This article is published in issue 46 of Vanity Fair on newsstands until November 16, 2021
The last time I saw it Salma Hayek in person was on a mild night in May 2018 in France, in Alyscamps, the Roman necropolis of Arles where Alessandro Michele had set the show of his Cruise 2019 collection for Gucci.
Today I meet her on Zoom. He’s in London, in a lighted corner of the house he lives with il marito François-Henri Pinault and his teenage daughter, Valentina.
She is very busy with the international promotions of her new films: the cinecomic Marvel Eternals (released November 3), directed by Academy Award winner Chloé Zhao, with a stellar cast including Angelina Jolie, Gemma Chan and Kit Harington; House of Gucci (out in Italy December 16) with Lady Gaga, Adam Driver and Al Pacino; finally the sequel How I kill your bodyguard 2 starring Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson, again playing Sonia Kincaid.
Among her upcoming projects is a film that she wrote herself and which she hopes to direct as well, but she doesn’t want to say more about the story. “Like Frida (2002, ed) is a film ahead of its time, “he says referring to the biopic about Frida Kahlo which not only got her an Oscar nomination, but also saw her go against producers Harvey Weinstein (in 2017 she wrote a scathing testimony on the mistreatment of Weinstein on the set of the film) and Miramax for various issues, including the release of the film.
«It is always difficult to get different and new proposals to be accepted. For them, Frida it was new. It was a historical film but not the usual historical film. In this industry, they always say they want something different but they don’t want to do anything different to have different things, ”he laughs, raising an eyebrow.
I ask her if anything has changed with streaming platforms. “Something, yes. You take more risks, ”he concedes. “But how many original films have you seen coming from America that made you say, ‘Oh, this is really different’?” He takes a break. “In fact there was an Indian film that I really enjoyed, with Priyanka Chopra, The white tiger. That was different. “
In many ways, her entire career has been based on her being unique. Successful soap opera star in Mexico, moved to the United States to try Hollywood, landing extra roles until her first big break alongside Antonio Banderas in Desperado (1995). But this after countless refusals, often due to his Mexican origins. “I didn’t want to be just a soap opera star. Although being a star has a lot of advantages, ”he says bluntly. “But I sacrificed them in the name of the dream. Even if I haven’t made great films, it was important for me to do something I loved, that is cinema ».
And he made films. More than sixty. Frida, which he also produced. Bandidas (2006) with her best friend, Penélope Cruz. From dusk to dawn (1996) con George Clooney. Apple and Tequila – A crazy love story with surprise (1997) con Matthew Perry. Wild Wild West (1999) with Will Smith, as well as cameos in popular television productions such as Ugly Betty e 30 Rock, all small confirmations for an actress who began her career in a language other than English, demonstrating that her talents go beyond simple, albeit amazing, beauty.
“I’m good at following my intuition. And then there are the numbers, and the numbers don’t lie. I think the industry was acting stupid, ”he says with a shrug. “The reason I didn’t get many roles is that I was Latin, but there are 60 million Latinos (in the United States, ed), so I knew they were missing out on a huge market. Eventually someone must have done the math. It took a while, but they got there ».