Credo: Actress Alice Eve on being sprayed by elephants, bad habits and her ideal Christmas lunch


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The Independent Online

My underwear scene in ‘Star Trek’ wasn’t gratuitous That sort of fantasy film is about hyper-reality – people with extensive capabilities living in fantastical worlds – and it’s my job as an actor to present the ultimate form in terms of health and fitness. So in these sort of films it works to, say, see a shirtless Chris Hemsworth looking incredibly fit in Thor 2; you believe he can wield that hammer – and it’s good seeing my character in her underwear and knowing that not only does she have the brains of the ship, she has [the fitness], too.

You have to be emotionally well equipped to be an actor You are constantly being looked at and judged and you have to not find it destructive. One way of doing that is not reading any negative stuff. I only deal with directors [not the critics], because they are the ones who shape me and my performance.

You never really know what’s going on behind closed doors It’s the theme of my new film, Some Velvet Morning. It’s this complex tale of love between a man [played by Stanley Tucci] and his mistress, who have these really complex feelings for one another. It’s a very shocking film, but one I’m very proud of.

I’m more confident than my mother was She [the actress Sharon Maughan, perhaps most famous for starring in TV ads for Nescafé Gold Blend from 1987 to 1992] was raised in a poor Catholic family in the 1950s when things were different for women.

I miss my old family home in Dorset It’s this rickety, dishevelled, cosy home with a big dining-room. I have this dream Christmas scenario where I imagine I’m back in the house with my family and friends from all over the world, who have come to have lunch with me: turkey, stuffing, bacon-wrapped sausages, then a long walk in the English countryside.

I have a life in LA, but really I’m a Londoner I’m not attached to any singular existence, though: I’ve also lived in Africa, when my father [the actor Trevor Eve] was on a show in Zimbabwe for six months. Although now much of that place has been destroyed by Mugabe, which is very sad.

My eyes are different colours – but you’d only notice in direct sunlight I once had a boyfriend who took nine months to notice it, although in well-lit scenes on a film, it is quite noticeable.

Your relationship with your body has to change as you age When I was 16, I could eat a tub of Häagen-Dazs ice-cream and nothing in my body would alter. But then you start getting hangovers, and you can’t eat a whole tub any more and you’re like, “Oh my god…” And you have to change your expectations of yourself.

Elephants are magical animals When I was young, I spent a long time working on a farm in the Punjab in India, cleaning elephants. They loved spraying me with water. But what stayed with me the most was the intelligence behind their eyes. They have memories, they lament the deaths of others; you have to have empathy for anything that feels emotional pain in the same way we do.

Anything you do repetitively is dangerous Except eating, of course – but I believe habits are to be changed as soon as you realise you’ve got one – if anyone told me about a bad habit, I’d stop it. So I don’t have any. Well, none that I’d tell anyone about…

Alice Eve, 31, is an actress whose film credits include ‘Starter for 10’ and ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’. She is a supporter of the elephant charity Space for Giants, this year’s Independent Christmas Appeal charity. For more: