Scintillating beauty Salma Hayek dons a beard for her new film — and Buzzine’s Emmanuel Itier gets the inside story!
Emmanuel Itier: What made you want to be in this film?
Salma Hayek: John [C. Reilly] was definitely part of it. Paul [Weitz, director] was definitely part of it. Not Chris [Massoglia] because I didn’t know him, but he’ll be a major part of wanting to go back to do the second one. I love the script and the way it treats young people. It doesn’t take it for granted that they are all so different. It’s not, “Let’s make a movie targeted at young people. They like blood.” I felt it was truly an intimate dream of the director. He had a very specific context, and I feel he had an intimate relation with and conviction for that context. It’s a personal film for me, and that’s very rare. It was exciting to find it.
EI: What advice would you give to Chris, and how was it working with him?
SH: My advice to him would be: Don’t spend all your money. Save a lot. You never know when there’s going to be a dry season. It doesn’t matter how hot you become in the next couple of weeks or months, and you think you’ll be the biggest star forever. Go slow and keep your lifestyle for as long as you can. You can improve it a little bit, but don’t go crazy. It was a little intimidating working with him. I don’t have a lot of scenes with him, but he was very focused, calm and mature. I was very impressed and, at the same time, he was very attentive to what the director had to say. Immediately, I realized it’s not like I’m working with a kid doing his first job — I’m working with someone taking his job very seriously. We don’t work a lot together, but I wish we had more scenes together. If I did something a little different in a scene, I noticed he would do something different too.
EI: Was your daughter scared seeing you with the beard?
SH: My daughter was not afraid of the beard. She’s always with me. She’s like an extra branch of me coming out of my hip or something. She’d sit with me through makeup and see the process. I didn’t just appear one day with a beard. She saw them gluing it on, hair by hair, one by one. She knew it was part of my job and that she cannot touch it, and that on set we’re quiet and sometimes she has to let me go. She’s really pretty wonderful that way.
EI: What did it actually feel like?
SH: You just feel like a bunch of glue and then some tickles — a little strange, like a little cat passing close by or something. I also made sure the hair of the beard was soft, just in case John would kiss me with the beard. It wasn’t that kinky-haired kind of beard; it was a feminine beard. It took a lot of time with the design. We did different tries. It wasn’t a big deal. I completely forgot I was wearing it.
EI: Everyone seems obsessed with vampires right now. Are you a True Blood or Twilight freak?
SH: I haven’t seen True Blood or Twilight. I feel bad. I have no interest in vampires whatsoever. I’ve played one and been in love with one. This is just one guess, but I think their appeal probably has a lot to do with immortality, and I think especially that’s a subject that appeals to teenagers and attracts them. It’s a time when you’re really becoming aware you’re a mortal and having that pressure about decisions, about your identity, who are you or who are you supposed to be. Being a vampire has a sense of belonging to something. It’s like being a human but not. When you’re a teenager, you know you’re a human, but you sort of feel like you’re not being normal. I think you could go on forever about the symbolism. There’s a killer in all of us, that’s what they say, but if you do it to survive — because that’s the only way you can survive — maybe people feel more comfortable with that. I do kill a chicken to eat it in this film. I don’t drink its blood, though.
EI: Did you read the books? And how was Ken Watanabe?
SH: I didn’t read the books. I didn’t even know they existed at first. When I read the script, I did have a question. I was insecure about the tone of it, which I found refreshing. Everything is normally so spelled out in the script, so I relied on the director. It was great being able to say, “How big do you want it?” I really wanted to fulfill the vision of the director, so I didn’t research anything. Ken Watanabe is like royalty. When you’re talking to him, you feel like you’re talking to royalty, but he’s so humble in so many ways.
EI: Have you ever considered yourself any kind of freak?
SH: More than me thinking that I’m a freak, I’ve noticed other people looking at me and thinking there are some freakish aspects of me, because you can get too busy doing the freaky stuff to notice there’s something wrong with it until somebody points it out. So I’ve definitely had freaky little things that other people think are weird but I don’t.
EI: Your storyline touches on the subject of intuition. What do you think about that?
SH: I think all women have it.
'Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant' is in theaters now.