While Ventanarosa is prepping the long-awaited Frida Kahlo film (with Salma to star as the famed
painter) for production, Salma is currently shooting in Shiny New Enemies -- starring Jeff Goldblum,
Michael Rapaport, and Claudia Schiffer -- in Canada. We managed to catch the busy actress while she
was dashing around the Ventanarosa's Hollywood offices doing the odd job or two.
Q: Salma, the world wants to know, what are you wearing?
Salma Hayek: I'm wearing right now this T-shirt that has short sleeves which are fluffy at the ends.
And I'm wearing a black skirt below the knee. It's not very conservative though, because the T-shirt is
Q: Velocity of Gary director Dan Ireland was quoted as saying that he could not have made this film
without you. How did you get involved behind the scenes?
SH: Ventanarosa -- we got the money. It was very tough to raise
the money for this film, even though it was so little it's a joke.
Films with this kind of subject matter always have a struggle
getting made. Making films is really hard, and if it has anything
that's a little bit out of the mainstream, then it's really hard to get
made. Especially when it is about a tragedy. There was a point
when it looked like it wasn't going to ever get made. They started
out by saying, "Can you donate your salary?" and I said, "Yes."
Finally, I had to roll up my sleeves and get more money to
Q: I'm curious about the background for your [Velocity] character Mary Carmen. She seems to be the
only major character without a world of trouble in her past.
SH: This is a character that at one point had a pretty normal life and this is why when she begins to
break down she looks back and has to ask herself, how did she get there? She had put her whole past
in denial. I pictured Mary Carmen as the sort of person who only lives in the present. She doesn't have
any plans for the future. But she is forced to look at the past and start thinking of the future. It's not in
the movie, but in rehearsals we did a whole thing about her mother dying and being left alone on the
streets. For research, I went to some really bad places in the Bronx and hung around to get the
atmosphere. I also went here in LA to a really bad donut shop at, like, four or five in the morning. Boy,
did it stink in there! Everyone was drunk or on something.
Q: I've read that you feel that of all the characters you've ever played that Mary Carmen is the least like
yourself. What are the points of similarity if any?
SH: For the part, I thought of myself as a child. She has that sense of fun. I still have it, maybe not as
much as I used to, but nothing is too important and all you care about is just having fun. Also, we both
love to entertain and to be the center of attention.
Q: Your singing and dancing Diana Ross imitation in Velocity is a show-stopper. Was pulling it off any
harder than playing Carmen?
SH: No! It was easy! I watched a tape of her and studied what she did. I memorized it really fast and
that was it. I really do love Diana Ross; I grew up listening to her records. I grew up in a little town in
Mexico, so while we got the music, we never got the experience of watching her. I only knew what she
looked like from my mom's albums covers. "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" has got to be one of my
favorite songs ever.
Q: Ok, favorite things time. What movies do you have on the home video shelf and watch over and over?
SH: Claudette Colbert in It Happened One Night, The Graduate, Gone with the Wind, Casablanca ... I
know that sounds so common, but I really do have eclectic taste. [Bernardo] Bertolucci's The
Conformist is one of my favorites. But then I also like A Star is Born with Barbra Streisand, Willy
Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, A Clockwork Orange. I also like Frances with Jessica Lange and
The World According to Garp.
Q: The media is buzzing right now over Latin performers and celebrities. Do you think this is real
recognition and progress at last?
SH: It's hard to generalize. But in the film and television industry, I think people are definitely
exaggerating. Jennifer Lopez and I have been the only two high-profile actresses with a Latin
background for the last five years. So Hollywood cannot be so welcoming because someone else would
have risen up by now, don't you think? I have to deal with the reality here, and no, they are not opening
the doors. So I feel a little uncomfortable with myself being made an example to say, "Oh, look, we are
so good to Latins, we're really into them now." I know the only reason that I haven't gotten many good
parts is because I am Latin -- and they tell it to my face a lot of times. So it's a little bit hypocritical,
especially when you look at the numbers on television. Last year the amount of Latins hired by the
industry was higher than this year. I think it's finally beginning to change, and that's a great thing, but
there is this big machine of propaganda right now about how hot Latins are and it's not true. It helps in
the music business. But what kind of music are Latins singing? It's American pop with one or two
words in Spanish. However, it will open doors in the long run, but the reality now is that many of my
friends who are brilliant actors are out of a job while we are sitting here talking about how hot Latins
Q: Besides the Frida bio-pic, what else is in production at
SH: We are developing two TV shows right now. I can't really talk
about the one for Telemundo because the management over
there just changed and it's getting complicated. The other show
will be about enlightened people, like saints or gods from different
beliefs so visually it will be very rich. It's going to be really cool,
well-shot, modern documentary-style, and expensive. We are
trying to produce different versions in different languages. And of
course we are doing Frida with Miramax, which is a very big deal.
Q: Any thoughts on the Salma action figures from Wild Wild West?
SH: Oh God, I haven't seen them! I forget about them. There's two: one at the toy stores and one at
Burger King. It's weird. I feel insensitive to it. Maybe it will make the kids happy. I just hope they don't
choke on them.
The Velocity of Gary (Not His Real Name) is currently playing in selected cities. Wild Wild West is in