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Who's Talking to Chris Wallace

Interview with Brian Cox; Interview with Eva Longoria. Aired 7- 8p ET

Aired March 19, 2023 - 19:00   ET



PAULA REID, CNN HOST: CNN will air it exclusively next Sunday at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

And thank you for joining me this evening. I'm Paula Reid. Jim Acosta will be back next weekend. "WHO'S TALKING TO CHRIS WALLACE?" is up next.

CHRIS WALLACE, CNN HOST: Welcome back to WHO'S TALKING. My first guest tonight is the star of perhaps the most anticipated return of a TV series this year.

Brian Cox plays the volcanic media mogul Logan Roy on HBO's "Succession." He sits down for a fascinating conversation to discuss the new and, yes, final season of the show. Who Logan Roy really is and the backstory to his famous catch phrase.


WALLACE: Your line is, and I'd rather have you say it than me --


WALLACE: Yes, exactly. How did that come about?


WALLACE: And later, acting, directing and politics, Eva Longoria is doing it all including a brand-new CNN Original Series that is an emotional journey for her.


EVA LONGORIA, ACTOR: There wasn't a day I didn't cry about somebody's story.

WALLACE: We have two things in common.

HUGH JACKMAN, ACTOR: Do I get a hint?

INA GARTEN, CHEF AND AUTHOR: I always find cooking really hard. I find it really stressful.

WALLACE: Do you feel your life is in danger? TYLER PERRY, ACTOR: And the love of my mother is what brought me here.

WALLACE: What was the worst investment?

MARK CUBAN, BILLIONAIRE ENTREPRENEUR: There is a long list of really bad ones.



COX: I'm 100 feet tall. These people are pigmies.

WALLACE (voice-over): It's one of the most anticipated TV shows of the year.

COX: I got done a huge deal. I got the election.

WALLACE: The return of HBO's "Succession."

NICHOLAS BRAUN, ACTOR: It's like if Santa Claus was a hit man.

WALLACE: For its final season.

SARAH SNOOK, ACTOR: Excited to get into this knife fight?

WALLACE: The scene is set for an epic face-off between media mogul Logan Roy and his children eager to topple it.

COX: You have to be a killer.

WALLACE: Now we talked with the show's star, actor Brian Cox, about playing the F-bomb hurling CEO.


WALLACE: His impressive career from stage to screen, and what's his next act once Logan Roy's story ends.


WALLACE: Brian Cox, welcome. I am delighted to meet you and get the chance to talk with you.

COX: It's very nice to be here.

WALLACE: You have had -- I have to say I'm quite astonished by a long and distinguished career more than 200 work -- movies and TV shows, obviously countless plays. How does it feel to get the role that -- I don't know if you'll agree with me or not that you're likely to be most remembered for Logan Roy in your 70s?


COX: It's kind of something I've been trying to avoid. I've been trying to avoid, you know, because, you know, you get all these actors and identified with certain roles and I think I've done that too badly. I just kept going and I haven't been -- and finally you get a gift. And it is a gift. It's a great, great one. It's one of the truly great roles, and you think, well, couldn't avoid it any longer.

WALLACE: There were, of course, problems.

COX: Absolutely. Absolutely.

WALLACE: So I confess, I'm a huge fan of "Succession." I'm a huge fan of your part in it. You're going to have to put up with me.

COX: That's OK.

WALLACE: Because I'm going to ask you, take advantage of the situation, ask you a lot of Logan Roy questions.

COX: OK. OK. You have to understand I can only talk about so much because of --

WALLACE: I understand. All right, this is going to press those boundaries. When we last saw you, and your family, you were in the process of selling your media empire, much to the distress of your children. Here you are.


SNOOK: You need all of us. You need a super majority and we can kill it. And we will.

COX: You're playing toy (EXPLETIVE DELETED) soldiers. Go on, (EXPLETIVE DELETED) off. I have you beat, you morons.

SNOOK: Well, no. Because you need a super majority --

COX: You need a super majority -- what do you mean?


WALLACE: Brian, are you really going to sell Waystar Royco?

COX: You'll have to wait and see. We'll see. You know. It's an option.

