In 2005, Will Smith starred opposite Eva Mendes in the romantic comedy Hitch. The film proved to be a critical and commercial success, further raising Mendes’ profile in Hollywood.
But it was an opportunity that Mendes came close to losing, as he initially turned down the film due to his acting ambitions.
How Eva Mendes’ Latino Background Played a Role in Her Casting for ‘Hitch’
Mendes’ acting skills played a big role in his quest for the popular romantic movie. But aside from that, her experience as a Latina helped resolve a concern that the study behind Hitch had for the movie.
At the time, Smith acknowledged that he was concerned about casting a black or white actress alongside the Oscar winner. Showing an interracial relationship between people who were black and white was considered taboo. Meanwhile, it was feared that casting a black actor as a romantic lead opposite Smith would not attract a worldwide audience.
“There’s kind of an accepted myth that if you have two black actors, a man and a woman, in front of a romantic comedy, people all over the world don’t want to see it,” Smith once said. the birmingham post (via Today). “We spent $50 million to make this movie and the studio would think it was a tough investment. So the idea of a black actor and a white actress comes up, that will work all over the world, but it’s a problem in the US.
Eva Mendes was the commitment. An interracial relationship between a Latina and a black actor was not considered risky compared to the other alternatives.
Eva Mendes originally turned down ‘Hitch’ because she wanted to be a serious actress
Mendes has long wanted to be taken seriously as an actor. She was originally offered the role of him in Hitch because, in addition to his abilities, he could match Smith’s charm and humor.
“What we needed, which became ridiculously simple for us, was someone sexy and fun because Will is like that. Will is really charming, very handsome and very funny. So with Eva what we have is sexy and fun.” Hitch director Andy Tennant once told the BBC.
Mendes managed to check these boxes. But still, he refused to be a part of the movie because he didn’t think it was something a real actor would do.
“Actually I said no to Hitch and I said I love Will but I want to be a serious actress. I don’t want to do a romantic comedy,” Mendes said in a 2007 interview with Collider. “I’m an idiot, you know? And of course meeting Will was one of the highlights of my career, you know, meeting Jada and then that movie, working with Sony, it’s so much fun now it’s like I don’t know.”
Eva Mendes Said She Wouldn’t Mind Doing Another Romantic Comedy
Hitch it might have changed Mendes’ mind about rom-coms. In an interview with Mujer, the Fast and Furious The actor shared that he wouldn’t mind dabbling in the genre again. But he also hoped to maintain his acting ambitions by having some variety as a performer.
“And I hope to have more dramatic opportunities. Not just dramatic, I would love to do another romantic comedy. I would love to do a musical. I love the whole range. But I want you to consider me for the things that Kate Winslet has considered, absolutely. I am so in love with her. She is so amazing. I think she is spectacular,” she said.
RELATED: Will Smith and Eva Mendes worked together years before co-starring in 2005’s ‘Hitch’