With her alabaster skin, raven hair, soulful eyes, and a face which is reminiscent of old Hollywood royalty, Eve Hewson, is every bit the part of a blossoming actress. Born from fashion and music stardom, Hewson was destined to become a talented woman to watch.
Eve is in LA when I phone in with her for the interview. I can hear the soft overlays of her Irish accent, though it’s almost a whisper since she transplanted to Brooklyn, after studying acting at NYU—advice she did not take from her parents (U2 front-man, Bono & fashion designer, Ali Hewson). Eve’s drive was stronger, and she pushed forward in pursuit of her dream. Poised to play Maid Marian in the upcoming 2017 Otto Bathurst-directed production of Robin Hood: Origins, Eve currently co- stars alongside Clive Owen in the Steven Soderbergh-directed drama series, The Knick and her last film project, Bridge of Spies was directed by Steven Speilberg. Prior to
that she co-starred with Sean Penn in Paolo Sorrentino’s film, This Must Be the Place. Skepticism aside, Eve Hewson, has inarguably amassed an impressively selective resume of evocative, blue chip film projects and directors with whom she’s already worked.
She reminisces some advice she’s followed to land these roles and work with some of Hollywood’s greatest, “You have to find a way of making this a career, not just a moment.” In an exclusive interview, I caught up with the ingénue actress to discuss her creative process and the trajectory she has set for herself.
Dress by Céline, Earrings by Proenza Schouler
When did you know you first wanted to become an actor?
The first time I realized I wanted to be an actor was when I went away to shoot my first film when I was fifteen years old. It was my tutor who had wrote this part for me, and I knew that I liked acting a lot but I didn’t know if I was going to do that or if I was going to do music instead. So I went away and shot the film and kind of fell in love with the whole idea of making movies and the process of it. That was when I got hooked.
So is music something you still dabble in as a hobby?
When I was younger I played the piano, drums, bass, guitar etc, but I don’t play like I used to anymore. When I moved to New York it was harder to get access to a piano or a drum set and I kind of replaced that hobby with acting.
You’re currently starring in The Knick, as Nurse Lucy Elkins. In comparison to working in film, what is the process like when you’re doing a series? Do you find that you get closer to your character?
I really think it forces you to sort of think of your character with the understanding that you never really know what your character is going to do on TV. You have to just go with it. You learn more about that character as you go on. Whereas in film, you have your script. You have a set out storyline of where your character is going and what they would or wouldn’t do, but in TV you have to say okay, this is who she is. No matter what scene comes up or gets written into the storyline, I have to incorporate and work that into my idea of her. You can never say, “my character would never do that.”
When you’re filming The Knick, has there ever been a scene that you found challenging due to the gory nature of the content?
Sometimes things are pretty gross. I’m terrified of needles and I hate getting blood drawn and I usually end up fainting! On set, we did it for 20 episodes – you get really used to it, it’s quite like the way nurses and doctors treat actual bodies. You get really comfortable with looking at blood and intestines. We’re all pretty used to it now, but it took us a moment. I love the way movies are made, to see everything that goes on behind the scenes and to see how the makeup department, the special effects team and Steven (Soderbergh) all work together to make it look real. Then when my friends or my family see me on the screen, they say, “I can’t watch. I can’t watch it, I’m so sorry, it’s just too gory!” Well then great, we did our job. It’s not real. That’s what I say to everyone, “It’s not real!” How amazing is that?
In regards to your character on The Knick, what has been the biggest surprise or challenge in playing nurse Lucy Elkins? Was it difficult to relate to her?
The biggest challenge playing Lucy was probably the corset. Doing any accent is challenging, but not being able to breathe at the same time made it harder. I’m really nothing like Lucy at all, but that’s what I enjoyed the most about playing her. Learning about someone that you wouldn’t normally relate to in real life is what acting is all about. I’m not interested in playing someone like me, I know who I am. Acting is like being someone’s therapist. And Lucy is full of surprises. She is so quiet in what she says, but incredibly bold in what she does, and that interested me.
Though in the early stages of your career, you’ve already worked with some amazing directors. Are there any directors you would like to work with in the future?
Yeah there’s like a lot actually. I have a hit list of my favorite directors that I would jump at the chance to work with. I love Joe Swanberg, he did Drinking Buddies. Have you seen that movie?
It’s on my list of movies to watch!
