I think it’s going to blow people’s minds,” says Eve Hewson, the 20-year-old daughter of U2’s Bono and Ali Hewson about her latest project, This Must Be the Place, director Paolo Sorrentino’s tale of Cheyenne (Sean Penn), a washed-up rocker on a mission to find his father’s Nazi persecutor. The film screened in competition at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, and though it has yet to find U.S. distribution, Hewson is currently in the midst of shooting a sure thing. Blood Ties tells the story of two brothers on opposite sides of the law who clash in 1970s Brooklyn, and features an all-star cast including Clive Owen, Mila Kunis, Zoe Saldana, and Marion Cotillard (her husband, Guillaume Canet, is the director).
Let’s talk about This Must Be the Place.
I think it’s going blow people’s minds. In terms of Sean Penn’s acting and his character, I’ve never seen that kind of acting before.
What drew you to the project?
Everything! When your agent calls you and is like, ‘Paolo Sorrentino is directing a movie with Sean Penn in it, they want you to play this young girl they want you go in and audition. The character that I play, Mary, is amazing. She’s something that I don’t think a lot of young actresses get to play anymore. She’s not the sexy, cute girlfriend or the hot girl who’s dating the older man, she’s got her own story and it’s completely different than [that of] any character I’ve ever auditioned for.
How did you land the part?
I didn’t think this movie was going to happen for me. I’d heard the name come up every now and then and I was like ‘okay’—then my agent called and was like ‘your audition’s on Tuesday!’ I auditioned a couple of times with Paolo, on my first audition I was so nervous and I prepared so much, and I went in there and he didn’t even ask me to read. He just sat there and talked to me, and went around with a little video camera like, to different parts of the room and videotaped me at different angles. I was like ‘what is going on?’ And that was it. I was like what the hell just happened? I didn’t even read for him! But I think it was part of his method—he wanted to meet me first, get a vibe, and then I went back in and read for him afterward. It was a really funky process.
When’s the last time you felt growing pains, and why?
The last time I had a conscious growing-up feeling was probably when I started growing boobs. I was like ‘oh, okay this is real. I can’t go back to being ten years old. It’s a devastating moment. I always wanted to be a boy when I was younger—I dressed as a boy, I cut my hair off—I was obsessed with E.T. so I made everyone call me ‘Elliott’. But I always used to get upset when my mom’s friend’s referenced me as a boy, even though I wanted to look like one. But then I grew up and people couldn’t mistake me for a boy anymore. I think that was pretty upsetting.
What are you excited about for the future?
I’m really excited to graduate from college. I love college but I am excited to not have to write an essay anymore. I’m excited to be independent from any sort of institution. I always loved school, but I also felt it was holding me back from doing things I wanted to do—which is a very adolescent viewpoint, but I’m excited to have my say in what I want to do with my life—not that Hollywood will really let me do that.