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E!Online Interview

Okay, the really important question, right off the bat: What the heck was it like working with all those live spiders?

I don't like them! They have hairy feet, and they're very light, so it feels creepy when they're walking around on your skin. And, of course, they jump.

And how was working with Will?

Oh, Will is the most loving creature on earth. He's always in a good mood. He's always singing. He's so talented. He's so giving. He's so professional. I absolutely love him, and I just hope we get to do some more work together.

He's got a scene in which he wears a dress. Did you give him any hints about how to carry it off?

Oh, I hate to tell you, but he didn't need any hints. In fact, I was getting ready to ask him for some hints myself.

I hear that although Will really wanted you to be in this movie, you still had to audition. Isn't that unusual for a star of your stature?

Well, this is the thing. I go through this every time I get a movie. They call. My agent says, "You shouldn't read, you shouldn't read. You're too big for that now." I say, "I'll read." And then I go and read, and I get the movie.

But Barry Sonnenfeld had you audition three times. What was up with that?

Barry wanted to make sure that I could speak fast enough. I said, "Okay, I can speak faster." This happened over the space of six months. Meanwhile, I'm doing another film. It's not like I'm sitting home waiting, you know. I'm doing Dogma. I forgot about it. I said, "This guy hates me." And then they called.

So, being cast hasn't gotten easier, even though Hispanic actors are having really a big boom year?

That's not really true.

It's not?

No. The statistics show that this year the percentage of Hispanic actors hired dropped considerably. So, you shouldn't believe everything the press tells you.

What about Jennifer Lopez?

She's on the rise, but Jennifer Lopez is from New York.

She's Puerto Rican.

No, she's not. Her grandparents, her parents, yes. But her Spanish is very bad. She's a very good actress, and a very hardworking woman from New York. Now it's convenient, because when she has to be Latin, she's Latin. But Out of Sight was not about a Puerto Rican, you know; it was about a cop from New York.

Ah...Is there any truth to the rumor that there's a rift between you and Jennifer?

A riff?

No, a rift--a divide, like a fight.

Oh, no. I'm glad you clarified that. It's just that I have a lot of Latin friends, and I could give you a list of actors--brilliant actors--[who haven't gotten many jobs]. The girl who was the lead in Like Water for Chocolate. She's been here for seven years. She's a helluva actress, but she's having a really hard time.

PenÚlope Cruz is from Spain, and she's been working a lot lately.

Oh, I love PenÚlope Cruz. I've been a fan of hers for years. She's doing really well. But it's like three or four who are doing really good, and then there are so many talented, hardworking people who don't get a break. Don't get me wrong. It's a great time because we're on our way. We're getting a lot more attention. But it's a lie that people are saying it's happening today.

You were a huge, huge star in Mexico. What made you want to move here?

I was motivated to leave, because the soap I was on became so big so fast. I worked with a woman there, a producer who said to me, "You know what? Being a star has nothing to do with being a good actress. It's very simple. It's a chemistry you either have with the camera, or you don't." And she said to me, "You have it." She was a very good influence. So, I came here to study and improve myself. I was really worried about becoming a good actress, but that's what gave me the courage--I knew that she was right.

That was a pretty bold move, considering you still often have to prove yourself to people here.

I've always been given, like, five minutes in a film, but I make sure those are five minutes you'll never forget about that film. In From Dusk Till Dawn, all I do is dance with a snake, but that has earned me an audience. And although Hollywood has not been really receptive to just say "welcome" and open the doors, the audiences have been supportive.

Okay, enough about hard work. What do you like to do for fun when you're in L.A.?

I love being at home. That's my favorite. I love to go to the movies, and I like to go to the beach sometimes. And I love going to restaurants. I really like Matsuhisa. It's this Japanese restaurant. And I like the Ivy, and I really like Versailles, which is a Cuban restaurant. It's really good. And for, like, $6, you can stuff yourself until you die.