You gotta see that movie! It’s amazing! His whole process and how there is this element of improv – it’s a really cool way of making films. Who else do I love? I love, Khalif Brown, he’s a fairly new director. He did parts of Beyonce’s Lemonade. He’s pretty sick. The part where she’s drowning and her bed is underwater, I love how he did that. Of course, I am obsessed with Tim Burton. I really want to play a ghost and haunt someone in a movie and I feel like Tim Burton could help me do that. Another director would be Ang Lee. Oh, and I love Katherine Bigelow.
Are there any genres that you would like to explore on future projects?
All of them! I don’t really limit myself in terms of characters and genres. I would love to do a creepy scary movie, like Orphan. I love that movie. I also would love to do a romantic comedy, you know. Being a voice actor in an animated children’s film would be so fun because I really love to do accents.
Do you work with a vocal coach on accents?
Yeah I have an amazing vocal coach, her name is Coley Calhoun, she actually lives in Brooklyn as well. She lives in Park Slope. She’s kinda THE woman and she helps me with everything that I do.
Jacket by Giorgio Armani
You are also an experienced traveler, do you have any place in the world you like to retreat to when you need to recharge?
If I’m going to somewhere to recharge, I’m going to go home to Dublin. It’s lovely to escape New York and just be at home in Dublin with my family and read a book or watch movies. It is always green so there are a lot of scenic walks and beautiful trails and sites around the city.
When you’re away from Brooklyn is there any place that you miss now that it’s also home?
Definitely my home! I live in Williamsburg, and I walk along the water every day and I have my little coffee shop that I love, Toby’s Estate.
Have your parents ever given you advice that you didn’t follow and were you glad you listened to your own intuition?
Sometimes, but occasionally parents know best. They’ve always been really encouraging of anything that I wanted to do, they were skeptical of me going into the film industry just because it is so difficult. Now they’re very supportive and have always encouraged me to not just be an actor, but to write, direct, and produce. You really have to find a way of making this a career, not just a moment.
And you’re really embracing the process?
Yes! I had to fight to get my parents to let me go to NYU and study acting. Going to New York to learn more about acting and film was not something they thought was a good idea, which I felt was strange. I really just wanted to learn my craft and hone my skills.
Have you experienced any personal challenges that you’ve had to overcome and that have made you stronger in your career and craft?
I think experiencing rejection has changed me as an actor, because every time you get rejected you have to fight harder and you have to work harder. Any challenge I have come up against has only helped me to be a better actor. Whenever I go in for an audition, I think “Oh my God, this is so hard, I don’t think I can do this.” I work really hard to believe that I can do it. However, I think being in a career that pushes you to continuously be better is amazing. I love that Hollywood is so cutthroat and when you get that job, you have really earned it because you’re competing with the best! It’s so difficult but also very rewarding.
Are you working with any charities or involved in community activism? Your father (U2 front-man, Bono) is known for his work with the underprivileged, did you get that gene from him?
I’m a member of the ONE campaign (Bono’s campaigning organization that fights extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa, by raising awareness), and I support the RED products (a licensed brand that seeks to engage the private sector in raising awareness and funds to help eliminate HIV/AIDS in Africa). I definitely want to get more involved with women’s issues in particular. For example, abortion is illegal in Ireland, and a lot of people are not aware of that. It has to change. I want to help. I grew up in a house where we were told, “If you have a voice, you better use it.” So I’ve never been embarrassed to say what’s on my mind. I think I could use that trait for something bigger than my own ego.
How do you feel about your new role as Maid Marian? What are you most eager about for this new project?
All I can say about the Robin Hood part is that we are going to shoot next year. I’m excited because I’m so obsessed with the director Otto Bathurst. He’s one of the most interesting directors out there right now. I’ve been told I have to learn how to ride a horse which might be worse than my bike riding on The Knick, but I’m staying optimistic. I read with Taron (Egerton) for my screen test and it was just synchronistic. I’ve ALWAYS said I wanted to work with Jamie Foxx. It is such a good crew of talent, and I’m so fortunate to be a part of it.
Jacket by Giorgio Armani
Hair by Rolando Beauchamp @ The Wall Group | Makeup by Junko @ Joe Management | Manicure by Yukie Miyakawa @ Kate Ryan | Custom Headpiece by Elizabeth Ryan Floral | Production by Sacha di Bona @ Angela de Bona | Photographer’s 1st Assistant James Clark | 2nd Assistant Krystallynne | Digital Tech Andrea Bartley | Stylist Assistant Yu Tsao | Production Assistant Kirk Corbin