Devoted Actress, “A Woman of Luck and Sacrifices…” By Ivana Gentile
Eva-Maria Leonardou is a Greek actress who has played roles in television shows such as General Hospital, Love’s Unending Legacy, Rivals of Jesus, and many more. She has acted in films such as On a Dark and Stormy Night, Like a Virgin, Work of Art, and Devil’s Den. She has done theater acting as well for Phaedra and Eurocitizens. When she was very young, Oscar nominated Greek Writer and Director Nikos Foskolos discovered her and made her childhood dream of starring in “I Lampsi” come true. In addition, the Antenna Network awarded her “for her priceless contribution to the long lasting success of the TV Series I Lampsi.” Currently, Eva-Maria is learning a lot of new crafts such as directing, producing, production design, editing and even costume design, “I actually sewed the costumes myself, ” Eva-Maria added. She is doing everything, even Foley Art, which are the sounds that are not recorded on the set and are added in post-production by a sound designer. “You don’t want to be any where near me when I’m being creative!” She said laughing. She is doing all this for the trailer, which she will use to raise the money for her first feature film called 2012, The Year The Knights Died, which she has written and will be starring in. “It’s a supernatural thriller that takes place in 2012, but sees this year from a very different perspective than the movies we’ve seen so far on this subject,” Eva-Maria says. Her goal is to stand in front of the investors and say: “Here’s what I made all by myself with no money and no crew. Imagine what I would accomplish if I had the money, a 30 people crew and a professional director!” Eva-Maria just hired a director, he is a brilliant Italian director named Simone Bartesaghi. She mentioned that when she met Bartesaghi she thought: “Here’s a person I might finally be able to get in synch with. A fellow Mediterranean! You know why? Because una faccia, una razza!” Eva-Maria shared her most embarrassing moment. She once had to run in the middle of a rainy night in the streets of Athens while she was playing a serial killer. The cameras were hidden, so people and drivers passing by could see no crew or equipment, just her in a state of madness in a mental asylum white gown, all wet, messed up and dirty. On the other hand, her hilarious moment was when she had to play that same serial killer dressed as a priest. She had to put on a fake beard, a long black robe, and the vestments of a priest. Since Greek productions are low on money, they had to take the subway. When she and the crew entered the subway, an old man immediately stood up from his chair and said: “Father, please sit down.” Everyone was looking at them, the gaffer could not stop laughing, and the old man was really mad because he could not believe what was happening. At that point Eva-Maria burst out laughing, so the old man saw the priest and his wide female denture revealed. He started yelling: “Shame on you! You are making fun of this religion sacred…our religion… shame on you!” The gaffer whispered to him: “We’re shooting something.” “But the old man was out of control!” Eva-Maria said. Moreover, Eva-Maria shared one of her emotional moments. She was acting as the female lead character named Vette for On a Dark and Stormy Night in California on a dessert with really low temperatures and two hoses pouring freezing cold water on her. Eva-Maria was shivering, turning blue 20 / Summer 2010
and water was getting into her nostrils so she could not breath. But she says that if God appeared in front of her and gave her the freedom to walk away, she would have said: “NO! I wouldn’t change this for the world. This is what I’ve been born to do and there’s no better place for me to be than this hell I’m living right now. I gave up everything I had in Greece for moments like this and I won’t let anyone take it away from me.” However, the most emotional moment was when the other actors and actresses were trying to warm her up during breaks with hugs and towels. Her most unforgettable memory is the first role that she played on Greek TV as a serial killer named Magda. Besides playing this role for the television series, Eva-Maria also had to play another role in theaters all over Greece for a summer. The very first performance was in a small village in northern Greece. When Eva-Maria and the crew arrived at that village, everywhere they looked were posters promoting the play and its actors, but one of the posters hung on a tree had only her face ripped off, so she was terrified because she realized that Magda was a hateful character. After the play was done, the whole crowd rushed behind stage shouting and yelling. But Eva-Maria realized that they were shouting phrases of praise, hugging and asking her for autographs. She could not believe what was happening! Among the crowd she suddenly heard familiar voices shouting: “Eva-Maria! Eva-Maria!” It was her parents who had driven all the way from Athens to surprise her. The crowd immediately opened way for her parents and started congratulating them too. Then a hand from inside the crowd gave Eva-Maria the torn piece of that poster from that tree and asked: “Could you please sign this for me?” Besides acting, Eva-Maria likes to listen to retro music from the 60s, 80s and the 90s, love songs, Latin music, tango and Greek music of course. She likes to eat everything especially al pesto sauce, but she does not like sushi. Her hobbies include vacationing, dancing, yoga, the supernatural, astrology, swimming, hiking, sunbathing and “sex.” She can also speak Greek, English, German and some Italian. Eva-Maria admires and would love to work with Steven Spielberg, Guillermo del Toro, Tim Burton, Alex Proyas and Peter Jackson. The actors she would love to play opposite with are Al Pacino, Andy Garcia, Geoffrey Rush and Adrien Brody. “For obvious reasons. Who wouldn’t? When you work with such gifted people, their talent becomes contagious, if your immunity system is weak…” She winked. In order for Eva-Maria to feel completely accomplished in her life, her future plans and dreams are to make movies that will stay forever, that will make a difference and will leave a mark in this world. She wants to help other artists fulfill their dreams, people who need food, money and work, and help animals that are being tortured to survive and live in humane conditions. “I want to help make this world a better place…after all has been done, I want to withdraw myself from the world, retire at my country house in Greece and dedicate the rest of my life to spiritual studies,” Eva-Maria added. In conclusion, Eva-Maria considers herself a woman of luck and sacrifices. “Luck doesn’t come without sacrifices. And when it does, it’s boring. You don’t get that feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction,” she said. Eva-Maria cannot describe herself in just three words because she says she is conflicted, unpredictable and chameleon-like. She cannot even predict her own actions, but she will always know her values and dreams and love her family.