said yes. You're not ready. You don't know enough? What are you doing? Who do you think you are? And I think women it encounter that imposter syndrome a lot. You know, like, oh, no, already. I couldn't possibly do that. No, no, no, no, no, no, I'm not No, no, no, not me. Not me, not me. But I already said yes. So I was like, stuck. And I had to do it. And and I was good. And I knew I was good at it. And I one of my mentors who directed a lot of Desperate Housewives David Grossman, he came on set and I was like, Well, you just be on set. Because what if I fuck up the lens choice where he goes, You're not that's not your job. By the way. You know, your job is to get performances that are and after we wrapped the DP and that director goes, I think this is your calling. And they really like gave me that confidence of like, you belong. This is you know what you're doing, man, man, do you know what you're doing? You know, a lot more than you think, you know? And I was like, really? Okay. And then I did it again. And then I did it again. And then you know, cut did now or you know, 10 years later, I've been directing. And this is my first feature length documentary and my feature like film,
Alex Ferrari 28:12
Which we which comes to like, Well, how did this project come together? Like, I mean, how did it you know, no one had ever done a boxing documentary about you know, Mexican American that I know of at least anything major. I mean, there's I mean, there's a Muhammad Ali one for every five every five minutes there's a new Muhammad Ali. And they're all fantastic. And then there's my face then Mike Tyson and Sugar Ray and everything but never really about the Latino you know, which has a fame in boxing Jesus Christ.
Eva Longoria 28:44
So everybody did you grew up with boxing? I go I'm Mexican. Of course I grew up in boxing like it's in our blood. We have to you have to. But no, you know, I've known Oscar for 25 years, Oscar and I have been friends. That was one of the first people I met when I moved to Hollywood, me, Mario Lopez and Oscar De La Hoya. Were like The Little Rascals, we ran around in Hollywood and just caused trouble 25 years ago, and, and so he called me and he was like, hey, there's the anime. This is the 25th anniversary of that fight. Can you direct the documentary about it? We want to do a documentary about that, how iconic the fight was and I said, Oh, God, what do you mean? No, like a boxing dog like jabs and punches and stuff? Like no, no, I don't want to do that. I said, you know, it's so funny. I remember that fight dividing my household. Like I remember that fight, causing so much ruckus within our community and the fighting and the, you know, we couldn't get the fight because it was closed circuits. You had to go to a bar and then kids couldn't go and it was like, it was a whole thing and people the betting in Vegas and the odds and I was just like, what is hap Whoa, what is happening? And it was just, I think the biggest fight we've ever had in in the golden age of boxing. I mean, that's That time, which was my son era, the mike tyson era, you know, the dela Hoya era, the Julio era, you know, was huge. It was huge. And I said, that's interesting to me to explore is through the lens of what does it mean to be Mexican enough? And how do you navigate your identity as a Mexican American? That is something I know, you know, I straddle the hyphen every single day of my life. And people go, Oh, you're you're half Mexican, half American. And I go, No, I'm 100%, Mexican, and 100%. American at the same time. And these two things can always be true. And so I knew Oscar navigated that, because when he won the gold medal for the Olympics, he had an he won, he won the gold medal for the USA, and he goes into the ring and holds a Mexican flag up. So he has the American flag and the Mexican flag. And I remember that moment, too. And I remember swelling with pride and going oh, my God, that's me. So Oh, so you can celebrate being Mexican, you don't have to hide it, you know, and, and all the Mexican people in the United States embraced Oscar in that moment. They were like he's ours. You know what pride the Mexican president called him. And I added him to Los Pinos, which is the Mexican White House. There was a parade in Mexico for him. And so every fight he had after that, that was his audience that was his supporters. Those were his people, until he challenged Julio. And when he challenged Julio, the Mexican community goes, oh, oh, wait, wait, oh, yeah, you're not that Mexican. Yeah. You're not that Mexican. And then he was like,
Alex Ferrari 31:42
Well, he's Mexican. He's Mexican Jesus, he was Mexican Jesus.
