Saturday 20 January 2018

All about Eve: 'I'm not here because of my dad'

When Eve Hewson was in school she used to let on her famous father was a doctor. Now Bono's actress daughter gets to pretend for a living, writes Edel Coffey

A star in her own right: Eve Hewson in Cannes; right, on the set of ‘The Knick’ in New York, left.
A star in her own right: Eve Hewson in Cannes; right, on the set of ‘The Knick’ in New York, left.
Eve Hewson with her dad, Bono

Edel Coffey

For a man who is one of the most recognisable people in the world, Bono has done a good job keeping his children out of the limelight. You might be able to name all of David Beckham's offspring, but can you say with certainty even how many children Bono has, never mind their names? (He has four: Jordan (23), Eve (22), Elijah (14) and John (11).)

His second daughter, Eve, now looks set to step out of the protective no-media bubble she grew up in, as she follows in her father's showbiz footsteps. The young actress has moved from small roles in even smaller films to starring alongside Oscar winner Marion Cotillard and Hollywood stars like Mila Kunis and the late James Gandolfini.

Her parents were not initially enamoured with her career choice. Her mother, Ali Hewson, once described the industry as "tough and lonely and not what you want for your child".

"It's because they know that world and it's really hard," Eve told this paper at the time. "For a young female, especially, it's excruciating. The rejection is awful, the competition is terrifying and you're constantly up and down. My parents knew that, because they know actors and they know that world, so when I decided this was what I wanted to do, they were like 'no, no, no, please no!' I had to really fight for it."

Surprisingly, she also had to work for it. "My parents have been great about keeping us disciplined and making us work for what we want," she said. "I don't get handed money -- and I never will."

Last year, she and Hunger Games actor Jack Quaid (son of Meg Ryan and Denis Quaid) set up a fundraising page to raise $7,000 (€5,145) for a film they want to make.

Growing up in Killiney, Co Dublin, Eve went to the nearby St Andrew's College in Booterstown. Bitten by the acting bug at a young age, she started acting professionally at the age of 15.

She paced herself, however, learning her craft before taking on bigger roles, some of which were undoubtedly being offered to 'Bono's daughter'. The director Paolo Sorrentino, who cast her in This Must Be The Place, said: "She's a very mature young actress. I was amazed that such a young girl could have such an adult way of thinking."

Her approach has been remarkably measured. She starred in a short film and then a music video for the Irish band, The Script. Not the most challenging roles but certainly safe first steps for a developing actress with so much scrutiny on her every move. When she was 18, she moved to New York to study theatre and child psychology at both the New York Film Academy and NYU. "There were times when I wondered if I was doing the right thing, studying when I could have been going to auditions," she said.

"But it was important to me to train and know what I was doing . . . I knew there would be doors open to me just because of where I'm coming from, and I didn't want to get opportunities and then f**k them up. I didn't want to suck."

This eminently sensible approach paid off as she started to land meatier parts. Her turn as the young and unhappy goth, Mary, in Sorrentino's 2011 film was a landmark role for her, casting her alongside big names like Sean Penn and Frances McDormand. Hewson gave a subtle, understated performance, which impressed critics.

A famous father has its advantages but she hasn't always welcomed it and even went so far as to hide who he was, saying: "In school, whenever we had to write those letters where you say, 'Hi, my name's Eve and my dad does this. . .' I always used to lie and say that my dad was a doctor. It just saves conversation. People always find out eventually."

While she is open about her upbringing, a lifetime with a father in the public eye has taught her a thing or two and her private life is strictly off-limits. She has been dating One Tree Hill actor James Lafferty since she was 19.

She is smart enough to know that many of the offers that come her way are not solely based on her talent, but she knows too that her name won't carry her all the way.

"That's the thing about acting -- you can't fake it. If you're up there on the screen saying those lines and you're bad, then you're bad and no director is going to sacrifice his movie and cast me in it just because he wants to meet my dad."

While Hewson may still be a name on the fringes of superstardom, each new role has earned her further respect. Last year's Enough Said, where she played the daughter of the late James Gandolfini, was her most mainstream film yet, while French director Guillaume Canet's Blood Ties brought her more critical acclaim.

She is now filming a 10-part television series, The Knick, directed by Steven Soderbergh (Erin Brockovich; Magic Mike), which will likely make her a household name.

Perhaps her self-confessedly 'normal' upbringing is what is keeping her grounded throughout her slow and steady rise to fame. "I'm so lucky to be in this situation with such normal parents, and I say 'normal' in the sense of their relationship," she said in 2012.

"My parents have been together since they were 15, they still live in Dublin, they live a very normal life and it was important to see that. Obviously we were able to go to amazing places and see incredible things and meet incredible people -- but we never felt entitled to it."

In 2014, it looks like Eve Hewson is set to go to some incredible places all by herself.


1991: Born Memphis Eve Hewson on July 7, the second daughter of Paul and Ali Hewson.

2001: She makes her debut in her father's video documentary U2 Go Home: Live from Slane Castle.

2005: Stars with older sister Jordan in a short film Lost and Found.

2008: Takes on a bigger role in the film The 27 Club.

2010: Stars in The Script's music video 'For The First Time'.

2011: Lands first big part as Mary in Paolo Sorrentino's This Must Be The Place.

2013: Gets roles in Guillaume Canet's Blood Ties and stars alongside James Gandolfini in Enough Said.

2014: Filming the Steven Soderbergh 10-part mini-series The Knick in New York.

Irish Independent

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