Salma Hayek Says She Lost Two Movie Roles Because Directors Were Afraid to Cast a Mexican As a Lead
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Salma Hayek is not afraid to speak her mind. The Mexican actress has never been shy to talk about the sexism and prejudice she has faced in Hollywood. And now, at 54, Salma Hayek is having a sort of career renaissance. Not only is she starring in the upcoming action-comedy “The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard,” but she is also headlining Marvel‘s new superhero venture, “The Eternals”. But Salma Hayek hasn’t always experienced her success as a Latina in Hollywood.
In a recent interview, Salma Hayek revealed that, years ago, directors wouldn’t cast her in comedies because they were afraid of executives’ reaction to a Mexican lead in a movie.
“I remember there were two big comedies I auditioned for the lead. Afterwards, the directors told me that I was the best audition and that I was better than who they cast and that they regretted it,” she said in her recent tell-all interview with Variety. “But at the time, they knew the studios wouldn’t have gone for a Mexican as the lead.”
Hayek said Hollywood didn’t see her value event though she had a large Latino following. “In my case, I was already a very big star in my country,” she said. “I was bringing the Latino market into the theaters. I know some of the studios knew that. But they didn’t want to accept the value of the Latino market at the time.”
Hayek said that, in some cases, she wasn’t even allowed to audition for comedies because executives pigeon-holed her as the “sexy Mexican.”
SALMA HAYEK!! LATINA SUPERHERO!! FRONT & CENTRE 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾 pic.twitter.com/02L8Oj2dSl— hœšęphá (@kentaurosukishi) May 25, 2021
“They wouldn’t even give me the auditions,” she says of her efforts back in the ’80s. “We tried really hard. I said I know I can do drama, but what about romantic comedies and action comedies? For them, it was like, ‘Oh, no, she’s just like a sexy Mexican.’”
This isn’t the first time Salma Hayek has discussed the roadblocks she faced in Hollywood as a Latina actress. In an interview with Elle magazine in 2020, Hayek revealed that she couldn’t even audition for roles that were specifically written as Latina characters.
“When they were doing The House of the Spirits I begged for an audition. They wouldn’t even give me an audition,” she said. “I was like, ‘Just hear me read.’ And this is for a Latino role. They were not hiring Latinos for Latino roles. They were not hiring Latinos period—unless it was the maid or the prostitute. And that part was not a maid or a prostitute.”