WALLACE: It's an option.

COX: Yes, and Logan, you know, he's very sensible because he always tends to look at his options even though he gets childish and bad tempered. But he kind of knows what he's doing.

WALLACE: In your autobiography, which came out last year, which is fascinating called "Putting the Rabbit in the Hat," you talk about working in the '70s with a great British director Lindsey Anderson.

COX: Absolutely.

[19:05:06] WALLACE: And you talk at one point about him giving you a note and a specific scene where he says, don't just do something, stand there. And there's no better example of that the -- and you can see, I'm a fan here -- the finale of season two when you think that your son Kendall is going to take the fall for your misdeeds and you watch his news conference on television. Here you are.


JEREMY STRONG, ACTOR: This is the day his reign ends. I'll be providing the documents and can answer any questions you may have in the coming days. Thank you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Roy. Do you have anything to say to the victims of these crimes? Does your father know you're making a statement today?


WALLACE: You do nothing but there's so much in that because, you do tell me, if I'm overreading into it, because on the one hand you're clearly ticked off that he's betrayed you and on the other hand, you kind of admire the fact that he's sticking it to you.

COX: Yes, he's got balls. I think what's important, and I've always said this, because I also teach from time to time about acting. I think it's important the element of mystery. The element of what makes the audience sit forward, that makes the audience go that way, what is he doing? What is happening? And I think it's where you go like that and the audience goes towards you. You know, because so much of the time with Logan because he's so temperamental and you know, kind of vociferous and vocal about certain things.

But the thing about for me that's important in acting is to find what the mystery is, what the secret is. It's my secret, I don't share it. But the audience can see something going on here. What's going on? And there's, you know, there's whole string of things that you could say are going on at the same time, calculating, yes, he's sitting there, he's admiring of his son. He's also thinking this kid things he's going to do something? I don't think so.

You know, there's all kinds of -- kind of areas that he's in a very short space of time within seconds. He's visiting.

WALLACE: I think it's fair to say that most people think that, that Logan Roy and the Roys are based on Rupert Murdoch and his family which I know you reject.

COX: Yes. I reject it entirely.

WALLACE: But as someone who spent 18 years working at FOX, I want to put up a scene which I think cuts a little close to the bone on that subject.


WALLACE: Take a look.


STRONG: I hate to say this, because I love you, but you're kind of evil.

COX: Don't talk about things you don't understand.

STRONG: Well, you're smart. What you've done is you've monetized all the (EXPLETIVE DELETED), the American resentments of class and race.

COX: And I thought I was just telling folks the weather.

STRONG: You've turned black bile into silver dollars.

COX: You just noticed. Did you?

STRONG: Yes, maybe I did.


WALLACE: You don't hear any echoes of the Murdochs there?

COX: Well, there's the echo of anybody who's in that position, a position where they're running an empire. And the big difference between Murdoch and Logan is Logan created his empire. You know, Murdoch's empire was already in place and he just took it forward.

WALLACE: He inherited it.

COX: Inherited it.

WALLACE: From his father.

COX: Yes. And I think that Logan is in many ways saying these are my rules. And these are what I do. But there's also again, the mystery element is where is Logan coming from? And he's actually coming from somewhere I think a place of profound disappointment and profound disappointment in the human experiment. I think he feels very, very badly, let down, but certainly throughout the whole show, we've seen scars on his back, we've seen all the stuff that's -- and it's never -- it's, you know, the genius of Jesse Armstrong and the writers is they don't expose any of that.

They just -- that's a color that's there. It's for us to fill in those elements to actually create that inner world as it were. And that's I think precisely what's happening in that scene, where his son says he's evil. You know, Logan doesn't think he's evil. That's a view. It's not a condition that, you know, that's, you know, and that, and of course, naturally, Kendall is going to say that because there's an element of bias because he's felt that he's not being treated properly.


But then Logan also recognizes what is nakedly ambitious about Kendall. And not particularly attractive.

WALLACE: And also, you know, Kendall is playing the moral card and Logan is saying get off your high horse.

COX: That's right, and Logan's, you know, I think Logan believes that morality has collapsed a long, long time ago. So he doesn't feel that he's being particularly moral or even immoral. He thinks it's gone beyond that.

