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Eva Longoria, Zoe Saldana and Olivia Wilde are stepping behind the camera this month to bring the stories of Glamour magazine to life.
The three actresses are each directing a short film based on true-life stories of Glamour readers (the magazine, like WWD, is owned by Condé Nast Publications.) The films will premiere on Oct. 24 at the Directors Guild of America Theater in Los Angeles.
Longoria is taking on the tale of Alex, a 35-year-old Glamour reader forced to make a decision about having a double mastectomy. She is casting her film this week and will begin filming in late August. Longoria said that Alex’s story appealed to her on a number of levels. “First of all, it was a surprisingly humorous story for such a serious topic. It also demonstrated the camaraderie and close friendship of a group of women who are trying to help their friend give her boobs a proper send-off before her double mastectomy. And it had a great story arc. These are short films, and you need to be able to tell a story in less than 20 minutes.”
While she’s certainly no slouch in front of the camera, Longoria said she greatly enjoys working behind the scenes. She has executive produced or co-produced six TV projects, including the TV movie “The Philanthropist,” over the past several years and said she is currently developing three TV projects.
Longoria also has two films in postproduction: “Cristiada,” a chronicle of the Cristeros War (1926-1929), which was touched off by a rebellion against the Mexican government’s attempt to secularize the country, and “The Baytown Disco,” in which she stars with Billy Bob Thornton. Longoria is also about to launch her second fragrance with Falic Fashion Group (“the first one was clean and fresh, like you got out of a shower. The second is a little muskier and different — it’s more of a nighttime scent with white musk”) and said she is in talks to do an apparel line, although she declined to give details.
Saldana’s film, “Kaylien,” is about a young schoolgirl who feels like an alien. At the end of the film, it is revealed that the little girl is autistic. Saldana cast Bradley Cooper and Malin Akerman in the story, which was filmed earlier this month.
“My 7-year-old niece was getting bullied this year, so shedding light on that was very important to me,” said Saldana. “We know a lot of people who have kids with some form of autism, so I wanted that to be part of it. Then, I wanted to integrate what I love in filmmaking — motion — so I brought some of my colleagues from ‘Avatar,’ including my assistant director, my stunt team, animators and the guys who trained me for the role for help. It took three days to shoot, because even though it’s short, it was the first Glamour film with motion capture, stunts and special effects.”
Wilde — who was named as a face of Revlon earlier this week — took a practical view: “I think it will make me a much better actress and it seems like something every actor should do at least once,” she said. “Actors so often walk onto a set and believe that the process starts when we arrive and it ends when we leave. So I think the greatest discovery is how much work happens when the actors are not there. Also, I’ve always kind of mourned the small number of female directors in this business and I kind of complain about it a lot without doing anything. So instead of whining about there being a lack of female directors, why don’t I become one and create my own story. So it’s been a dream for a long time.”
Leslie Russo, associate publisher and brand development director for Glamour and an executive producer on Glamour Reel Moments, noted that the project began in 2005. Alums of the Glamour project include Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Aniston, Demi Moore, Kirsten Dunst and Jessica Biel. Actors, directors and crew donate their time to the project, and an underwriter is involved each year. This year the underwriter is Clarisonic.
Chris Payne, vice president of marketing for Clarisonic, noted that the project was “a great fit” for the brand. “Working with the Glamour team to select stories from readers and watch those stories come to life helps us connect on an emotional level with readers.”