By JENNY HONTZ, January 21, 1999
Actress Salma Hayek has inked a two-year,
first-look deal to create TV shows in English
for Columbia TriStar TV and in Spanish for the
Sony-run Telemundo network.
Hayek's production company, Ventanarosa, is
already active in feature production with such
projects as "The Velocity of Gary," the
Mexican feature "No One Writes to the
Colonel" ("El Coronel No Tiene Quien Le
Escriba") and a film based on the life of
Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, in which she stars
as the title character.
The Sony deal is Hayek's first TV production
venture, although she has done some TV acting,
including a regular role on Fox's "Sinbad," a
recurring role on HBO sitcom "Dream On" and
several series in Mexico. Hayek was a big star
in Latin America before she began her U.S.
Spanish is in
"I started out doing TV, and I know the
Spanish TV market very well," Hayek told
Daily Variety. "I have a lot of ideas for shows
that are commercial and high-quality, that can
raise the level of Spanish-language TV…. And
I have access to talent in Mexico that nobody
Hayek's bilingual production deal is unusual,
perhaps even unprecedented, but will likely
become more common now that Sony is
investing heavily in Spanish-language
programming for Telemundo and its Latin
The deal was made by Eric Tannenbaum,
president of Columbia TriStar TV and Peter
Tortorici, president and CEO of the Telemundo
"This is a great example of how we can
combine the strength of the two companies to
attract people who can work in both languages
and cultures," Tortorici said. "I was enormously
impressed with (Hayek's) skills and enthusiasm.
She blew me away …. So many of these deals
are nothing more than announcements, but I'm
convinced she's a serious player."
Hayek has already begun developing projects
for Telemundo, including a half-hour
documentary show about saints and enlightened
people that Hayek says will have "dramatic and
outrageous" saint stories and a "style of
religious kitsch, with textures and color and
everything moving really fast."
Hayek said she had so many ideas for projects
that "I don't sleep - I'm an idea machine."
Most of her projects are "innovative, very new
and modern," and while the English- and
Spanish-language markets are very different,
she thinks some concepts will work well in both
"There are a lot of things about my roots that
are unknown to the world, and there are a lot
of wrong images," she said. "I'd like to change
Hayek said she has no plans to star in any of
the projects at this time. "If I feel like it, maybe
I'll do something, but they don't need me in
front of the camera," she said. "These ideas will
stand on their own."
In addition to the film projects in the work at
Ventanarosa, Hayek has starred in such films as
"El Mariachi," "54," "Fools Rush In" and
"From Dusk Till Dawn." She also is starring in
the upcoming feature films "The Wild, Wild
West" and "Dogma."
Hayek is repped by John Fogelman and Greg
Lipstone at the William Morr