Is the next tabloid headline about Eva Longoria going to be that Kiefer Sutherland is breaking up her relationship with Tony Parker? Not quite. There was no spicy secret romance on the set of The Sentinel, where the hunky actor and the sultry siren played fellow Secret Service agents. But there was trouble.
It seems the San Antonio Spurs point guard is a big fan of Sutherland's rival hit show on Fox. On those few nights when 24 is on against Desperate Housewives, his loyalties get tested. Like her character on the TV show, Longoria doesn't like to come in second. "I do get upset because the season premiere of 24 is always on a Sunday and then they move to Mondays, and so Tony always watches [Kiefer's] show instead of my show," she says during a day of interviews in Los Angeles.
Ouch. Lucky for Parker, in real life, the 31-year-old actress, who is a native of San Antonio, isn't about to go root for the Lakers in retribution. "His only guilty pleasure is 24," she allows. "It's his favorite show. He watched it before I did, so it's his long lost love."
We know where Parker will be for the premiere of The Sentinel, though: Getting photographed and filmed on the red carpet, right next to Longoria. These days it seems you can't visit the supermarket or turn on the TV '- or even fly in outer space, considering Maxim's oversized cover promotion in Vegas, which is visible from miles above '- without seeing Longoria, mostly with Tony by her side. While it might seem that she covets the spotlight, she feels the attention is more about the popularity of her current projects, which come after years of bit parts, soap opera roles and low-end TV movies.
"I enjoy my work," she says. "I enjoy going to Desperate Housewives every day. The rest just is a by-product of that."
So will Longoria be heading to the Oscars next year as a nominee, following in Felicity Huffman's footsteps? She's doing almost as much shape shifting in what amounts to her feature film debut in The Sentinel, where she hands in her Gucci for government-issue togs. Her character, Jill Marin, is a rookie agent who joins a veteran, played by Sutherland, on the hunt for a suspected traitor (Michael Douglas). Of the many scripts she was offered once Housewives started, Longoria found the character in this one to be the least like Gabrielle, and in fact the most like herself: an athletic tomboy. "I love action," she says. "I love the athleticism of female action stars."
Waving a gun around was somewhat familiar for her since she learned target shooting from her father, and she ended up proving a better shot than all her male costars during Secret Service boot camp. On the set, she made costar Michael Douglas gasp. "She commands respect," says Douglas. "It was one thing for Kiefer to take off, and I thought, Damn, you're fast. But then when Eva started passing me by in high heels at a full sprint… She's a great athlete."
While Jill is a pretty tough character, Gabrielle doesn't need firearms to get her way. Of the two, Longoria can't decide which is stronger. "I wouldn't give Gabrielle a gun, that's for sure," she speculates. "Jill's obviously highly trained and highly intellectual and would outfight her, but Gabrielle is pretty smart and very street smart. I think she'd outwit her."
And Gabrielle is about to get craftier. The latest on Mrs. Solis is that a miscarriage earlier this season left her unable to conceive, just when she finally came around to her husband's desire to have a baby. Longoria thinks the story lines about the couple's adoption struggles are clever, and she's happy that she doesn't have to endure a prosthetic stomach. "I played pregnant on The Young and the Restless, and it was miserable wearing the fake stomach, and the clothes are always ugly, so I wasn't looking forward to that," she says.
Now that the Solises have stolen a baby, we can expect to see the sassy housewife try to raise it in pure Gabrielle style. Costars Felicity Huffman and Teri Hatcher, who are real-life moms, haven't suggested any tips for Longoria's fictional motherhood, though Huffman did speak up about a technical detail in the kidnapping episode.
Longoria says, "The time that we [stole] the baby from the hospital, [Felicity said], 'Eva, you do know that they put security bracelets on the babies and the parents, and you can't walk out of the nursery, much less the hospital.' And I was like, 'Felicity, it is make-believe. Please.' But Felicity did bring it up. She was funny."
With her flat tummy safe for a while, Longoria can look forward to more fabulous outfits, which she gets to add to her own closet. Given her choice of clothing, the actress favors Latin designs. "That's really my favorite inspiration. I don't like black, and usually Latin designers go with color, and they go with curves and sexiness, and that's the kind of style I like," she says. "Cate Adair, who's our costume designer, designs a lot of my clothes... and those are really nice as well."
But that's only for TV and public appearances. Around the house, there's no glamour. "I'm in sweats and Uggs and a hat all the time," she says.