WALLACE: This brings me to a quotation in your book as you're describing Logan, which frankly surprises me and I want to put it up on the screen. You describe "Succession" this way, "It's about Logan Roy trying to teach his spoiled entitled children the value of hard work. Teaching them in a way that is not always hardly ever moral or ethical, but teaching them nonetheless because he wants the best for them."

I'm sure that's how Logan sees himself that he wants the best for them. I don't think that's what you're doing at all. It seems to me he's undercutting them at every point and trying to ensure that there's no succession.

COX: No, he definitely wants a succession. But he's trying to see who's the person that's going to step up to the mark.

WALLACE: But doesn't he cut all of them at the knees every time?

COX: Well, he's been cut at the knees, that's what made him the man he is. He knows about being cut at the knees. He's had that experience and that's just makes you tougher and it makes you more -- it conditions you in a way that is -- that makes you survive in a world which is getting in his view more and more disappointing.

WALLACE: I'm curious about this because I think you're more sympathetic to Logan than I am or the average viewers. I like Logan. I'm very entertained by it, but I don't think he's as sympathetic a character as you do. And I wonder --

COX: I don't think he's sympathetic. Don't get me wrong. There's nothing -- he doesn't go in for sympathy. That's not what he's about. Sympathy is a sort of distraction. He's not sympathetic, definitely not sympathetic, and he can't be sympathetic because of what his intention is in terms of his company.

WALLACE: But I guess my question is this, if you're playing a character, do you in effect have to side with and rationalize him? Do you have to be -- put yourself in his mind other than think this guy is a stinker but I'll play him anyway?

COX: The rule -- I think one of the rules of acting, and it's true and great writers do this as well, is you don't judge your characters. You present them in way but you're not judging them. And I think you cannot go into a situation where you -- I mean, I can see clearly what's wrong with Logan. I understand that aspect. And it's what's wrong with Logan that makes Logan what he is, you know. And he's flawed, ridiculously flawed. He's a misanthrope. He's a very,

very unhappy man. He cannot create -- he cannot form relationships because of his background, because of what has happened to him. He is a product of his background. And that is what you have to put into place in order to create the thing you see on the screen.

WALLACE: Still to come, Brian Cox drops the F bomb repeatedly as we get the hilarious story behind Logan Roy's favorite line.

Plus the surprise clip that got this reaction from him.


COX: This is a shock. I never imagined that he's saying this.




WALLACE: If you're anything like my family, you've been counting the days until "Succession" is back on the air. But will we once again see Logan Roy hurl expletives at his power-hungry children including this trademark?

You say in the book that an actor can own a line. And after he says it nobody else can really ever say it again.

COX: Yes.

WALLACE: Your line is, and I'd rather have you say it than me --

COX: Fuck off.

WALLACE: Yes, exactly. How did that come about? Was that yours? Was that the writer's?

COX: No, that was -- that started -- I don't know how it started. I think it was Jesse, I think it was the writing, certainly the writing. It was writing that -- but then I think it kind of envisages its way through the whole show. You know, I don't know if it was something that was meant as a theme but it's become something. I mean, people ask me to tell them to (EXPLETIVE DELETED) off all the time. You know, I remember I was doing a play, I was playing LBJ.

WALLACE: President Lyndon Johnson.

COX: President Lyndon Johnson. I would come out after the performance and there was a -- and this was the first time it happened. There was a young couple, I mean, she was about 17 and her boyfriend was probably the same age, and they had the device and they came up to me and said, Mr. Cox, can you please tell us to (EXPLETIVE DELETED) off? And then I thought, the world truly is crazy. That really -- that really convinced me that we're in such a mess.

WALLACE: I'm not so sure. I kind of hoped that before this interview is over you'll say it to me.


COX: Well, this is what is so astonishing. You know, so many people want to be told by me to (EXPLETIVE DELETED) off, (EXPLETIVE DELETED) off, and it's the easiest thing in the world to say.


Quite happily I would tell you to (EXPLETIVE DELETED) off. Just (EXPLETIVE DELETED) off.