Eva Longoria 31:46
He's like, You can't touch him. You can't touch Julio. He's our Champion on the Mexico, you know,El Champion del Mundo and, and so that's the lens in which I wanted to explore this particular fight, because I think that we still encounter this today, we're not we're not a monolithic group, I get that we're very, we have a lot of differences. But we have bigger fights to fight outside of the ring as a Latino community. So whether you're Puerto Rican, or Cuban, or gentle American, or Argentinian or Venezuelan, Mexican, there is a collective aggregation that has to happen, if we're going to have a political power, buying power, you know, if we're going to flex any sort of muscle, we have to do it together. And so we can't concentrate on how we're different. In order to make change, we have to focus on what what we have in common and the common goal, which is like we should have access to voting, we should have access to health care, we should have access to equal education, there's stuff we need to come together on. And so, you know, the beginning of the documentary, starts with those differences. It's, you know, the, the old, you know, the old lion against the young buck and the Mexican national against the Mexican American and the guy from the Pueblo against the golden boy. And the fight really promoted those differences. Because boxing is a sport that has never shied away from using race, right? Like it's leaned into it, if anything or nationality, you know, that the Italian against the, the Irish guy, right, you know, and the black guy against the Puerto Rican and that it, you know, and so, it did the same thing in this fight without understanding the Civil War, it would cause because of the nuances, they thought it was just two Mexican fighters, you know, heading head to head but it was much more than that.
Alex Ferrari 33:35
You know, what I found really interesting about watching Julio and Oscar, both of them seem so and I don't mean this in a derogatory they seem sweet. There's, they seem sweet. They seem like you know, because I've seen boxing documentaries, and a lot of these boxers, they're just brute barbarians sometimes in the way they speak, and they're not articulate. But Julio, and Oscar both are, they said, they seem so sweet that they almost kind of both fell into it. Like, it's just kind of like, Oops, I guess I'm gonna box kind of like you like, I guess I'm gonna act. And it just seemed that way. And I saw that kind of energy from especially Julio, which I wasn't expecting. He seems so sweet. And I'm like, he was he was a killer in the in the ring. But it's like, I think he disconnected that too. Like, I'm a sweet guy, but I go to work. Did you find that as well?
Eva Longoria 34:26
100%? And you know, like I said, I've known Oscar for 25 years. So I know he's sweet. And I know him. Well. I didn't know Julio was. I didn't know who they were. I'd never I'd never met him. And I fell in love with him. He is such a truth teller, which is interesting in a documentary about your life about something to happen in your life. You could pretty much have revisionist history like, Oh, I wish I wasn't bothered by that now. Well, you know, of course, I won that fight. I wasn't whining about it. And he was like, Yeah, I was. There was no way at that moment. I was gonna say I lost even though I knew I did. I knew I had lost, but I wasn't going to say, you know, and you're like, wow. So it felt like he had 2020 Look at 2020 vision looking back at that fight, he was so open and vulnerable about his obstacles to fame, His addiction, his lack of preparation and it for other fights. You know, he's like, look, I December's my party month. I wasn't about to fight in January, but it was $9 million. So I was gonna fight you know, he is very candid and vulnerable and, and kind and it wasn't until 10 years after those fights that he finally gave Oscar the credit that was due. And then an Oscar side people everybody who watches tacos oh my god, my I cried for Oscar. I didn't know he had that much pain going into that fight. He he was he was hurt and then revisiting that. He's like, God, it still makes me mad. As we were interviewing him, I was like, oh, yeah, he's a guy that Oh, I'm so mad. Just thinking about that. You know, getting booed in East LA. Like, what the fuck? Are you kidding me? Come on, you know. So he's over about to read
Alex Ferrari 36:06
Well, it's a it's a beautiful film. I absolutely loved watching it. And congrats on getting into Sundance. That must be so exciting and you get to you
Eva Longoria 36:15
That opening night is a film directed by a Chikana about to Mexican boxers like right, this progress. This is progress. Let's let's let's uh, savor it.
Alex Ferrari 36:27
First of all, I think you are a absolute force of nature. And thank you so much for everything you do. And for my my twin daughters, they say they said tell you thank you for Dora. They, they loved it and watch it all the time. So thank you so much for that.
Eva Longoria 36:43
See, I love that movie.
Alex Ferrari 36:44
I love I saw it in the theaters with them. I went to the theaters with them. And it was back when you used to do things like that. But I do appreciate you and thank you so much for for coming on the show and continued success and I hope this movie gets out and is seen by everybody. It's such a wonderful film. So thank you again so much.
Eva Longoria 37:01
Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.
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