Salma Hayek: Hitman’s Woman’s Bodyguard Star on Women in Action and Marvel’s Eternals

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Salma Hayek reveals how she finally landed the action roles she always wanted in The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard and Marvel’s Next Epic.

No one is more surprised by her new status as an action hero than Salma Hayek – but she says it’s not too soon.

The Oscar-nominated actress is at the center of two of the year’s biggest action films, reprising her role as the rude con artist Sonia in The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard and Ajak, leader of a powerful group of ancient beings called Eternals in the Marvel Superhero. blockbuster of the same name.

Traditionally, three factors may have prevented her from finally landing the breathtaking roles she has pursued throughout her career – her Mexican origins, the fact that she is a woman, and her age (an incredibly well-preserved 54) – but luckily, Hayek says Hollywood finally seems to be coming to its senses.

JUSTICE FROM ABOVE

“It’s like divine intervention or something,” she said on a Zoom call from London. “I feel like there has finally been some justice in an unexpected way. It’s not just justice for the new generation, but I’m even experiencing it.

“I was told that even if I had a career, which I was told over and over again was impossible, it would expire in my 30s. And here I am in my fifties at the best time of my career.

When Hayek arrived in Hollywood in the early ’90s, she struggled to make an impact beyond “sexy Mexican” roles in films such as Desperado and From Dusk Till Dawn. She yearned for opportunities to show off her full range of acting skills – and where her ethnicity was just not an issue – but struggled to land leading roles, even after impressing in smaller ones. .

“There were times when they said ‘you were the most beloved character in the movie’ and you’d think the studio would call me back for something, but they never did,” she says.

Now the studio is calling back. Hayek’s character Sonia in the 2017 action comedy The Hitman’s Bodyguard only made a fleeting appearance as the wife of the titular hitman Samuel L. Jackson (Ryan Reynolds played the guard from the body). But she made such an impression on audiences that Australian director Patrick Hughes stepped up the role so the sequel would put Hayek on a par with his two mischievous co-maintainers as they team up to prevent a megalomaniac to launch a cyber terrorist attack on Europe. .

“I think she was probably in high demand because she is a woman without a filter and without a conscience,” Hayek laughs. “She just says a lot of things that maybe people would think to say but never dare.”

Hayek also says she worked hard to make sure his action woman with guns and round kicks played by her own rules, rather than trying to fit into the established order. of the generally male-dominated genre, and hopefully this will resonate with a female audience as well.

“She really is a woman and I think women will really identify with that need for romance and the man you love making you feel special and making sure you keep him on that path no matter how much. ‘years you’ve been together and you feel appreciated and loved and celebrated as a partner, “she said.” So it’s amazing that not only can I do the action at 54, but also that I am Because a lot of those proposals were my proposals, in which I have a bit of a say and to act we don’t have to become like men, we can still be women and kick ass.

WATCH YOUR WORDS

Hayek says his acting partners Reynolds and Jackson were the “ultimate professionals” in the heavily improvised scenes, with director Hughes most likely to crack in the middle of the take. But playing the fabulously dirty Sonia was a challenge for Hayek, especially against Jackson, arguably the thinnest and most prolific sworn in Hollywood history.

“I was just trying to make my own way and live up to the legend and do my best,” she says. “I think there is an added joy in swearing in a foreign language because you don’t have all the prejudices you grow up with. You never made your parents say it, don’t say that word because they didn’t know how to say it. So I think there’s a little more freedom than growing up being told “that’s a bad word”.

But she admits that she so enthusiastically got into the expletive-filled scenes that things got a little awkward at times when she returned to the house she has shared with her billionaire husband for 11 years, François-Henri Pinault, and their 13-year-old daughter. Valentina.

“It was difficult,” she admits. “I think some aspects of Sonia – curse being one of them – she was so delicious to play that they lingered after work. To my surprise, after the movie was over she possessed me a few times and my daughter would say “Muuuuuum” and I just had to say “it wasn’t me, it was Sonia”.

ETERNALLY YOURS

Hayek says she was convinced to join the MCU as Ajak – who was written as a man in the comics – in Eternals without even having read a script in part because of who was charged. The fact that Kevin Feige and Marvel made the seemingly left-wing choice of director Chloe Zhao, who stepped out of the back of this year’s Oscar winner Nomadland for Best Picture, was enough for Hayek to take her place in the cast. which also includes Angelina Jolie, Gemma Chan, Kumail Nanjiani, Brian Tyree Henry and Game of Thrones alumni Richard Madden and Kit Harington.

“I feel so privileged to have been able to watch his work,” Hayek said of Zhao who embarked on the highly anticipated and delayed Covid project with 40 times the budget of the arthouse hit Nomadland. “She was completely in control. What if someone was like, “Well, she’s only done really little movies – how is she going to make a big one?” – it was like she did it all her life.

“And it was such a empowering and inspiring thing to go to work and watch her in action and learn from it. And then, of course, having a legend like Angelina – she is such a good actress – that Made it very exciting because all of a sudden it’s not only great to make a Marvel movie, but you feel like you could do the most interesting because she’s so special.

The bodyguard of the hitman’s wife is showing in cinemas starting tomorrow. Eternals was released in November.


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