WALLACE: I have to say I don't think CNN studio have ever had said that word that often. All right.

COX: Exactly.

WALLACE: You share some fascinating insights about acting in your book, that the key to good acting is not to show the audience but to share with the audience.

COX: Share the audience. And let the audience discover.

WALLACE: This is your idea about coming forward.

COX: Yes, exactly.

WALLACE: We're co-conspirator.

COX: That's right. I'm allowing the audience that intimacy with you. Intimacy with the character. And I think that's why Logan really has become very successful. You know, it's a kind of time and tide that you had come to a role suddenly, you know, I've had a great career, don't get me wrong, but the best career that I can imagine.

I couldn't major any better. But then you come to a role like that, which is so kind of atypical in many ways, and yet you got to kind of deconstruct the archetype to be who he is, what he is, where he comes from. And that's why when his son comes with moral statements like you're evil, well, the truth is, yes, we've seen a lot of evil people in the world. But you go, did they start off evil? Did they start off in that way?

How do you get to that point where somebody regards you as evil? How do you get to that point where your disappointment in humanity has reached -- and clearly that's the one thing that Logan and I have in common because we're at an age now where we feel, Jesus, wow, sorry, I have to say. What a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) up life is. You know? What an absolutely (EXPLETIVE DELETED) up it is.

WALLACE: You say in the book, there are no big or small parts. There are just short and long parts. You say do your job and move on. And actors are desperately insecure.

COX: Yes.

WALLACE: Do people in your business, line of work, tend to inflate what it is you do for a living?

COX: I think we -- I mean, it's a hard question. We possibly do out of our own vanity, maybe we over inflate it. But I also think -- I go back to what the intention of acting is. What the intention of the theater is. And Shakespeare says it better than anybody. He talks about holding the mirror up to nature. And that's our job, that's what we have to do. And every aspect that we have to reflect what's going on in life. And, you know, the great actors are the most human, like Tracy to me is one of the great --

WALLACE: Spencer Tracy.

COX: Yes, Spencer Tracy the greatest screen actor of all time. I can watch him endlessly. He's also naughty, by the way, because I'm just -- I'm now getting his technique because I'm become a Tracy watcher, and -- but he's so gifted and he's true. He's always true.

WALLACE: Talking about the craft, you say that voice-over work is your passion. And here you are doing with just as committed, just as effective as anything else, a commercial for McDonald's.

COX: Yes. Oh.

WALLACE: Here you are.


COX: You could count how many sesame seeds there are on top of the hot and deliciously juicy quarter pounder. Or you can just eat them. The hottest, juiciest quarter pounder yet. It's perfect. Made perfecter.


WALLACE: So I have two --

COX: This is a shock. I never imagined I'd be seeing this.


WALLACE: So, first of all, you're very good. I want to eat that hamburger. You make me want to eat it, but is there never a thought, I'm Brian Cox, this is beneath me.

COX: Oh, no. No, I don't believe (INAUDIBLE). I'm an egalitarian. You know, I don't -- this is what I loved about this country. Unfortunately not as egalitarian as it's supposed to be but it's not. But that's what attracted me about America. You know, I don't believe anything is beneath me. You know, I believe that, you know, that we follow our mercenary calling and draw our wages, you know. It's a mercenary calling, and sometimes we play King Lear or Titus Andronicus, or Bach or Churchill, you know, those great roles. And then the opposite is McDonald's.

And give unto Caesar what is Caesar's. You know, I loved doing McDonald's. I enjoyed it because it's funny, it's witty, and the copywriters are doing a great job. It's one of the wittiest things there are. And that's why I love doing it. I love that challenge.

WALLACE: You grew up in Dundee, Scotland, in real poverty.


Your dad died when you were 8 years old. Your mom had mental health issues. When you were 14, you joined a repertory company and sometimes, as you say, you would sleep in a little nook under the stage. Did all of that hardship help make you the man you are today or could you just as soon have done without the Charles Dickens childhood?

