Funnyman Adam Sandler had been looking to work with Salma Hayek for some time, and the opportunity finally presented itself in his latest film, Grown Ups, in which she plays his wife. As Roxanne, a glamorous fashion designer who’s in for a bit of culture shock when Lenny (Sandler) brings his family to the lake house in his hometown, in order to reminisce and reconnect with his childhood best friends, Salma Hayek gets to show a comedic side that fans of the actress haven’t gotten to see on film before.
A prolific actress, producer and director, in both film and television, Salma Hayek is now also a wife and mother, juggling work with her personal life and choosing her projects accordingly. During a press conference to promote Grown Ups, she talked about how her time on 30 Rock was great comedy training for working with Adam Sandler and how excited she is to be voicing Kitty, the love interest for Antonio Banderas’ Shrek character, in the Puss in Boots animated feature. Check out what she had to say after the jump:
Salma: I said yes to this movie because, from the beginning, I was an Adam Sandler fan and I really liked the movie. Now, of course, the main focus of my life is my family, and that does change things and the choices that you make. You want to do movies that your children can watch, and that your children can have fun at and enjoy the experience of shooting. It doesn’t get better than this movie for that. I love the movie. I’m proud of it. I can’t wait for [my daughter] Valentina to see it.
This is the first time you’re using Pinault in your credit. Is it true that your daughter, Valentina, had something to do with that?
Salma: At the beginning of the film, she was very little. My chair said “Salma Hayek.” She said, “What does it say there?” I said, “Salma Hayek,” and she said, “Where is Pinault?,” because her last name is Pinault. In France, my husband is much more famous than me, so everybody calls me Madame Pinault, and she’s much more used to that. I realized that she felt left out. And, I also have two children that I inherited from his previous marriage. I like it. It just brings the family together.
How did Valentina react when you told her you were going to use Pinault?
Salma: She thinks it’s the least I could do, trust me.
How are you balancing motherhood and work? Did you bring her to the set?
Salma: We all brought children to the set. Adam makes it the dream environment to bring children. They are so highly entertained that you’re nervous when you get back home because you wonder how you are going to entertain your child. They have all kinds of toys and things for them to play with. Everybody had children of the same age. She loved coming to work on the set.
What have you given up to spend time with family?
Salma: I don’t have a lot of time anymore. Your social life suffers a little bit, definitely. Every parent will tell you that. At one point in my life, I was very involved with social causes. I’m still involved, but now I have a family and it’s important to me. I have to do this for myself, but there’s just only so much you can do sometimes.
What was your experience like, on 30 Rock?
Salma: I loved it and I’m really grateful I did that because it was wonderful training for this. Alec [Baldwin] likes to improvise a lot, and it’s really exciting when you have good chemistry with an actor and good communication. You build things, as they go on. It’s magical. It was like nirvana. It was going to be one episode, then two episodes, then three. Then, after six episodes, I was tempted to go back, but I had to stop.
What was it like working with these guys?
Salma: It was great that I got this movie because I love comedy and I loved working with everyone in the film. It doesn’t get better than this. I’ve always wanted to do comedy and I love this movie, and I’m glad that it was the first big comedy I’ve done.
Do you think things have improved for Latino actors?
Salma: Hollywood has definitely grown, in embracing the inclusion of Latinos in the world because, for some time, we didn’t exist. We were not part of any stories. There are 40 million of us in this country. It was weird. I was very privileged to be part of a small generation of people that broke through that door first, but I didn’t do it by myself. Jennifer [Lopez] was also part of it. Ricky Martin was a huge part of it. There was a group of people and great timing. Also, there were a lot of my friends from Mexico, like Alfonso Cuaron, Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu and, later on, Gael Garcia Bernal. I think it was the right place and absolutely about time, and I’m excited to have been a part of that.
After doing Ugly Betty and this movie, are you interested in producing a comedy movie or another TV series?
Salma: Yes. We still have a deal at ABC and we are developing, as we speak. We’ve actually acquired a couple of other franchises from Latin America. I’m not going to say the names because I don’t know if they’re gonna make it all the way to the screen, but we’re in development. For the movies that we’re developing right now, there’s a family movie, but not really a comedy. But, I might be doing a comedy with Kevin James.
How does being a parent contribute to finding the comedy?
Salma: I love this film because I think the audience is going to be able to add themselves to our experience and bond with us because being a parent is one of the most common, shared experiences, and is something that is so important. Every single character in this movie really cares about their family, and they’re all so different. I think that the audience is really going to identify with everyone. Adam has done a large variety of films, but I think women are going to love this one because they’re going to identify with us and our conflicts in our own marriages, and our relationships with our children. I really think that it was important that we all had a similar experience, as actors, because we bring that to the table.
What do you do to make sure that your kids connect with the outdoors?
Salma: I’m a country girl. I have to be in nature, so my daughter is exposed to it a lot. I have a ranch, which is my favorite place in the world. Even in Paris, every weekend, we go to the country house.
What childhood story do you hope your daughter hangs onto for a while?
Salma: I’m concerned about my daughter because she will not believe in Santa Claus. No matter what I say to her, she just doesn’t buy it, and she’s 2 ½. I refuse to give it up. I say, “There is a Santa Claus,” and she says, “Okay, Mommy. In pretend world, right?” She really doesn’t believe. There’s nothing I can say to make her believe in Santa Claus. I’m hoping she’ll believe in fairies because I want her to have some kind of make-believe characters in her life. I don’t know why I have a child like that. I believed in Santa Claus and I was really upset when somebody told me the truth. I’m hopeful that she’s too young to believe in Santa Claus and, in a year or so, she’ll believe in it, especially because it’s always a great tool for blackmail when you say, “If you don’t do this, Santa Claus isn’t going to bring you anything.” But, she doesn’t believe in it.
Do your friends always want to know about your Hollywood lifestyle?
Salma: It’s very strange, but I don’t have anyone like that [in my life]. I have one friend that I’ve had since I was born, and she’s from Coatzacoalcos. She’s not really impressed or interested in the actor’s life. My family isn’t really either. It’s not really like that. I know some people like that, but my close circle is not impressed at all. Sometimes, I wish they were a little more impressed with what I did and who I met. They’re like, “Oh, yeah, whatever. Can you pass me the salt?” It’s very good for me, I guess.
Salma: I have a movie [called Wild Rose, Tender Roses] with a director named Emir Kusturica. He’s one of my favorite directors. Johnny Depp is in it, and we’re going to be shooting next year. It’s an amazing character and a dream job, as an actress. Also, we’re talking about something with Kevin [James] that I’m excited about. It’s an action comedy. There’s going to be a little bit of everything in my career, in the future.
You’re going to voice Kitty, the love interest for Antonio Banderas in Puss in Boots. Have you started recording?
Salma: Yes, we’ve been working on that.
Have you recorded together?
Salma: No, but this is the fifth film Antonio and I are going to do together. I’ve been able to hear his voice when I respond.
What’s Kitty like?
Salma: She’s amazing. And I’m so excited because my daughter will get to see me in an animated movie. Most of my recordings have all been in Paris, which is also the dream job. I can record anywhere in the world. I’m so excited to do this project.
Will the Puss in Boots film have the same tone as the Shrek films?
Salma: The character is obviously the same character, but it’s got its own personality. It’s very clever and funny. Just yesterday, they showed me a little bit. I got so excited. I thought maybe it would be more like Shrek, but what I loved about it is that it has its own personality and style. It’s great!