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E!Online Interview : Fools Rush In

Let's talk about what's been said, because I love gossip.

Well...about not getting along at all.

Well, first it was said that we were going out and I took him away from Julia Roberts. By the end of the film, it was said that we hated each other and could not work with each other. The truth is, none of that happened. But I have to admit, he is more than my friend. He's my neighbor in L.A. We live four houses away. It wouldn't be very smart to trash him, because he's too close to home.

Yet several national magazines have tried to make it seem like you really let him have it over some stupid joke.

What happened was, it was 5 in the morning and I could not wait to go to sleep. I could not wait to see the sun come up, so they could not shoot any longer and I could go home and rest. Matthew comes up to me and goes, "Knock, knock." Now, you who speak English understand this. For me, it sounded like "Egg nog." So I go, "Egg nog? What are you saying?"

"Knock, knock."

"What's your problem?"

"You're supposed to say, 'Who's there?' "

"Who's where?" I'm like, "What?" And everybody's just laughing about it.

Matthew says, "Just say 'Who's there?'"

"Who's there?"


He goes, "No, now you're supposed to say, 'Who who?' Just say it."

"Who who."

He says, "I didn't know you were an owl."

Okay, that's it--that blows my mind. "What do you mean, 'I didn't know you were an owl?' I'm not an owl. You're on drugs! What kind of insane behavior is this?"

It was funny. But for the people who heard it, it just sounded like an argument.

Well, that is an incredibly wretched knock-knock joke. Tell him! After that one, I learned every single knock-knock joke there is in the American alphabet.

Let's talk a bit about the movie itself. It should broaden the image American audiences have of you--which has pretty much been someone who dances with a snake.

That was five minutes in that film. I have an hour in this one; hopefully, it will have the same effect but with more strength, so we have a three-dimensional person instead of just this woman with the snake. I'm a great actress--this is what you don't understand. You think I'm this goddess? [Hayek leaps out of her chair to a standing position] Look how short I am. I can create the illusion that I am tall!

So, what attacted you to this project?

I liked that it took some really big chances. Most comedies are formulated--they keep it light, they don't want to get into any trouble. Those are the boring ones. This one doesn't quite fit into the formula. It risks some really heavy-duty, intense issues.

After such a rewarding experience with Matthew Perry, what other actors would you like to work with face=Arial>?

Ooh, I have a list--there's a lot. I'm not into handsome so much; I like interesting actors more. I'd love to work with Daniel Day-Lewis, Sean Penn, Johnny Depp...I like danger! Okay, I'm not saying another name because I'm giving myself away here.

Yeah, for a Valentine's Day romantic comedy, it does delve into some pretty rough emotional territory.

It's that thing about how women have a tendency to be more mature than men, to want things that it takes men longer to want. We have a terrible need to feel loved all the time, and we try to make men see the world like we see it, which is a mistake. We want them to love us like we want to be loved and to commit so we can have a family. This is a struggle women usually go through, but movies usually don't bother with it.

There's also pronounced cultural conflict between your characters and their families. Did you have to do much adjusting to keep the Latino characters from coming off as stereotypes?

Because it's a comedy, it's okay to have a little bit of stereotyping, as long as it's dignified. I'll give you an example. She's a girl who wears a toga and takes souvenir pictures for tourists at Caesar's Palace. When he asks her to go back with him to New York, she says, "I can't leave Las Vegas. I love it here." I'm going, why? The director says, "Because of her family--because Mexicans love family, and she cannot leave them."

No, that's not real, because Mexicans also love the men in their lives. She's pregnant, and if it's a better life, she goes. So, in order not to make her stupid, I said let's make her a brilliant photographer who loves the desert and wants to make a book about it. That put her in touch with nature, made her sensitive and artistic, smart and ambitious. This also gives you a woman who is easier to fall in love with--not just this Chiquita banana who snaps pictures in Caesar's Palace.

You were long rumored to be the front-runner for the Selena movie, but you let it go to Jennifer Lopez--who got $1 million to play the part, which made her the highest-paid Latina actress in Hollywood.

I was approached by the producer. Selena has a tremendous following, and I think the movie is going to be a hit. But she just died; it's been barely two years. The people involved in the project are great people; I'm not questioning their intentions. Jennifer is great, the producers are friends of mine. But you have to make a choice about what things you want to do in life.

When Desperado came out, I had an opportunity to make a lot of money in a $70 million movie. Instead, I did a little $1 million film with Russell Crowe, Breaking Up, where I played the part of a woman that was brilliantly written. I am very, very proud of that work, and no one can take that away from me.

I can play just another beautiful girl, but where is that gonna take me? I can have the money and buy all these things, but that's not why I am an actress. I am an actress because I love what I do. I'm not crazy about how much money I get paid. I will get the bastards when they have the money and they're using me to make even more, yes! But it's not about the money.

I can only wish you luck with that. But you must promise that you'll play the beautiful girl at least a couple more times.

I see all these beautiful women here, and I don't think I'm one of them.

The problem is, I've been seeing my face for too long, so I'm completely used to it. They talk about my body, but I'm not particularly fond of it.

What could you possibly improve?

I'm not willing to do a lot of effort to change it. I'm against living your life around the concept of having a perfect body. I just think it's a sad thing to be all the time in the gym. Unless you love it--but I don't, so why should I put myself through the torture and torment of doing it?

It hurts. You stink. It's time consuming. It's boring. Makes you tired. I don't think I'm eternally beautiful, but I'm happy with who I am. I'm not gonna be obsessed about the way I look.

And that's the difference between you and all the men on the planet. Speaking of which, what's a guy got to do to get close to you?

It's very hard in this business. Tomorrow, I go to Houston. The day after, to San Antonio. Then three other cities in three days, back here to Los Angeles for one day of trying on clothes, the next day to the premiere, then back and forth between here and New York about four times, then the premiere of Hunchback, then back to Mexico, to Guadalajara and Cancun. What is a boyfriend going to do?

He's going to be following me around? The studio's not going to pay for a boyfriend, y'know? And if he paid for himself, when is he going to work? Then, when all this is done, I say, "Darling, I am so sorry. I have to go do three months on a movie with Antonio Banderas. Then I'll be right back." You tell me who puts up with that, and I'll go call him right now.