COX: Your life is your life, you know, I mean, to lose one's dad at the age of 8 is awful for anybody. To have your mother have a series of nervous breakdowns because of -- she felt guilty because she felt, my dad was incredibly generous, and my mother's great cry was charity begins at home. So there was a conflict already in there. But I -- the irony was, I never felt it. I didn't feel I was in a bad place. I felt I was heartbroken, but I didn't feel that I was -- I just thought, well, I've got to deal with it. I've got to cope.

You know, I mean, my coping mechanism I had no idea existed until all that happened to me and I just got on with it. And my education was a disaster. You know? But I knew what I wanted to do. I always knew what I wanted to do. I always knew I wanted to be an actor.

WALLACE: You have made it very clear that when Logan Roy's story ends, your career doesn't end. You say the only way you see this ending is in a pine box.

COX: Yes. I mean, it's a stop on the highway. It's been a great highway, by the way. But it's a stop, and it's a wonderful stop. I don't in any way I would never regret it. It's been a fantastic time. I mean, one of the best times. But I'm going to on. I'm going to direct my first movie, which I'm doing, which is my love letter, our love letter. The writer and I are both Scots. It's a love letter to Scotland.

And then I am going to do Bach, a play about Bach written by a friend of mine. And then in January of 2024, I'm going to do a play that I've wanted to do for years, which is "Long Day's Journey into Night." So I'm going to play James Tyrone and really looking forward, so I'm going to go back to the theater. And I feel that I need to get back to the theater because I need to know if those muscles are still working or not.

WALLACE: Don't forget, "Succession" starts a week from tonight on our sister network HBO, and I can't wait.

Up next, inside actress Eva Longoria's "Search for Mexico." And why she kept her first big role a secret.


LONGORIA: Don't tell anybody I'm on that show.





EVA LONGORIA, ACTOR: Every time I eat Mexican food, I am happy.

WALLACE: Eva Longoria is branching out from acting to exploring and eating in a new CNN series.

LONGORIA: I'm going to get a t-shirt that says "More salsa."

WALLACE: It's her latest adventure in a long career that started on soap operas.

LONGORIA: You think you know me so well.

WALLACE: Before breaking out and becoming a desperate housewife.

LONGORIA: I'm not ill, I'm just not willing to do makeup.


LONGORIA: And action.

WALLACE: Behind the camera, Longoria is producing and directing her first feature film while staying passionate about politics.

LONGORIA: America is better than this.

WALLACE: And in her 40s, she has also become a mom.


WALLACE: Let's start with your new series. It's called "Searching for Mexico."


WALLACE: It launches this month on CNN. Why did you take on the project?

LONGORIA: Well, this is a spinoff from the very popular "Searching for Italy" show hosted by Stanley Tucci.


LONGORIA: And he called me and he said, hey, we're looking to do another country. He knew I was a big foodie. He knew I was a cook. And he knew I was Mexican-American.

A lot like him, he was Italian-American. So I kind of straddled that same hyphenate, and I said, well, we should absolutely do Mexico. I mean, Mexico is jewel of culinary cuisine. I mean, it is just a special country.

For me, it was like a dream. Like I get paid to eat my way through Mexico.

WALLACE: Well, case in point, in one episode, you go to the Yucatan where you see how the Mayans cooked a whole pig hundreds of years ago.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is like a very important part, marinading, so all the spices and flavor can penetrate into the skin.

LONGORIA (voice over): The marinated pig is entombed in a steel box before being put in the oven, which is literally a freshly dug hole in the ground.

LONGORIA (on camera): What do you call the oven? What is -- PIB?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: PIB. That's why it's called cochinita pibil.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pibil is pib-style.

LONGORIA: Pig-style.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It starts with wood and then we put these rocks on top and well, you just cover it with the branches. Now, we're going to start burying it.


LONGORIA: Yes, and that's eight hours later.

WALLACE: You say this journey, the series made you fall even more in love with your roots.

LONGORIA: Yes, it did.

You know a lot of people associate Mexico with tacos and tequila and tacos and tequila and they do that very well. I'm a tacos and tequila kind of girl. But it's so much more than that.

And so every episode, every state, every city, every pueblo we went to was a story that blew me away. It blew me away. There wasn't a day I didn't cry about somebody's story.

