Eva Longoria complains in Cannes about double standards in Hollywood

Eva Longoria drew Hollywood attention during her Kering Women in Motion talk at 2023 Cannes Film Festival.

The Desperate Housewives graduate, who was led by Dr. Stacy L. Smith, professor and researcher at the University of Southern California Annenberg, is making her feature film debut as a director “Flamin’ Hot” an inspirational story about a Frito-Lay janitor who invented Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. The film won an audience award at the SXSW Film Festival.

As a female director, debut director, and Latina director, Longoria said she felt “the weight of my community” and “the weight of every director” as production of “Flamin’ Hot” began.

“We don’t get a lot of bites on the apple,” Longoria said of Latina directors. “My film wasn’t low-budget by any means—it wasn’t $100 million, but it wasn’t $2 million either. When was the last studio film directed by Latina? It was like 20 years ago. We can’t get a movie every 20 years.”

Longoria continued, “The problem is, when this movie fails, people go, ‘Oh, Latino stories don’t work…female directors really suck.’ We don’t get many attacks. A white man can direct a $200 million film, fail and get another. That’s the problem. I get a hit, a chance, work twice as hard, twice as fast, twice as cheap,” Longoria said.

dr Stacy L. Smith and Eva Longoria speak during the Cannes Film Festival on Tuesday.Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images for Kering

With Flamin’ Hot, Longoria was keen to write an inspirational story about Latinos with characters that resembled her own family, from father to uncles. The story explores how American businesses underestimate the Hispanic community. The same applies to Hollywood studios, Longoria noted.

“28 percent of box office ticket buyers are Latino,” she said. “Your film won’t do well if you don’t have the Latino audience. Do you know how many Latinos turned up on Crazy Rich Asians? Do you know how many Latinos bought tickets to Fast and the Furious? We overestimate going to the cinema, so why not have content for us when we are the ticket buyers?”

Despite the progress made in integrating Latinos into Hollywood, Longoria says not only is there still a long way to go, but statistically the industry is also in regression.

“We’re still underrepresented on camera, we’re still underrepresented behind the camera, we’re still not tapping into the women of the Latino community,” Longoria said. “In TV and film we were at 7%, now we’re at 5%, so the myth that Hollywood is so advanced is a myth if you look at the data.”

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