When Salma Hayek walks into a room, it's easy to be
intoxicated. Sexy, beautiful and incredibly confident, the
28-year old Mexican-born actress is making a name for herself as
a Hollywood hot property. Now she's the sultry object of Mathew
Perry's affection in the new romantic comedy, Fools Rush In.
Perry plays a straight-laced and ambitious nightclub designer
working in Las Vegas, when he meets exotic photographer Hayek.
Following a one-night stand, she returns to him several months
later announcing that she's pregnant, and both worlds, cultural
included, are turned upside down. "It was a lovely
experience to do that film. Even though it's a comedy, my
character goes on a journey, and there's a lot of darkness there.
I have the more dramatic moments, and that was the challenge for
me." Which made for an interesting on-screen relationship
with the comedic Perry of the sitcom Friends. "He was a joy
to work with, very professional and a lot of fun as well."
She sees Fools Rush In "as an old-fashioned kind of
"it was something
socially unacceptable to aspire towards."
Hayek recalls that there was always an actress in her, right
from her formative years, but she can't explain why. "It's
as if it was something I was born to do, naturally." As a
child, the young Mexican "played games that were all
performance-related, whether it was acting or dance." She
admits to having been "quite a bit of a show-off",
especially since she was born in a small Mexican town in Vera
Cruz where using one's imagination creatively, was the order of
the day. Hollywood as such was not in her consciousness.
"The town was so small that American movies were virtually
non-existent as I was growing up." But there still remained
a deep-rooted desire for her to perform, even though "it was
something socially unacceptable to aspire towards." To
appease her family, she went to college and studied International
Relations, and left after 2 years. "It was so incredibly
boring because it's not who I am. I decided I was going to do
what I wanted to do."
It was a tough choice, but in her native Mexico, she
persevered until the local work came flooding in. She became
established on Mexican television and remained highly popular,
having won several acting awards. Fearing that Mexican audiences
valued her looks more than her Thespian skills, Hayek left Mexico
at the height of her vogue and headed for L.A. She then took a
year-and-a-half off from acting to learn English.
By 1992, Hayek
was landing TV guest shots and appeared as a recurring character
on a family sitcom, "The Sinbad Show" (1993-94), before
winning a supporting role in Alison Anders' well-regarded feature
"Mi Vida Loca/My Crazy Life" (1993). Hayek's English
skills had blossomed but roles remained elusive.
Rodriguez heard her lament on comic Paul Rodriguez's talk show
and cast her as the female lead in his first 35mm project,
"Roadracers" (Showtime, 1994), the hyper-stylised
premiere instalment of the "Rebel Highway" TV-movie
series for cable. His ultimate goal was to cast her as the female
lead in his studio-produced sequel to 1992's low-budget marvel
"El Mariachi;" the ploy worked, allowing Hayek to beat
out all the standard Anglos that the studio attempted to impose
upon the production. Indeed, It was Rodriguez who cast Hayek as
the first Mexican star to play the female lead in an American
movie since Dolores Del Rio, playing the fiery border town
bookseller who romances Antonio Banderas' vengeful
"mariachi" in "Desperado" (1995).
Hollywood assignments followed including further collaborations
with Rodriguez on two other projects-a cameo with Banderas in the
ill-conceived feature "Four Rooms" (also 1995) and as a
blood-sucking snake-dancer in the Quentin Tarantino-scripted
vampire outing, "From Dusk Till Dawn" (1996).
Hayek has stated her intention to alternate between working in Hollywood
genre fare and Mexican art films (eg. 1995's "Midaq
Alley/El Callejon de los Milagros"). She idled for awhile in
Hollywood, though, with unremarkable supporting roles in Cindy
Crawford's debut outing, "Fair Game" (1995), and the
convicts on the run actioner "Fled" (1996).
"He's a consummate
professional and a very giving actor. He's also so much
focused on his life and career." on Australian actor Russell Crowe
Hayek then essayed her first romantic comedy lead opposite
Matthew Perry in the "Fools Rush In". That was followed
by the more intense "Breaking Up", which paired her
with Aussie Russell Crowe as a couple who constantly separate and
reconcile. On Crowe, she has nothing but respect and support.
"He's a consummate professional and a very giving actor.
He's also so much focused on his life and career." Hayek
then starred as the fiery gipsy dance Esmeralda to Mandy
Patinkin's "The Hunchback" in the 1997 TV-movie
Hunchback of Notre Dame. Next up? "An independent film that
is a complete departure. I'll be unrecognisable." Determined
to find the meaty roles, Hayek is determined that audiences see
past her looks and concentrate on her depth and intelligence as
"I'll get married when
I find a man who has more COJONES [balls] than I do."
In a 1995 interview, Hayek said "I have gotten a lot more
attention than some of the other women that I find incredibly
beautiful. And this has happened to me ever since I was a girl,
when I was flat, had no teeth, was skinny and small as I could
be. I always got more attention than anyone else. If I hadn't, I
would have made sure I did. But there is also a relationship some
people can establish with the camera that others can't. It's got
nothing to do with talent. It's nothing you've earned. I learned
in Mexico that the lens likes me, but I kept thinking, 'I'm
famous, but am I good?' It wasn't enough for me to be famous.
Now, I'm trying more and more to be good at what I do " In
the same interview, the actress retorted that "I'll get
married when I find a man who has more COJONES [balls] than I
do." For the record, Hayek told ME that she's finally found
such a man." And I'm having a great time." Personally
and professionally it would seem.
Fools Rush In opens nationally on July 24, 1997