WALLACE: Well, meanwhile, as if that weren't enough. You've also directed your first feature film called "Flaming Hot."


WALLACE: Which is the story of a Frito Lay janitor named Richard Montanez. LONGORIA: Yes.


WALLACE: We were practicing the pronunciation beforehand.

LONGORIA: We were practicing Chris' enyes and that was very good, Chris.

WALLACE: Who played a big role in the creation of the hugely popular Cheetos brand, "Flamin' Hot."


WALLACE: Here is your work as the director.


WALLACE: It is very well directed.

LONGORIA: Thank you.

WALLACE: So as you know, there is some controversy about how involved this gentleman was really in the creation. Why did you want to tell Richard's story?

LONGORIA: Well, because it is Richard's story. We're not telling the history of the Cheeto, we are telling Richard's story, which is compelling and inspirational and motivational.

And, you know, this guy shouldn't be alive, much less successful and the adversity that he has overcome in his life. You know, he spent 42 years at Pepsi, moved his way up as a janitor into an executive. I thought, you know what? I want to bring this story to the big screen to a wider audience.

He's Mexican-American, and I'm Mexican-American, and I thought I don't know the story. How do I not know the story? We have very few heroes in corporate America, in that particular industry. And for somebody like a Richard Montanez to succeed in that corporate form is really remarkable.

And so I think, you know, you can't be it if you can't see it, and this movie will be seen by many.

WALLACE: You have said several times that you're Mexican-American, and what I find so interesting, you're one of the most famous Latinos in this country, in the world. But what most people wouldn't know is that you're ninth generation Texan and is it true that you didn't learn to speak Spanish until you were in your 30s?


WALLACE: Your 40s?

LONGORIA: I am 112 years old. WALLACE: Only in dog years.

And so the question I have is, why has this become so important to you to celebrate -- to honor and celebrate your heritage?

LONGORIA: Growing up in Texas, you know, my family was under five different flags without ever moving. You know, we didn't cross the border, the border crossed us several times.

And so for me, you know, we have this immense pride in our Mexican heritage and culture, but also in our Texan culture. We are proud Texans, and we're proud, patriotic Americans.

WALLACE: You call yourself Texican.

LONGORIA: I'm a Texican.

WALLACE: There you go.

All right, let's do a little -- go back a few years. You got your first break 20 years ago, when you were cast on a very popular soap opera, "The Young and the Restless" and here is --

LONGORIA: Oh, God. Don't show a clip. Are you going to show a clip of that?

WALLACE: Would I do that? Roll it?


LONGORIA: Oh, God, I can't believe you found that.

WALLACE: So what I find so interesting, though, is that you were so determined not to be a struggling actress that at the same time that you have this part on a big soap opera.


WALLACE: You're working as a headhunter for a temp agency out of your dressing room in the studio.


When I moved to Hollywood, I had my bachelor's degree. And so when I told my mom, I'm going to be an actress. She was like -- well, she was fine, because I graduated college, like as long as I finished college. And so I knew I could get a job, I was like, "I'll get a job."

And then I went to a temp agency and they hired me and I was so good at it, that when I got "Young and the Restless," it didn't pay enough for me to live off being an actor.

So I continued being a headhunter and "Young and the Restless." And I would hide the fact that I was in 'Young and the Restless" to my clients, because they didn't want like a dumb actress handling their accounts. And one time one of my clients was like, "You look like a girl that I've seen on a soap opera," and I go, "No, that's not -- I don't know who that...' You know, I was like the opposite of a publicist's dream. I was like, "Don't tell anybody I'm on that show," because I was, you know still making more money on my day job.


WALLACE: Crazy, and then the role that made you a household name, Gabrielle Solis in the big hit, and it was a big hit for a bunch of

years, "Desperate Housewives." Here's a clip.



WALLACE: You were a little naughty, weren't you?

LONGORIA: She was horrible.

WALLACE: You were horrible.

LONGORIA: Okay. Gabby couldn't say the things today that she said then. Yes, I mean, it was a very provocative show. There were so many things that I said and did that I was like, "Oh my gosh."

