A fiercely independent actress who refuses to be pressed into a conventional mode or typecast, Eva Mendes was studying marketing in the late '90s when an agent stumbled across her photo while perusing Mendes's neighbor's portfolio. She soon appeared in an Aerosmith video and made her film debut in Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror. Mendes next appeared in a few made-for-television productions and hammed it up with Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan in A Night at the Roxbury before being cast in a prominent role in Urban Legends: Final Cut. Working against typecasting despite her teen horror resumé, Mendes next took roles in Exit Wounds, Training Day, and All About the Benjamins. Mendes next began work on a children's book titled Crazy Leggs Beshee in which she wanted to introduce art, history, vocabulary, and values to children in a fun and easily comprehendable medium.
In 2003, Mendes' career took off, with the actress taking on large roles in an ecclectic quartet of high-profile films. In 2 Fast 2 Furious she played a customs agent working with Paul Walker to bring down a Miami drug cartel. Out of Time found her reteaming with Training Day costar Denzel Washington. Flexing her comedic chops, Mendes was the love interest of half a pair of conjoined twins in the Farrelly brothers' Stuck on You. And in Once Upon a Time in Mexico she played another government agent, this time opposite Johnny Depp.
Mendes would go on to appear in a number of films over the coming years, like The Wendell Baker Story, Hitch, Ghost Rider, The Other Guys, and Girl in Progress. She took several years off in order to focus on her growing family, but in 2015, it was announced she would reprise her role from 2 Fast 2 Furious in a future Fast film.