Eva Mendes Reveals Why She Quit Acting

Eva Mendes ultimately decided to quit acting because she thought she was having to fight too hard for respected roles. But she still has her sights set on Hollywood

By Britta DeVore | Published

It’s been almost one full decade since fans of Training Day star Eva Mendes have seen the actress in a major motion picture. Leaving many followers in the lurch, the actress finally filled the world in on exactly why she stepped away from her life in Hollywood. Unfortunately, it came down to how she was being cast and the parts she was auditioning for. “I got tired fighting for the good roles,” Mendes revealed during a one-on-one with Variety, adding that she was struggling to fit herself into other’s productions and that they didn’t feel “worth it” to her.

But, just because she stepped away from being the focus of films, doesn’t mean the Ghost Rider actress wanted out of the biz completely. She mentioned that in her mind, she wanted to “create my own opportunities and become a producer,” giving her a wider range when it comes to the stories she’s able to tell. And, those stories all center around her background of being a proud Latina woman.

As Eva Mendes put it, the world has changed in a positive way as there are now “more opportunities for Latina actresses,” but when the curtain went down on her last production, Lost River, which was also her partner, Ryan Gosling’s, directorial debut, this just wasn’t the case. Struggling to find roles that truly spoke to her, her heritage, and the tales she wanted to see play out on screen, Eva Mendes revealed that she just wasn’t raking in parts that “weren’t specifically Latina.” 

Eva Mendes in Training Day

Although she appeared in a slew of films during the late 1990s and early 2000s including Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror and A Night at the Roxbury, it wasn’t until 2001’s Training Day that Eva Mendes’ career really took off. The Antoine Fuqua-helmed crime thriller saw the actress starring alongside Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke. A hit among fans and critics alike, the film would see both Washington and Hawke nabbing Academy Award nominations, with Washington walking away with the win for Best Actor.

After her appearance in Training Day, Eva Mendes started scoring roles left and right. From high octane, action-packed features like 2 Fast 2 Furious to the romantic comedy Hitch, it seemed like Mendes’ upwards trajectory wasn’t slowing down anytime soon. But, by the time she worked alongside Gosling on his fantasy thriller, Lost River, it seemed as though Mendes had just had enough. The Gosling penned, co-produced, and helmed feature would see Eva Mendes starring alongside an all-star cast that also included Christina Henricks, Saoirse Ronan, Iain De Caestecker, Matt Smith, Ben Mendelsohn, and Barbara Steele.

Since her days in front of the camera, Eva Mendes has been enjoying her main role of being a mom to the couple’s two children, Esmeralda Amada Gosling and Amada Lee Gosling. While Mendes’s career has slowed down, Ryan Gosling’s has anything but, with the actor constantly being cast in big-time pictures including his upcoming live-action take on the plastic doll, Ken, in Greta Gerwig’s Barbie, as well as David Leitch’s The Fall Guy. But, taking a break from the dazzling lights and sets is more than okay for Mendes who is thrilled to be given the time to spend with her children. Leaving fans on a hopeful note, the actress says that with the entertainment biz being so different now, the sky’s the limit for where she may appear in the future.