I think you know, that really was a global phenomenon. I remember going to London and there were all these people outside the hotel, and I asked the driver, I was like, "Who's here?" Bono? Or like somebody important must be here.

WALLACE: Right, right, right.

LONGORIA: And he was like, "You." And I did not understand how those people could have lined up just to come see me or Felicity or Marcia, like it was really surreal and fun at the same time, but it was really crazy that it was so global.

WALLACE: And you say that that's really where you learned the industry. And in fact, it was after you got that role that you formed your own production company?

LONGORIA: Yes. I used "Desperate Housewives" as my film school. I was always very, very curious about cameras and lenses and people and what does that guy do? And what does that do? And what lens is that? What do you mean, you changed it? And why am I in a mark? What's the boom?

I mean, I was like, that annoying kid who was like, but why? But why? But why? And so I just utilized every resource at my fingertips. I mean, I'm on a set 14 hours a day for a decade. If you don't learn something, you're not paying attention, you know.

WALLACE: Still to come from the professional to the personal. Eva opens up about how motherhood changed her life, and the Democratic activist gets real about why some Latino voters are now switching to the Republican Party. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LONGORIA: What I try to encourage politicians to do is not knock on our door every four years with a taco truck and try to get our vote.




WALLACE: Eva Longoria is famous for her acting, but off camera, she is also a passionate political activist. We continue now with a candid conversation about the state of politics, as well as one of her newest roles -- mom.


WALLACE: You in 2016, you marry Jose Baston, who is a media mogul. Here's a picture of the two of you together looking very glamorous. And the two of you have a little boy, Santiago or Santi.

LONGORIA: Santiago. Santi.

WALLACE: So, the question I have is what did that do to your life becoming a mother at 43?

LONGORIA: Yes. I was a late mom. Oh, my baby. I mean, of course, it changes your life completely. But you know, people go, oh, you have a child now. It must be so complicated. He has actually simplified my life because I used to be the center of my universe.

And so making all the decisions based on me and my needs, and my wants, was harder than now he is the center of my universe. And so it's very easy to say no, to a lot more things. And when I say yes, I know, it means a lot, or it's very important.

If it's going to take my time away from my family or my time away from my son, then it has to be worth it, or I don't do it at all. And so he has really grounded me in how I spend my time and what's important to me.

So for me, it's been, of course, life changing, but in a very positive way.

WALLACE: You're also deeply involved in politics, and you were very involved in supporting Barack Obama and supporting Joe Biden. Here is a clip of you speaking at the 2016 Democratic Convention.


LONGORIA: When Donald Trump calls us criminals and rapists, he is insulting American families. My father is not a criminal or a rapist. In fact, he's a United States veteran.

(END VIDEO CLIP) WALLACE: You are very active in trying to mobilize the Hispanic vote to get Hispanics to go out and vote. Question: Would you ever consider running for political office yourself?

LONGORIA: No, no. And especially in this moment of politics. It's so divisive and I don't see how there is faith in politicians in this moment. I can see where voter apathy comes in. Because "Ugh," You know, "Not her, not him. No."

And for me, I really strongly believe the most powerful part of democracy is the citizen. We have way more powers as a citizen than as a politician.

WALLACE: But let me push back a little bit. I mean, you say that, and a citizen can do a lot, and you've done a lot. But I mean, it's obvious, just from this conversation that you're smart, you're thoughtful, you're reflective.

I'm not going to become the leader of the Eva Longoria campaign, but aren't you exactly the kind of person and also representing a particular segment of the population who we could see in public life?

LONGORIA: Well, I think that's the main thing is I am an activist and an advocate for many things and many causes, but I don't speak for Latinos. And I think that's what politicians get wrong is they want to speak for people, I speak for women, I speak for Latino. I don't do any of those things.

What I do and what I try to encourage politicians to do is not knock on our door every four years with a taco truck and try to get our vote. Don't say our vote matters when our lives don't matter.


LONGORIA: You have to engage in these communities every day, not every four years.

WALLACE: I want to pick up on exactly that point and put up some numbers because these are quite striking. In the 2018 Midterms, 69 percent of Hispanics voted for Democratic candidates for Congress, while 29 percent voted for Republicans. That's a 40-point margin for the Democrats.

