Salma Hayek on 'From Dusk Till Dawn' Striptease: I Had to Put Myself in a Trance to Perform With a Snake

Kevin Polowy

Salma Hayek remembers how she got the role of a snake-dancing stripper vampire in the Quentin Tarantino-penned, Robert Rodriguez-directed thriller From Dusk Till Dawn (1996). But she doesn’t remember all that much about the actual filming. Hayek said at multiple points during our recent Role Recall interview that her memories of filming the scene were blurry because she had gone “on trance” due to some serious ophidiophobia.

“Quentin told me, ‘Oh, by the way, you’re dancing with a snake.’ I said, ‘I can’t do that, I can’t do that. It’s my greatest fear,‘” Hayek recalled (watch above). To prod the actress, Tarantino claimed that Madonna was interested in the role, and that she would have no problem being wrapped in python.

“So it was good because I had to overcome my greatest fear. I had to go on trance to do the dance… And there was no choreography. It was improvised. Because you can’t choreograph a snake, we don’t know what she’s going to do!”

Hayek was recruited to the project after doing a favor for friend Rodriguez. He and Tarantino were working on the anthology film Four Rooms (1994) and needed a stripper, so Rodriguez reached out to his Desperado star on the day of filming. “He said, ‘Just put a bathing suit on, and we won’t see your face.'”

“So I did it and from that dance, Quentin wrote me the part in From Dusk Till Dawn,” Hayek explained. “Where of course he makes me dance only for him. George Clooney was like, ‘How come she doesn’t look at us?’ [Quentin said], ‘Because I’m the writer.'”

Hayek will next be seen in How to Be a Latin Lover, in theaters April 24.

Watch our full Role Recall interview:


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