Desperate Housewives alum Eva Longoria is calling out the double standard in Hollywood that favours white male directors and leaves Latina women out to dry.
Speaking at the Kering Women in Motion talk during the 2023 edition of the Cannes Film Festival, Eva launched into the criticism while discussing her directorial debut Flamin’ Hot, which recounts the true story of a Frito-Lay janitor Richard Montañez who used his cultural background to come up with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.
Revealing that she "felt the weight of my community" and "the weight of every female director," Eva launched into her staunch critique of the Hollywood status quo.
“We don’t get a lot of bites at the apple,” she said, per Variety. “My movie wasn’t low budget by any means — it wasn’t $100 million, but it wasn’t $2 million. When was the last Latina-directed studio film? It was like 20 years ago. We can’t get a movie every 20 years.”
“The problem is if this movie fails, people go, ‘Oh Latino stories don’t work… female directors really don’t cut it,'” she added.
“We don’t get a lot of at-bats. A white male can direct a $200-million film, fail and get another one. That’s the problem. I get one at-bat, one chance, work twice as hard, twice as fast, twice as cheap.”
“You really carry the generational traumas with you into the making of the film,” she continued. “For me, it fueled me. I was determined.”
“The metric in which you measure success is important,” she continued, opining how Hollywood execs congratulate themselves by saying, “We’ve doubled the amount of women behind the camera!”
“They’ve gone from one to two. And you’re like, ‘Okay, technically, you did, but you still only hired two women.’ So, how you measure success is really important. And inclusion being that metric is so awesome because you can applaud the people who are doing it right.”
She then went on to describe how Latino/Latina/Latinx movie-goers can make or break a box office, and shouldn’t be discounted.
“28% of ticket buyers at the box office are Latino,” she said. “Your film will not succeed if you don’t have the Latino audience. Do you know how many Latinos showed up for ‘Crazy Rich Asians’? Do you know how many Latinos bought a ticket for ‘Fast and the Furious’? We over-index at moviegoing, so why shouldn’t there be content for us if we are the ticket buyers? If we are the viewers? … For me, I take great pride in throwing around that buying-power weight. If you don’t speak to us, we may not buy that movie ticket.”
She also added that she felt like the industry isn’t taking as many steps forward as it says.
“We’re still underrepresented in front of the camera, we’re still underrepresented behind the camera, we’re still not tapping into the females of the Latino community,” she said of the Latina community. “We were at 7% in TV and film, now we’re at 5%, so the myth that Hollywood is so progressive is a myth when you look at the data.”
“The illusion is that Hollywood is progressive,” she added. “The reality is that we’re still far behind in equal representation.”
While Eva is mostly known as an actress, she had previously directed TV shows like episodes of Jane the Virgin, Black-ish, Why Women Kill, and Grand Hotel. Flamin’ Hot is her first feature.
You can watch her entire chat below.