But in the last Midterms, this past November, the margin had dropped to 60 percent for Democrats and 39 percent for Republicans, so it went from a 40-point margin pro-Democrat to 20-point margin. Why do you think we are seeing this swing? It's still predominantly Democrat, but seeing the swing among Hispanic voters towards the GOP?

LONGORIA: That is an interesting data to look at because if you see anything that came out of the 2022 Midterms was, it was not a choice for the right. I mean, we held on to Congress, we held on to the Senate. I mean, yes, we had losses. But like, if you saw who was presented to you on the right, people chose not to vote for that.

But what I think what that says is, you know, our vote is up for grabs and it depends on the candidates, and it depends on your State, it depends on your county.

You know, what happens from State to State and county to county, whether it's women's rights, voting rights, voter suppression --

WALLACE: But you say the vote is up for grabs, Eva, what is it that the Democrats are missing that some Hispanics are now saying, you know, maybe I have got a place in the Republican Party?

LONGORIA: Well, I think the number one issue for all Americans, including Latinos, which Latinos are Americans is the economy. That's the number one issue.

People think our number one issue is immigration or abortion, and its jobs and economy. And I think, you know, there is a party that speaks better to that. I'm not saying they have a better track record. I am just saying, they have a better marketing plan, I think, because I think, you know, the Democrats have done some progressive things when it comes to creating jobs.

And if you look at small businesses, which is the creation of most jobs in the United States, Latinos, create jobs for -- small business is four times the national average. Latinas, specifically six times the national average. So who's creating the jobs? Our community. We're creating a lot of jobs and a lot for this country.

And so I think they're looking for somebody who has the business solution, the economic solution to their pocketbook, to their monthly bills. Who's going to help me do this?

WALLACE: And so when Republicans talk about lower taxes and less government spending.

LONGORIA: It is appealing.

WALLACE: That's attractive, I

LONGORIA: I think it's attractive. Yes, I think, you know, some -- a lot of the talking points for both sides are very deceiving.

WALLACE: So, acting, politics, business. What's next?

LONGORIA: What is next? Sleep. I'm going to sleep a little bit. Right now, you know, it's all about "Searching for Mexico." I hope people enjoy the show and I hope people look at Mexico in the way that I see Mexico. It's a beautiful country with beautiful people and amazing culture and it is a food destination.

And I think people are going to watch the show and have a better understanding of the people who come from our country.


WALLACE: Up next, a music legend is not walking on by and she goes from star to star maker.


WALLACE: Finally tonight, Dionne Warwick is a legendary singer, but she is now embarking on a new adventure, hoping to discover the next Dionne Warwick.

That's "Hits," the musical, a new stage production that just launched a national tour with stops in more than 35 cities. The cast includes young up and coming singers and actors showcasing some of the top songs in music history, and Dionne Warwick is the executive producer.

The show features hit songs from the 50s through today.

Dionne knows all about appealing to a broader audience as I discovered when she and I discussed the CNN documentary about her life last fall.


WALLACE: You became a crossover star, a crossover from R&B to pop and a crossover from Black audiences to White audiences.

In the documentary you say that, at some points there, you weren't sure where you fit in.

DIONNE WARWICK, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, "HITS" THE MUSICAL: I never quite understood what it was, or what crossover or bridge the gap meant. It was explained to me. Quincy Jones, in fact, you know, being that there were two sets of music. There is Black music, and there is White music, and I didn't fit into either. I was kind of the center part of that all. Both sides of the fence enjoyed listening to whatever I had to give them.

I am very proud of being able to satisfy everybody's ears. And I always say music is music. That is all there is to it.

WALLACE: I am sure it was good for your career in the sense that you appealed to a bigger audience, but just personally, was it hard that you weren't firmly --

WARWICK: Yes. I know. I was just being me and I like me, I don't want to be anybody else.


WALLACE: There is much more of my conversation with Dionne Warwick as well as our sit downs with Brian Cox and Eva Longoria.

You can catch the full interviews anytime you want on HBO Max.

Thank you for watching. We will be back next month with all new conversations. Join us then to find out WHO IS TALKING next.