Eva Longoria Says 'Desperate Housewives' Couldn't Air Today: 'It Was So Groundbreaking' (Exclusive)

Eva Longoria joined ET to open up the vault and look back on some of her biggest career moments.

Eva Longoria is taking a trip down memory lane!

The Flamin' Hot director sat down with ET for a rETrospective, where she flashed through some of her most iconic career moments, from getting her SAG card for an appearance on Beverly Hills, 90210 to her unforgettable run as Gabrielle Solis on Desperate Housewives.

Longoria recalls being directed by Tori Spelling during a time when 90210 was "the biggest show on Earth."

"To get, you know, Flight Attendant #3 was like, 'I've arrived!' I was so happy," she shares. "That's like one of the first times an actor can direct. I was super professional...but inside I was fangirling for sure."  

Looking back at her time as Isabella Braña on The Young and the Restless, Longoria shares how booking a role on a soap opera "was the epitome of success." 

"My mom was so happy when I got the contract because I did like one line on General Hospital and one line on another soap. And I just remember that was the dream, if I could just get on a soap opera," she says. "Then it was a lot of work. I mean, you know, it's a daily show. We move really fast. And, you know, I liked my bubble because I didn't really work with anybody else except Doug Davidson and Christian LeBlanc. So I was in a really small bubble while I was on that show, but it was fun. It was a lot of fun."

The role came at a time when Longoria was taking acting classes and she felt "so young."

"I was just bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and I was on set to learn," she adds. 

Then in 2004, a year after her time on Y&R, and with two additional TV roles under her belt, Longoria's life changed when Desperate Housewives premiered on ABC. 

"I love that show so much, I miss my time on the show," the 48-year-old tells ET. "I miss Gabby. I miss being Gabby; she was so fun, and she said and did things I wish I could say and do."

"I just remember pinching myself. I remember reading the script and going, 'Well, this will never go,' because it was so different," she continues. "It wasn't a comedy and it wasn't a drama. Nobody knew what we were and when we did the first table read, it was like goosebumps because it was the entire cast and it was the first time we all had met."

Longoria remembers how "immediately" she became a unit with her co-stars -- Teri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman and Marcia Cross. She shares how she was "the newbie on the block" alongside stars who had already made their marks on hit shows. But despite the difference in star levels, "we were in it together and we had so much fun."

The series was a hit among viewers and critics alike as the seasons followed the lives of the foursome seen through the eyes of their friend and neighbor who took her life by suicide in the pilot episode (Brenda Lee Strong as the late Mary Alice Young).

In the series debut, Longoria's Gabby is also a newbie to the fictional Wisteria Lane, where she's married to the wealthy businessman Carlos Solis (Ricardo Antonio Chavira) and begins an affair with her teenage gardener, John Rowland (Jesse Metcalfe). 

Longoria reveals that Metcalfe wasn't even the original actor cast as the gardener -- the initial star was "a younger kid."

Laughing, Longoria continues, "They recast him because they're like, 'He really looks 16!' And then they cast Jesse and [he] was 25 when he did the show. He was 25 playing 16, and I was 27 playing 40. So Jesse and I were actually the same age so we didn't feel weird, but it was definitely much better chemistry and better for the story that it was Jesse. And it was so iconic! I remember Jesse and I going everywhere together and people still come up to me and ask me like, 'Tell me about the gardener.'" 

While many series have earned a second coming thanks to reboots and sequel series, Longoria isn't as certain that Desperate Housewives could do the same. 

"I don't know if we could do the show today. I think we'd get canceled," she quips. "I mean, not canceled on TV but like canceled in culture because it was so groundbreaking and we said and did so many things that were shocking at the time. I don't know where these ladies would be now in their life."  

Going on to share that creator Marc Cherry has rejected the idea of returning to the characters because "he feels like we fully explored these characters," Longoria admits that she feels the series "fully mined" what they could with the characters.

She adds, "I could not sleep with one more person on that street -- like, I was like, 'I've slept with everybody. You've slept with everybody! We've exchanged husbands.' It was like, 'What else? What other stories could we possibly tell [with] these women?' And so that's Marc's big, big thing; he's like, 'Why now?' He doesn't want to reboot just to reboot."

Still, she makes sure to add that she'd be "the first" to sign on if he ever decides to head back to Wisteria Lane.

Meanwhile, Longoria is taking her directing skills from the small screen to the big screen. Flamin' Hot marks her feature directorial debut, a film based on the memoir A Boy, a Burrito and a Cookie: From Janitor to Executive, which tells the story of Richard Montañez, a former janitor at Frito-Lay who claims to have invented the iconic Flamin' Hot Cheetos.

The actress, who has formerly directed episodes of several shows, including Devious MaidsJane the VirginBlack-ish and Grand Hotel, tells ET that she became a producer and director to get Latino stories told.

"It's super important to me to get our stories told. It's why I became a producer and director, is to have control of the narrative and the image that this industry puts out to the world because, you know, the images that are put out by Hollywood educate other communities about us," she explains. "But more importantly, I want to be sure that people can see the possibilities of things that they can be outside of these, you know, Narco shows."

Montañez's claims have been disputed in recent years. However, Longoria feels his story was still an important one to be told. 

"It is such an important moment for Latinos in Hollywood, and we were trying to remember when's the last time we had a major studio film for us, and it has been like 20 years. We can't get a film every 20 years, this is crazy... When I read this story, I was so inspired. I was like, 'Wow, and this is exactly the type of movie I've always wanted to make.' Not so much a biopic but a feel-good family movie, a funny movie, a movie filled with heart and it does all those things, and it's about us. It's about our community. So, this is my love letter to the Hispanic community, but it's also a movie for everybody."

"I've been a decade directing in TV but I hadn't done a film and I read [the script] and I cried four times. I was like, 'Oh my god, why don't I know the story? Everybody needs to know this story!'" she says of her reaction upon receiving the script. "It's so inspiring. Everything he overcame -- he didn't just survive his life, he's thriving in spite of all the adversity he had and faced. So it wasn’t until I read the script and then I was like, 'I'm the only person who can tell this story. I'm the only one who can direct this.' I really felt that in my bones. I was like, 'No, this is mine.' And I berated them into giving me the job."

From getting her beginning on soap operas to making her feature directorial debut with "the greatest thing I've ever directed," Longoria says she's enjoyed looking back at her career thus far.

"I loved every moment of my career, I mean, every moment led to this moment and so I'm so grateful for all the experiences I've had in this industry," she shares. "I really had a great time, as you can tell!"

Flamin' Hot is streaming now on Hulu and Disney+.