Jeff Daly/Getty Images
Lena Hansen
December 12, 2007 AT 03:00 PM EST

She might have posed looking like Cinderella and Snow White for the Campari calendar, but Eva Mendes isn’t the slightest bit submissive or lacking in brains like your typical fairytale heroine.

The calendar for the distinguished Italian liqueur, which featured Salma Hayek last year, puts a sensual and adult twist on fairy tale themes. Flipping through its pages, you’ll see the Cuban-American actress, 33, dressed as an all-grown-up and sexy version of Little Red Riding Hood, complete with a wolf at her side. “His name was Lupo,” she says of the growling animal she holds by the collar in the picture. “He was so cute, but he was still a wolf. [When] I saw him show his teeth I got really nervous.”

She didn’t have much luck with the white horse she posed with as Snow White either. “The model Carlos and I were trying to get up on the horse, but it was bucking us off. The shot was supposed to be us toasting Campari up on the horse.” Looks like the Prince Charmings and the horses aren’t as well-behaved in real life as they are in fairy tales.

According to the actress, her favorite story as a child was Sleeping Beauty. “My mom would always call me that. I sleep in; I am a professional sleeper. If they had the Olympics for sleeping, I would take the gold,” she jokes, “I can sleep 15 hours straight.” But even with all that time in bed, the actress has still had a very productive year. Her role as Joaquin Phoenix’s girlfriend Amada in We Own the Night has been one of her favorites.

In fact, Mendes liked the role so much that she asked director James Gray if he would change the name of the character to Amada, in honor of her maternal grandmother. Even though the actress never got the chance to meet her grandmother, who died in Cuba in the 1940s, she feels an inexplicable attachment to her. “I have a feeling that I am so like her, I feel like we’re connected,” she says.

Mendes considers the Amada of the movie to be a very profound character. “The film opens with a pretty strong sex scene. When we first see her we think we have her pegged…and then we see that she has a lot of depth about her. She ends up changing, growing up in the film,” the actress explains.

Mendes also acknowledges that she herself has grown up as an actress. Her upcoming projects for 2008 include roles in The Spirit, a movie based on a comic book and also starring Scarlett Johansson and Samuel L. Jackson, and The Women, a remake of a classic film from 1939. “It’s about these fabulous women,” she says of the latter film, “there is not one man in the movie.”

There is a man in her personal life, though: filmmaker George Augusto Gargurevich, who seems to be much more timid and quiet than Mendes. “I’m really loud,” the actress reveals. “Sometimes my boyfriend will be like ‘Shh! You’re yelling.'” She also inherited her Cuban parents’ love for food, music, dance and their “zest for life.”

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