When Salma Hayek was cast in Robert Rodriguez’s Desperado, she had no idea she would have to film a sex scene with co-star Antonio Banderas. In a recent interview on the podcast, Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard, the Lebanese-Mexican actress revealed that she “started to sob” the day they had to shoot the scene.
Shepard and co-host Monica Padman began the interview by professing their love for the film and for Antonio Banderas. (Shepard’s wife, actress Kristen Bell, had a poster hanging on her wall of the Spanish actor.) Hayek reminded them how many barriers that film faced, one of which was casting an actual Mexican actress, in a film directed by a Mexican-American man, for an American audience.
Not just the film, she was put through the ringer to land the leading female role because in Mexico she was a star, but in the U.S. she became the “laughing stock” of Mexico because all the roles she was being given were extra roles like “the prostitutes,” or drug dealers, or mistresses. But director Rodriguez saw an interview and immediately wanted to hire her. Even with the director on board, the studio made her audition six times. (The actress the studio wanted? Cameron Diaz.)
She explained that the love scene was not originally part of the film, but was added at the request of studio heads who demanded some heat to sell the chemistry. When Shepard asked if she can enjoy watching it now, Hayek quickly said, “No.”
She detailed being on the closed set with Banderas, Rodriguez and Elizabeth Avellán, Rodriguez’s then-wife and Hayek’s best friend at the time. Hayek said that her co-star, Bandera, is one of her closest friends and was “amazing” and “a total gentleman.” However, when she was called to shoot the scene, she just started to sob.
“He was amazing, Robert,” she said. “He was getting me into character, walking me through it, talking about the story of Carolina.”
“But I couldn’t stay on it. That’s why it’s little clips, and he was OK with that, cause he’s an editor also. He never put pressure on me,” she stated. “I would get into Carolina, then I could do it. But then, I kept thinking of my father and my brother, and are they gonna see it? And are they gonna get teased? Guys don’t have that!”
She escorted both her father and brother out of the theater before the scene, and begged her dad not to ever see that part of the film.