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Salma Hayek on Monday went into detail about her experience shooting the love scene in her breakout film, Desperado, making it clear her trauma had nothing to do with the director or the star.
The Oscar-nominated actress dropped by Armchair Expert, the popular weekly podcast hosted by Dax Shepard and Monica Padman. Among the topics they discussed was Hayek’s first big break in Hollywood, 1995’s Desperado, directed by Robert Rodriguez and starring Antonio Banderas. Hayek has previously noted she struggled with the love scene but opened up about the situation to Shepard and Padman.
Thrilled to land the role of the tough-as-nails Carolina in the Columbia Pictures film, Hayek said there was no mention of a love scene between her character and Banderas’ El Mariachi in the script. It was brought to her attention after production began.
Telling Shepard and Padman that Rodriguez was her “bro” and his then-wife, producer Elizabeth Avellán, was her “best friend,” Hayek agreed to do the scene on a closed set. It would just be the four of them.
“So, when we were going to start shooting, I started to sob,” Hayek said, adding she kept saying to the other three people, “I don’t know that I can do it. I’m afraid.”
She continued, “One of the things I was afraid of was Antonio — he was an absolute gentleman and so nice, and we’re still super close friends — but he was very free. It scared me that for him, it was like nothing. I started crying, and he was like, ‘Oh my God. You’re making me feel terrible.’ And I was so embarrassed that I was crying.”
Hayek made clear several times that Rodriguez and Banderas “were amazing” and that Rodriguez “never put pressure on me,” but nonetheless, the moment was very traumatic and she recalls it vividly.
“I was not letting go of the towel,” she said. “They would try to make me laugh. I would take it off for two seconds and start crying again. But we got through it. We did the best with what we could do at the time.”
In the film, the love scene is done in quick cuts. Hayek said that was the best she could do among the starts and stops. “When you’re not you, then you can do it. But I keep thinking of my father and my brother,” she explained of her hurdle. “And are they going to see it? And are they going to get teased? Guys don’t have that. Your father will be, ‘Yeah! That’s my son!'”
Hayek would finally take her father and brother to see the film, but she said they left the theater during the scene and returned when it was over, adding, “You want your father to be nothing but proud of you.”
Listen to the entire podcast here.
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