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tv   Tavis Smiley  PBS  April 4, 2013 12:00am-12:30am PDT

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tavis: good evening. from los angeles, i am tavis smiley. tonight, a conversation with actress eva mendes. she stars in place beyond the pines and bringing her great reviews. in light of our tenth anniversary season and the upcoming 2000 episode, i want to continue introducing you to some of the folks that make this program happen. christopher jones has been our graphics operator for eight seasons on this program. the key for the work and we're glad have you on your team. >> i have had the opportunity to work on everything from the logo to all of our lower thirds. led have you.
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>> a conversation with eva mendes coming up now. >> there is a saying that dr. king had said, there is always the right time to do the right thing. i just try to live my life every day by doing the right thing. we know that we are only about halfway to completely eliminate hunger and we have work to do. walmart committed $2 billion to fighting hunger in the u.s. as we work together, we can stamp hunger out. >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
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tavis: her breakthrough role was opposite denzel washington in trading day and has gone on to make her mark with johnny depp to matt damon and is now co- starring with ryan gosling and bradley cooper in a movie called "the placed beyond the pines." about fathers, sons, and the consequences of the decisions they make. navigating a life that she -- did not exactly turn out as she hoped. >> it has been over a year. >> i have reason. i did not know what to do. >> you do whatever you need to do. >> what are you going to do? >> i am going to do what i have to do.
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i am going to school. i will take care of jason. i work here. that is what i am doing. that is my life. tavis: almost didn't recognize you. for those that have not seen it, it is not playing up the glam. >> that is the duty of being an actress, hopefully get to have different roles and stretch yourself. this is really what i have been working for for a while. i have been in the business for a minute and it is an opportunity like this that i really working towards. >> what do you mean by that? >> the raw nature of the character, also working with the
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director that directed blue valentine. i was so incredibly moved by the performances and the unconventional style of filmmaking. worked inout how he his process and i immediately called my agent and said, can i get a meeting with the director? him and we had coffee. it was way before the script came around. i planted a little c. baer, this is how i want to work. keep in mind for the next one. i had a fight for it, which i loved. he did not see me quite right for it. tavis: a couple things i want you to unpack. hasy actor in this business a process that they like to work
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inside of and what was the process that titillated you? >> i still go to acting class. it is so much fun for me and i am always a student. process,ard about the i heard that he was really big on rehearsal and he creates a reality for the actors. he likes is little acting as possible. they lived in the house and they played husband and wife. that israeli interesting. he really pushes his actors and really challenges them. i was ready for that, her hungry for it. tavis: what do you get from
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going to acting class? the scariest thing in the world. there is a lot of pressure. and anytime i am in a situation where i have a class room environment, i go back to being that fourth grader that could not sit still and had all the answers. i am an overachiever in that way, and a pleaser. so i want to go back into that old thing. it is a chance for me to be creative and put something out there. teacherith an amazing and i take a class with larry that is in the theater world and he has really educated me about
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playwrights. theel lucky to get into theater world now. it is so much fun for me. tavis: is that your way of telling me that we will see you on broadway? >> i hope so, i keep looking for the right thing. i keep looking, so hopefully it will present itself. tavis: without calling the name of a particular piece of work, is there something you have dreamt about or imagined what you would do? >> i am drawn to a lot of tragedies. i start thinking realistically about it and performing eight days a week would really take its toll. i don't know if i could survive madea.
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but it would be fun to do some kind of comedy. i as did one class in a while, what a stretch. i go to class is and get to play -- and nobody would ever think that i would be cast or write for that. butt to explore that stuff, some kind of comedy or satire would be great. thes: i want to go back to comment you made a moment ago about this project and how you had a fight for it. am always amazed at the audience might be as well. the assumption is that what you get to a certain place in your career, you aren't having to knock people around and auditioned for parts. before this project comes along,
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you met with the director input your bid in to try to work with them on something. you still have to go fight for the park and we think, you have to do all that? there is no hope for me if she has to fight that hard for a part. >> in the fighting never stops and when i stop fighting, i die. it is not a negative, it is a positive. there is that little part of me. proving someone wronged when they have an image of me or something. thinkigure it out or they i am a certain way. ant is fun for me as actress. i get to prove them wrong and have a blast while i am doing it. tavis: this is inside baseball. we won't go too deep here. this movie out is in limited
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release and the amount of money that you make per screen last week was really good. the people that work with you have to be very happy about that average. what is your barometer for success? for business, it is ticket sales. as an actor, what is the barometer? >> i really had to train myself but when i am done, i am done with it. sometimes when i am at the premiere i forget the story and what my character goes through because i really let it go. it is heartbreaking. there is the editor that comes in and and they have to bring
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the movie to gather. sometimes you give a whole performance that has been cut out and maybe it is better but you have to deal with a loss of that. my way to deal with it was to just let it go the minute i was done. i feel like i have been successful, if i am embarrassed, if i am slightly modified and i feel vulnerable, i think i did something. tavis: the vulnerable part i get but mortified and embarrassed, i don't. >> when you put yourself out there and emotionally and physically, for me, that means i have really done something and i went to an uncomfortable place. i showed an ugly part of may or want tog bad i did not
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reveal or something that was difficult. comfortg outside my zone is a big one for me. segue,that is a perfect the part of a single mom. how did you assess your work? >> i cried the whole time. there is that feeling of i think i am just the worst. my initial reaction is very negative. tavis: you are a tough critic. >> even if it is a big comic book film or something very serious, i have that initial feeling like i of the worst in this is awful. i have let everybody down. now that i have done that for the last 10 years, i just let
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it come and i move past it. that is where the real feeling is coming after that. it was very personal for me, for a host of reasons. myself portraying a real person. is a great conversation because you are making my work rarely easy. you say things i want to follow up with. even after 14 or 15 years, you say this is the first time you felt like you were playing a real person. you were raised by a single mom, played by a single mom. thatsaw somebody up there was really struggling. i sought a real struggle and real emotions.
