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Salma Hayek Pinault is speaking out about how being typecast in sexualized roles limited opportunities to star in comedies in her early career.
In an interview with GQ Hype published Monday, the actress reflected on how following her breakthrough role as Santánico Pandemonium in the 1996 film From Dusk Till Dawn, in which she wore a bikini with a snake draped around her neck, she continued to be typecast in similar roles despite being interested in starring in comedies.
“I was typecast for a long time. My entire life I wanted to do comedy and people wouldn’t give me comedies,” she recalled.
“They said, ‘You’re sexy, so you’re not allowed to have a sense of humour,'” she said. “Not only are you not allowed to be smart, but you were not allowed to be funny in the ’90s.”
Despite being nominated for an Oscar for her portrayal of Frida Kahlo in the 2002 film Frida, the actress noted her career didn’t evolve afterward like she had thought it might and she continued to be offered the same sexualized roles: “When I was nominated for an Oscar, the types of roles that people offered me did not change at all. I really struggled and I thought that was going to change, but no.”
Things did change however when she connected with Adam Sandler, who cast her in the 2010 comedy Grown Ups. “I couldn’t land a role until I met Adam Sandler, who put me in a comedy [2010’s Grown Ups], but I was in my forties,” she said.
When comparing her early career to now, Hayek Pinault explained that despite feeling “sad at the time,” she’s now “doing every genre, in a time in my life where they told me I would have expired – that the last 20 years I would have been out of business.”
“So I’m not sad, I’m not angry; I’m laughing,” she added.
Hayek Pinault is next set to star alongside Channing Tatum in Magic Mike’s Last Dance. Of the film and her role, Hayek Pinault describes it as “more than being a movie about an older woman falling in love with a younger guy” but rather one “about a middle-aged woman that has a lot of potential and is sick of being undermined her entire life.”
“I’m at a place in my life where I don’t think my sexuality is the only thing that’s appreciated anymore,” she reflected. “But if it was, I wouldn’t care, because I’ve built enough respect around me from the people that really matter that I feel seen beyond that.”
She also quipped how starring in Magic Mike’s Last Dance perhaps marks a “full circle” moment for her: “Now, somebody strips for me.”
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