You've started a production company. Do you plan to star in
everything that you plan to produce?
Salma Hayek: Hell, no. We are right now in development with two television
shows. I have a deal with Telemundo and I also have a deal with
Columbia TriStar. So, one of the shows is for Telemundo, the
other show, it's for everybody. Everybody's putting money into it
and it will be showing in different countries. So, it's a strange
concept. It's hard and we're pitching a couple of things to TriStar
in the next couple of months.
Andy Jones: A while ago, you told a great story about how you had great
recognition in your home country and then you came here and it
was only the valets who recognized you. You're on all the
magazine covers now. Have you gotten up to the level that you
were before you got to this country?
Salma Hayek: Yes.
Andy Jones: Is it more fun here?
Salma Hayek: It's not fun anywhere. It's different because the Mexican audience
is very chatting and open. I mean, especially since I was a
television star there. They really feel like they're your cousins.
So, they immediately come and attack you, they want you to
sing for them, they want your phone number, they want to send
you pictures. And, film... it's a little bit different. There's a little bit
more of a distance. American audiences are not as passionate.
They just stare at you. Sometimes they come over [to you], but
mainly they just stare at you in a state of panic. In Mexico, when
they are coming over, you're the one who panics, but film is a
completely different world because there is just a little bit more of
a distance. However, I say it's the same because many people
recognize me. They don't react the same, but they do recognize
me, pretty much.
Andy Jones: Has the timetable been pretty much the way you hoped? Have
you progressed as far as you thought?
Salma Hayek: No. I came here and I said, "In three months I'll be speaking
perfect English. Within a year I'll be a huge star."
Andy Jones: And how long has it been?
Salma Hayek: Eight years of constant hard work. That's four and a half years
since I got my first job. So, it's not too bad. I came young.
Andy Jones: You have an interesting slate of films coming up. You've got
Dogma and The Velocity of Gary.
Salma Hayek: I really love independent filmmaking. And maybe your question
is, how will I pick the films?
Andy Jones: Right.
Salma Hayek: I don't have a system. Why did I do The Faculty? Robert
Rodriguez gave me my first shot. He asked me if I could do a
cameo in his film. And I was really busy, I was doing Dogma
and getting ready to do this one. And I said, "Of course, yes!
Definitely." "Should I send you the script?" "Don't worry about it."
How many scenes do you have? Two scenes," he said. "I'm
there. I'm there. And can we do it in a day?" And he said, "Yes."
And I flew over and I said, "What do I do? Where do I stand, what
do I say?" And I did it. And I will do anything he asks me to do.
Andy Jones: And Dogma's controversial.
Salma Hayek: I am in the biggest film this summer and in the smallest film this
summer. [The Velocity of Gary] has got to be the smallest film
there is out there for 1999. And it's a modern tragedy and it's
very intense. [Wild Wild West] is an action-western comedy
and it's as big as it gets. Why did I want to do this film? I wanted
to do this film because I wanted to work with Will Smith,
because it's fun. And Kevin Kline. And I wanted to be directed
by Barry Sonnenfeld and I wanted to be part of a big
blockbuster summer movie. Why did I want to do The Velocity
of Gary? I wanted to do The Velocity of Gary because
although I knew that nobody was going to go see that film, I
loved the part. It was somebody that was so strange in my world,
somebody that I have never come across and am so distant from
who I am and where I come from -- I wanted to discover her. And
then I wanted to help the people make the film because they
couldn't get the money, and I really wanted to make the film. So,
I became a producer and I found the money for the film. And
that's why I did it. And every time it's for a different reason.
Andy Jones: So, where did you find this character?
Salma Hayek: Well, I went to the streets of New York and spent some time
there. That was one of the things that I did. [I] talked to people
and ultimately you find them all in your heart. They're all in there.
You just don't want to see them sometimes or you don't want to
know. But they teach you compassion. You know, sometimes
we look at this kind of story or people just want to look away and
they're out there. And learning about them and finding those
reasons for doing things makes you a better person when you do
run into them. And you don't look away. And you wonder about
them. And you just see them in a whole different way. That's
wonderful about being an actor, I think.
Andy Jones: Is it a relationship that you could ever live with?
Salma Hayek: Well, it's a strange relationship because I hate the other guy. It's
not like we're having a threesome, like I'm sleeping with them
both; I hate his guts. And he hates me. We're sharing a man and
I don't know if I could share, but you know what? That means
that she is a lot more noble and understands unconditional love
better than I do.
Andy Jones: Tell us why you wanted to work with Will?
