By Larry Carroll
Wednesday, October 10, 2007 3:28 pm.

Eva Mendes

Most first-time directors would consider themselves fortunate to land Jamie Kennedy and Mo’Nique for their debut effort. But now that the training wheels (named Rodriguez and Tarantino) are coming off for the legendary Frank Miller with “The Spirit,” A-listers are lining up like Motley Crue fans at a leather pants sale.

“I’m excited to be working with Frank Miller, he’s a genius,” Eva Mendes told us recently, nearly jumping out of her chair. “Actually, I didn’t even read a script.”

Thanks to his graphic novels and movie adaptations of “300” and “Sin City” (which credited him as one of three co-directors), the Miller “look” has been well-established. But, in adapting the Sunday morning comic strip launched by Will Eisner in 1940, the feel of a full-on Miller production remains to be seen.

“[Miller] wrote the script as well,” beamed Mendes, who’ll star in the film alongside Samuel L. Jackson, Jaime King, Gabriel Macht and a certain red-hot redhead. “When I first met with him, it was actually me and Scarlett Johansson — we got there at a similar time. We actually sat down and we met with Frank together. It was fantastic, and I was just like ‘Look, I don’t even know what the script is, but I want to work with you’.”

In a few short weeks, the “We Own the Night” star will get her wish. “I play Sand Saref,” she explained. “It’s my first femme fatale character. She’s literally a killer, and she uses her body to get what she wants. I’m excited!”

Those who list Mendes as one of the sexiest women in Hollywood are, no doubt, every bit as thrilled to hear such hot details about the 2009 release. “I loved ‘Sin City’ and ‘300,’ and I love working with creative geniuses,” she gushed. “That brain of his, it’s like, ‘What’s going on in there?’”