Eva Longoria on Life After 'Desperate Housewives': 'I Just Finally Got to Breathe'

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Eva Longoria (Canon)

For nearly a decade, the actress stirred up drama on primetime TV, so when "Desperate Housewives" went off the air in 2012, she transitioned behind the scenes, executive producing Lifetime dramedy "Devious Maids" and the short-lived reality series "Ready for Love," as well as two recently announced new projects.

She's also directing: In addition to helming the Season 2 premiere of "Devious Maids," which will air next year, she was tapped by Ron Howard to make a short film for his Project Imaginat10n film festival.

"I like doing a short film. I like a week in TV. It's quick and intense, and I like that length of project," the 38-year-old Texan says to Yahoo TV about her broadened career path. "And I like directing. It turns out I’m really good at telling people what to do," she adds with a laugh.

For now, working behind the scenes on shows will be the extent of her TV presence.

"Next year, I might entertain something, but I really wanted to take time off after 10 years in television," she admits. "I wanted a break. And, you know, it's only been two years. Everybody thinks it's been so much longer. I feel like I just finally got to breathe. I wanted to take a breath and a pause from it. But I love the medium of television and I will definitely be back."

[Related: Watch Longoria in 'Out of the Blue']

Longoria's break also allowed her the opportunity to be mentored by Howard while making her directorial debut with the short film "Out of the Blue." After she penned the script, Longoria decided that not only would she direct, but she would appear in it as well.

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"Believe me, that's the hardest thing — to direct something and to be in it — and I don't think I'll ever do it again, especially action," she notes. "But once I wrote the script, stepped back, and looked at it, it was just such a fun role, so I said, 'I gotta do it.' Looking back now, I was exhausted and it was a lot of work. But I had never done an action film, so it was an opportunity for me to do something new. Plus, it was just a badass role."

While talking through the project with Howard, even he seemed surprised by what she dreamed up — and the many hats she was wearing.

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Longoria with Ron Howard (Canon)

So what words of wisdom did the Academy Award winner give her when it came to directing?

"Ron gave me some amazing advice," she says. "He was like, 'Wear comfortable shoes.'"

But it was advice she didn't adhere to. In the stunt-heavy movie, the petite brunette can be seen running up walls and brawling with both a woman and man. And when you watch, keep an eye on her footwear: She's in stiletto boots.

"All of it's done in heels, honey!" she laughs. "When I’m running on that wall and the knives are being thrown at me, that was in heels.  And it was hard.  It was definitely a challenge to stay upright. But one time I read that Beyoncé can't dance in flats.  She has to dance in heels. I kinda felt the same way — we rehearsed everything so much that I was already used to fighting in heels."

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Of course, fighting in heels isn't unchartered territory for Longoria. As Gabrielle on "Desperate Housewives," she was known to throw down now and then.

"Oh, we had a lot of fun scenes," she reminisced. "There was one scene where Gaby got so mad at Susan [Teri Hatcher] and just attacked her and jumped on her back. Bree [Marcia Cross] and Lynette [Felicity Huffman] are trying to tear me off, then we all fell into the pool. I remember that day, we all had so much fun. We were like, 'We never get to go at it!' Another time, Susan and I had to roll around in the grass because our kids were fighting. My kid was bullying her kid, and then she and I end up rolling around in the grass getting into a fight.  So we were into a lot of fun stuff."

Although she came with experience, Longoria says her fight scenes in "Out of the Blue" necessitated a recovery period when she wrapped.

"It was a lot of rehearsals, a lot of prep time, and a lot of icepacks," she says. "Your body hurts. I hurt my hip on the wires as I was trying to fly off the wall. When you're in it, you're just pushing through because it was a five-day shoot. By Saturday we were done and I was in bed and couldn't move. I was just like, 'Oh my God, what did I do to my body?!'"

Watch Longoria show off her kick-ass moves — and flex her director chops! — right here in "Out of the Blue." Plus, check out the other films in the Project Imaginat10n film festival brought to you by Canon.

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