Salma Hayek: Oh, God. I wanted to work with Will because I thought he'd be
fun. because I am a huge fan. I think he's very, very talented. Did
any of you see Six Degrees of Separation?
Andy Jones: Yes.
Salma Hayek: How brilliant was he in it? I really think Will is not just some big
movie star. He's a very, very good actor and nice and I wanted to
work with him. And he was everything I expected and much
Andy Jones: Can you pick and choose projects now?
Salma Hayek: No. I still have an accent. Even though I am in Wild Wild West,
I still have an accent. So, that's limiting, still. But maybe one day
they'll realize that I can make them so much money that it won't
matter. My accent will disappear to their ears because the
money will be coming into their hands.
Andy Jones: It worked for Arnold Schwarzenegger, right?
Salma Hayek: It worked for Arnold, but only until they started seeing green.
Actually, I do work with a dialect coach. For me, to get rid of it
completely, I'd have to work with a coach 24 hours a day all the
days for months and months and then work on the part for
months, you know? And then I'd get rid of it. I don't know that it's
worth it. Why can't they just love me as I am?
Andy Jones: Is this Latin explosion real? Do you feel inspired because people
are embracing Ricky Martin and Jennifer Lopez?
Salma Hayek: Those people are professional Latinos now. That is b.s. I think if
you look at the statistics, the hiring of Latin actors has dropped
considerably. Hey, I'm doing great, but I can't sit here and say,
"We're doing great! Latin Power!" That's not true. It's two of us. I
have a lot of friends who are brilliant who are great actors, great
actresses. And I get scripts for things they want me to do
because they really like the Latin girl. And I say, "I'm not going
to do this, but I'm going to give you a list of really good
actresses, who, if you contact them, they will do better than
me." And the movie doesn't get done. If I don't do it, if Jennifer
doesn't do it, the movie doesn't get done. So, the statistics were
published. It's not true. It's gone down. Now they're in the music
industry, it has become the thing now to be Latin.
Andy Jones: My question was more that the American public might be more
willing to have actors who have an accent or whatever.
Salma Hayek: Jennifer (Lopez) doesn't have an accent.
Andy Jones: No. What I'm saying is that it might be less of a hassle for you.
Salma Hayek: These actors that you're talking about, they don't have an
accent. There are still people who have accents. There's no one
else. The problem is that everybody says some of the Latinos
you mentioned, the people we're talking about, their Spanish is
pathetic. They learn Spanish when they became famous as
Latinos. I'm a professional Latino now, but I knew them before.
So, the thing is that you can't just put them all in the same thing
as this big Latin explosion. Yes, they're in the music, but I can't
sit here...and by the way, I'm doing great. Somehow, I've made it
and I'm shooting a film right now. I'm promoting one and have two
more to come. As an actress, I'm the one that's working the
most. But I do have a lot of friends who are so talented you'd cry.
Do you remember the girl in Like Water for Chocolate?
Andy Jones: Yeah. Sure. Absolutely.
Salma Hayek: She's been here all this time. She's been here seven years with
me. She's better than me. She's so good. When was the last
time you saw her? There are so many [Latinos] and there's a lot
who also don't have an accent. It's hard.
Andy Jones: Well, what's the difference between you and her?
Salma Hayek: I don't know. I got lucky. I work very hard. I'm not afraid. I don't
know, there's many things. I got lucky because I got smaller
parts, 'cause if you stop and look at the parts that I have been
given...what I do is I take what is there and I make it memorable.
And then the audience is very good to me. So, I don't know why,
but there's another girl who's very good. I'm a huge fan. I've been
a fan forever. She is so good. She also has an accent. And she's
beginning to do really well. Her name is Penelope Cruz and
watch her, because she's brilliant. So, that's good. That really
tells me that something's happening. But [it's not like] people are
handing us parts and it's the Latin thing and it's like you're so
lucky to be Latin. Try talking with my accent for a week.
Andy Jones: Does it put you in an awkward position, because you and
Jennifer are getting all the parts?
Salma Hayek: No. But Jennifer doesn't get the Latino parts. Jennifer's from New
York. Jennifer doesn't have an accent. I mean, she could -- there
are no Latino parts. The Latino parts, when I get these Latino
parts, the reason I don't do them, it's because I have a small part
in the movie, it's an interesting woman or it's a very, very small,
low-budget film. There are no Latino parts.
Andy Jones: You're about to play Frida Kahlo in the movie, Frida.
Salma Hayek: The exciting part for me is that I've been in love with this woman
and her life and her work since I was 14 years old. And I am
dying to be able to make a good movie about her, so that the
whole world can see it. That's what really excites me.