Eva Mendes goes riding with a ghost

You’ve seen this exotic Cuban-American stunner everywhere from Revlon ads to rock videos to movies like Training Day and Hitch. She’s recently entered her Big 3-0s, and her career is taking off faster than a Harley burning rubber on the highway to hell. In fact, her next role is as Roxanne, the girlfriend of a quasi-Satanic, leather-clad, flame-skulled Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) in Ghost Rider.

For non-comic book geeks, Eva sums the plot up thusly: “There’s heaven, there’s hell, and there’s our world; every once in a while something gets out of hell that’s not supposed to be here and that’s when you call upon the Ghost Rider – he works for the devil as bounty hunter.

“The idea is, there’s always been a Ghost Rider. He used to be on horseback back in the day and now it’s a motorcycle. So the concept was just like, you’d find the best rider and you make him go and track down these demons for you!”

Eva, who’s just wrapped the big-budget movie, told SheKnows about working with some of her costars in the testosterone-heavy cast. First, there’s Peter Fonda as Mephisto. “Oh God. I have the best Fonda story. He’s awesome. He’s Peter Fonda. And so one day we’re hanging out on set and — don’t hold this against me — but even though I had never seen Easy Rider, I just knew he was an amazing actor. And we’re hanging out talking and I said, ‘I’m so sorry I never saw Easy Rider,’ and I thought he was going to hit me or something. But he was like, ‘You’ve never seen it?’ I said ‘No.’ He’s like, ‘Well, why don’t we have an Easy Rider party at Mark’s [Steven Johnson, director] place and I’ll narrate the film for you guys.’ And so, literally, he did!” She said it was like the best DVD commentary, ever.

As for playing Nic Cage’s love interest, Eva plays it coy and jokes around about it. When it’s brought to her attention that he has had a Ghost Rider tattoo on his arm for years, she says she only noticed “the one on his lower butt cheek.”

Eva plays Roxanne as a female all the way — “I don’t kick ass,” she says, speculating that there will not be a Roxanne action figure in toy stores next year. “I’m the chick in this movie and I like that. I own that. I’m the girl, and I’m his woman and there’s something kind of just romantic about that.”

Still, she has made some welcome changes to the girl we know from the pages of the graphic novels. “Roxanne was this very hot voluptuous blonde that was a little ‘victim-y’ for my tastes, you know what I mean? She cried a lot. What I want to thank Mark for is taking a chance and thinking outside the box. Because obviously, I’m not blonde, and I don’t look like the original comic book Roxanne.

“Now she’s darker [laughing]. A little more exotic.” She liked playing the aspect that the character is “really crazy in love with this man and willing to stand behind him and beside him through thick and thin, but still having a life of her own, being an independent woman – being a career woman. And she has this inner strength, without being a victim.”

Since this is Eva’s first comic book movie, we were curious to know if she’d ever do another one. “Yeah, absolutely. I’d just have to kick ass in the next one. And wear some kind of suit, or have a cape – oh, I’d love to have a cape!”

We hear the “Aqua-Girl” role is open…


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