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Heaven must be missing an angel!

Salma Hayek, sultry stripper and celestial muse in ‘Dogma’, joins Film ‘99 in the confessional.

Film 99: Your character is responsible for creative inspiration, what is she proud of inspiring?

Salma Hayek:
Well, she inspires everybody, maybe not from the beginning of the film, because the beginning of the film starts when she says "Okay, I’m not going to do this anymore because I’ve been inspiring all these people and nobody gives me credit for it." So she goes to them and asks for permission to come to earth to try her own thing and find fortune as a writer. So she’s not supposed to be acting as a muse, but because she gets writer's block, and things are not going so good, somehow she ends up part of this celestial adventure to save the world. She’s more of a warrior than a muse although she does use some of her muse’s abilities here and there to advance this adventure.

It’s very much a boy’s world that Kevin Smith creates, is that something you were aware of?

I’ve done so many films which are based on boy’s world. However I think Kevin does a very good job of writing female parts which is very rare, and that is refreshing because we are always looking most of the time to make it work so that you can be an actual human being instead of some caricature of a woman, and although this film is a caricature, the females are pretty strong in this one, starting with God.

Absolutely, it seems to me to be quite daring script to come out of America. I don’t know if you’re aware of the religious satires, but I haven’t really seen something like this come out of the States before, did that strike you when you read the script?

Yes, I thought it was very brave, but mostly I thought it was very funny, and I thought it was great to have a comedy which has such complex characters, and these complex characters had great dialogues that were ingenious and witty and at some points, philosophical.

You’re also at Cannes this year with another film, I don’t think there could be two films more extreme, could you tell us a little of your experience?

Oh God. A completely different experience, the other film I shot down in New Mexico with Arturo Ripstein. For the last 5 years I think he has done most of his films in one-shot scenes. I shot one scene, which was 5 minutes, and there was not one cut the whole time the camera is moving. So you have to have a very good sense of the space and of the rhythm and it is a whole different process. It is also a period piece where I play a prostitute who’s love of her life has been killed and she’s blamed for it. This woman is full of the things humanity does not have for her like compassion and love, so it’s a very sad. It’s a film full of humanity. Here is very modern, I play a muse, so she’s not human to begin with because she’s some kind of celestial creature who’s a little bit flamboyant and lacks all source of reality. Although I have to say I find, that although she has an attitude towards human beings, she has a lot of weaknesses that human beings have, and this is what makes her so funny, but it could not be so different one film from another.

I think at the beginning she’s had a bit of body work done, is that correct?

God has given her, I don’t know if this is a bad word, because I learn English from the streets, God has given her tits because anatomically these creatures have no sex, as you can see from the Alan Rickman character. So because she is coming to earth she has to deal with this you know…she has boobs in the film.

Were you aware of Kevin Smith’s work before, had you heard of him and was this why you were keen to work with him?

Yes, tracing him, that was very, very good.

And just one last question, I believe we’re going to see you in a couple of big films.

Well you’ve seen me in ‘Wild Wild West’, and you’ll see me in a tiny little film I did called the ‘Velocity of Gary’, it’s an independent film, and I saw a film on Monday called ‘Shiny New Enemies’.