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i dress uply when for you today, i am not hiding under anything, i am hoping to look nice. my mother is watching in she is a tough critic. like this see myself portraying a real person, it just made me so happy. and i am not sure how else to articulate it. tavis: tell me more about the character. woman and that has a fling with ryan gosling's character. the story doesn't get into it too much, however happened. it is left to the audience's imagination. it was definitely a physical thing if he went his own separate ways. he is a stunt motorcycle rider.
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i don't know why that was throwing me off right now. >> i haven't come back to that, but i am not going to go there. you have to move right past that. goes off of his own way and it was a traveling circus. in my quiet down where we shot it is about a year later and they have come together again. he doesn't know that i have had his child since then. but what he also doesn't know is that i also have another man in my life that is a very stable person and once the father my child like it was his own. ryan is a very unstable character, unfit to be a father.
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i have the crazy dilemma on my hands, do i raise the child with a loving father that is not his biological father but will provide the life that he should have, or should i try to make it work? should i let the biological father know that he has this child? insane,s so unfit and there is a crazy moral conflict i am faced with. i found that really interesting because right before i went to go film, i don't have children so my mind went to reason. you have raised a child with the person that is going to love the child can provide. the biological father is an unfit in any way, you protect the child from that person and a
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bunch of women came to my home before i went to film who are mothers and friends of the family. wednesday, so it was not very common. we have a topic of conversation and i said, this is the situation. tavis: it is a hot topic at her house. is thisd, here situation. obviously, i go with the person that is stable? the other women said no. they said something primal happens. you want to make it work with the biological father as much as you can if you want to see them together. it was very interesting. >> i am inside your head as an actor.
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make it quick. the protection only. you are hearing to different trains of thought here. your girls are telling you, something primal happens if you want to make it work with the baby daddy. tohow are you going schenectady? >> ims. so i call my director and i say, all this actor stuff. i am just a mess and i don't know what to do. they said neither does the character. that's right. so i just kind of let it take over me. tavis: i want to hear about your mom, first of all. has she seen this? >> no.
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tavis: don't give the plot away, but what do you think and what do you expect the single mom you were raised by? not because she is not supportive, but i don't think she will watch this one because i think it will be too emotional fervor. thinks crying already, i at the end of the day, i am her baby girl. forif i could be in hitch ever, it would be a magical and that is how she wants her baby girl. she doesn't want to see me struggling. i think it would be difficult for her and -- if there is violence in this film, and it is dealt with so beautifully, there are two shots fired in the film
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and we follow those consequences all the way through. i don't knowher, if you will see this one. tavis: i think your mom will see it at some point, even if she doesn't know about it. >> you are in my head, get out of here. tavis: tell us about your mom. >> she is incredible. my father was around, but she had to do a lot on her own. i have two sisters and brother. she is just a survivor. they left cuba right after the revolution and went to miami. the story gets a little iffy. i was born in miami and i was about two years old when we came to los angeles. sometimes i hear it was for a
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job opportunity at that family history -- what happened between these years? everybody's family has that. >> there is a blind spot, but i am thankful that she moved to las angeles and she was about creating opportunity. did the creative and artistic acting thing happen for you? and what did your mom say about that? , while therearents are shouldering responsibility, they want to push you into a career that will be a lot more stable. note the acting thing did happen until later in life. i have still gone to school, and i had a proper childhood in a proper teenage years, as normal
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as they get. i think by the time i told them i wanted to be an actor, they said they got, she is going to do something. my mother, my father, my siblings. it was a lot of rejection. from the first day, they were like, go get them. without that support, some people can thrive on negativity. i thrive on love and support. little i saved myself a bit there. tavis: i want to move to the close. you see how fast that those? allowed to close to where we began, the fact that all the things you have done, i don't know what is left. but the critics are really
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loving you in this. everything i read about this, they are giving you such high praise and wonderful accolades for the way that you have set this off. that you havele for house -- for how you or your talents will be viewed on the other side of this project? does that question make sense? >> it makes sense. a greater role, and there has to be an expectation. >> i have been doing this long enough to know that expectation is trouble and heartache. be moved byeople to something that i do. absolutely. enjoy people to myself tot trained
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move on to the next. i have finished another film since then. i have been passionate for a while. this opens some more doors and it will be fantastic, of course. tavis: my time is up. methank you for letting bring him, he is in the green room. tavis: i know you don't go too far without him. >> thank you so much. starring brian gosling and bradley cooper, you don't need me to tell you that you will want to see this. flat have you here. here first, hopefully not your last. you have a deal. i will give you that. that is much more gentlemanly.
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that is our show for tonight. until then, thanks for watching, and keep the faith. >> who is that? >> he is yours. >> you were not going to tell me? he is my son and i should be around him. >> how are you going to take care of him? >> i can't think of another line of work i would rather be in. >> i am a cop. to do that got using your skills. your skill set -- today's show, visit tavis smiley at tavis: hi, i'm tavis smiley. join me next time for a conversation with jonathan writer about dr. king's letter. that is next time, see you then.
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>> there is a saying that dr. king had said, there is always the right time to do the right thing. i just try to live my life every day by doing the right thing. we know that we are only about halfway to completely eliminate hunger and we have work to do. walmart committed $2 billion to fighting hunger in the u.s. as we work together, we can stamp hunger out. >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> be more.
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