Eva Longoria’s photo shoot isn’t going so well. She’s on a soundstage under bright lights, vamping for the camera in a red gown, blingy jewels, and a giant hairpiece. Her handsome male co-star is at her side. A wind machine blows, and a director yells, “Action, guys!” But the elements don’t seem to jell. The fake wind is too strong. Longoria’s dress billows, and her hair flies awkwardly into her face. She and her co-star can’t seem to get along. He leans seductively into the spotlight. She hip-checks him. He tries to put an arm around her. She bats his hand away.
As it turns out, everything is going according to plan. Because at this moment, Longoria isn’t Eva Longoria, American television star and producer. She’s Ana Sofia, the vain, insecure, but ultimately lovable Latina diva at the center of Hot & Bothered, Longoria’s new show, which will premiere next year on NBC. It’s been three years since Longoria appeared onscreen playing ex-model Gabrielle Solis on Desperate Housewives, and she’s back with a bang. Like 30 Rock, Hot & Bothered is a behind-the-scenes look at the TV business, with its ego clashes and bad behavior, but this is set in the over-the-top world of telenovelas, or Latin soaps. This photo shoot for NBC’s promotional spots offers a taste of the show’s premise: Ana Sofia’s life gets complicated when her ex-husband—played by Jencarlos Canela, a real-life Telemundo soap star and pop heartthrob—is cast as her love interest.
Hot & Bothered is, in Longoria’s words, “a big, fat comedy,” and she and Canela have plenty of screwball chemistry. As the cameras roll, they push each other and tussle for the spotlight.
“Perfect!” the director shouts.
Canela grabs Longoria’s waist, and she jabs him in the ribs with an elbow, all while batting her eyelashes. “That’s it!” the director says. “And then, Eva, exit—leave him! Good-bye!” Longoria stomps off.
When the shoot ends, Longoria and Canela have a different dynamic: that of boss and employee. Canela, who is 27, asks Longoria about the next round of promo spots; they will not be appearing in character but as themselves. “Would you like me to change?” he asks.
Longoria studies him. “I think you look very handsome in the suit,” she says, smoothing his lapel.
Canela offers to wear the clothes he arrived in—a beige leather jacket, a white T-shirt, jeans, and boots.
Longoria considers. “Can I see them?” she asks. Just then, someone bellows into a walkie-talkie. Longoria shushes him. “Shhh! Please!” She’s thinking. She tells Canela to get the jacket. “Bring it over here. Because you look so handsome in the suit, I might want you in the suit.”
He says, “Whatever you want, baby!” and scampers off obediently.
Longoria returns to her dressing room. “I’m not being bossy. I’m a producer,” she explains, sitting at a makeup station as two assistants transform her from Ana Sofia back into Eva. The teetering heels come off, followed by the fake eyelashes and the hairpiece. “I’m wearing two sets of fake boobs!” Longoria announces, removing the padding. After 15 years in television, she’s not shy about changing in public. She whips off the gown too, revealing her petite, curvy body. She struggles with a clingy skirt. “Oops! My ass!”
Her hairdresser says, “That ass has its own zip code.”
When Longoria is dressed, Canela returns with the jacket. She approves: “Yeah, do that! Thanks, baby.”
To read the full feature, where Longoria talks more about her return to prime time, Latina power, and her newfound domestic bliss, pick up the August issue of InStyle, available on newsstands and for digital download now.