While Salma Hayek landed a few roles in comedy movies early in her career like 1997’s Fools Rush In and 1999’s Wild Wild West, the actress never really thought she was given a chance to show off her comedic talents.
During an interview with GQ UK, Hayek discussed how at the start of her American movie career, she was typecast as an actress who was too sexy to play comedic roles. “My entire life, I wanted to do comedy and people wouldn’t give me comedies,” she said. “They said, ‘You’re sexy, so you’re not allowed to have a sense of humor.’ Not only are you not allowed to be smart, but you were not allowed to be funny in the ’90s.”
This sexist Hollywood ideal, of course, started when Hayek made her big screen debut as Antonio Banderas’ love interest in Robert Rodriguez’s 1995 action movie Desperado. That role was followed by another Rodriguez flick, 1996’s From Dusk Till Dawn where Hayek played Santánico Pandemonium, an exotic dancer and vampire who entertains the patrons in a Mexican bar while holding an Albino Burmese Python around her body.
“They just kind of threw me on the stage with the snake, put the music on and said, ‘Hey, dance!’” she said. “I was feeling insecure [and] just wanted to get through it. It was a really small part but to my surprise people really remember that moment.”
It wasn’t until the 2010 comedy Grown Ups, however, that Hayek felt like she was given the opportunity she had longed for her entire career. “I couldn’t land a role until I met Adam Sandler, who put me in a comedy, but I was in my 40s!” That thankfully opened doors for her to also do Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard.
Today, things are different for Salma Hayek. She continues to push the boundaries when it comes to her acting and has embraced her sexuality on screen, as seen in the trailers for her upcoming film Magic Mike’s Last Dance.
“Now, here I am doing every genre, in a time in my life where they told me I would have expired – that the last 20 years I would have been out of business,” she said. “So, I’m not sad, I’m not angry; I’m laughing.”