Salma Hayek Nabbed Her ‘Desperado’ Role After Being Ridiculed in an Interview

Nick Schager

Salma Hayek first turned American moviegoers’ heads with her co-starring role opposite Antonio Banderas in writer-director Robert Rodriguez’s 1995 action hit Desperado. And as she told us in our recent Role Recall interview with her, the way she nabbed that breakthrough part was anything but straightforward. Watch her explain above.

Speaking with our own Kevin Polowy, Hayek recounts how Rodriguez first saw her on TV, being mocked in a Spanish interview. The reason for that ridicule was the fact that, though she was a celebrity in Mexico — thanks to her lead role on the telenovela Theresa — she was only a background player in the 1993 movie Mi Vida Loca. While being teased on television might have been unpleasant for the actress, the appearance brought her to Rodriguez’s attention, and he subsequently fought for her to be cast in Desperado. And while she confesses that “when the movie was ready, the studio didn’t want me because I was an unknown,” a screen test put their fears to rest.

Hayek’s unconventional path to Hollywood stardom would later involve going into a “trance” to perform her centerpiece dance number with a snake in From Dusk Till Dawn, as well as fighting for eight long years to headline 2002’s Frida, for which she received a Best Actress Oscar nomination. To hear more about how she initially landed her Desperado gig, check out our video above. Hayek will be starring in the comedy How to Be a Latin Lover, in theaters on Friday.

Watch our full Role Recall with Hayek where she talks about Mi Vida Loca, Puss in Boots, The Faculty, and more:

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