From director Joe Lynch (Knights of Badassdom), Everly is a wild action-thriller centered on a woman (Salma Hayek) who faces down assassins sent by her ex, a mob boss, while holed up in her apartment. While at Comic-Con for a presentation in Hall H, filmmaker Joe Lynch and actress Salma Hayek, who expertly carries the emotional heart of the film on her own, spoke to press at a small roundtable, in which they talked about how monumental it was to have someone of Salma’s caliber carrying this crazy story, paying homage to her character in Desperado, wanting to always find the truth, having so many different things happen in one room, the claustrophobic feeling of being locked in a cage, how much more confident she was with the guns by the end of the shoot, the benefit of shooting chronologically, and what a breath of fresh air it was, every time there was another actor for her to work with. Check out what they had to say after the jump.
Question: Salma, you have a thing in this movie with your shoes. Was that an homage to your character in Desperado?
SALMA HAYEK: A little bit, yes. But also, because it was so bare, there was nothing to be a girl with. So, we thought it would be cool if I go to the closet and grab the first thing, and it’s the most impractical. If she doesn’t get out, what do you think he wants her in? Heels. Also, they keep getting in the way, so she keeps taking them off and putting them on. We also have a producer that has a foot and shoe fetish.
JOE LYNCH: He always kept pushing those shots. He was like, “Did you guys get the insert of the feet? That’s really integral to the film. Make sure you get those feet!”
HAYEK: But yet, it did remind me of Desperado.
LYNCH: That’s funny, I didn’t even realize that until you mentioned it.
HAYEK: I did. And they’re red, too.
Joe, how was it to work with someone as seasoned at Salma Hayek? Did you just keep coming up with new ways to torture her?
LYNCH: Oh, god! Believe me, it was all on page already. I didn’t really have to coax anything. It was just like, “Oh, we’re doing that today.” Honestly, the amount of heart that got installed into the movie because of Salma was monumental. Every day, and this is to Salma’s credit, she challenged me by saying, “Where’s the truth in this? I like that you think that going from A to B to C is cool, but is there truth in it?” It really made me evaluate every single beat in the film.
HAYEK: I wanted to know where she was, emotionally and psychologically. [Joe] put me through torture, but I put him through torture. Girls think differently, so I wanted to know why. It was mutual, in that way, but I think that’s what makes the film interesting. Because of that, the film is going to be interesting to men and also to women.
LYNCH: It really helped, always having that perspective. For me, it was always about what was going to look cool. I had lived with the script for so long, but Salma could come in and be totally fresh and totally objective and say, “Wait, you might have had that cool shot in your head for five years, but is it resonating the truth of the moment?” And I went, “Oh, shit, you’re right!” We would literally throw everything out and go, “Okay, let’s focus on how we get the most emotional impact into the moment while still making the film engaging,” ‘cause it was all in one room. So, it was definitely a mutual masochism, I guess you could say.
Being that it was one room, did you find that there was a claustrophobic feeling to that?
HAYEK: I am actually claustrophobic. It was the same room, but there were so many different things happening in the room. What was very claustrophobic was the cage.
LYNCH: There’s one thing that happens to Everly, where she gets put in a cage. When it was presented to me by the guy who puts her in the cage, he was like, “You could put her on the bed, but what if we put her in the cage?” I was like, “I don’t think Salma is going to go for that.” But then, we talked in the morning and she was like, “Yes!” I thought, “Boy, this is going to be interesting.”
HAYEK: I was also tied, and we had some technical problems that day. We were building up emotionally, but then I had to hold it because we couldn’t [shoot the scene]. And then, at some point, after one take, when they said, “Cut!,” I cried for another half an hour, and they were freaking out. They were like, “Are you okay?!” You build up and build up, and the take was short, so it didn’t get a chance to come out. You don’t know what it took for me not to freak out about being tied down. It might look like nothing, but for me, it was very challenging. It was not so much the room, but that little thing that looks like nothing was touch.
LYNCH: And it was all on screen. You feel it.
Salma, you really are put through the ringer in this and there’s so much physicality to it. Was there something that you found most satisfying? Was there a kill that you most enjoyed?
HAYEK: Oh, god, yes! I hated those guns, and I had to go train. They were all excited about the training, and I detest it. Every time we shot them, the noise got to me. And then, at one point, the character is very strong, and maybe it had to do with the character and the madness of the character. I remember one shot where the chair is pulled over, towards the end, I was shooting and I was not even blinking anymore.
LYNCH: Yeah, it was scary.
HAYEK: And the character was supposed to be like that. I was just in control of my body and in control of the gun. In the beginning, I was supposed to be good, but a little hesitant. But by the end, she was a different person. Maybe it had to do with the character.
LYNCH: That was one of the benefits of shooting chronologically, too.
HAYEK: Yes, that was amazing! I have to say that was my favorite part of it.
LYNCH: We really got to work on the emotional beats, every step of the way. So by the end, you really feel like she is the phoenix, rising out of the ashes. There was never a moment where we went, “Now you have to revert back to you not using the gun so well.”
HAYEK: Yeah, that was great!
What was it like to then add a young girl to all of the chaos, when Everly has her daughter with her?
HAYEK: She was so lovely!
LYNCH: She’s a doll. She was so great.
HAYEK: We got along so well. For me, it was such a breath of fresh air, every time there would be an actor.
LYNCH: For the first 15 or 20 minutes, it’s all Salma, and blood and guts.
HAYEK: Or stunts with guys that come for one second, and then go. They come, they shoot at me and they go. The next day, it’s another one that comes and shoots at me, and then goes.