Salma Hayek opened up about her Hollywood experience in a new interview with Total Film magazine, where she revealed that past directors had once told her to dumb herself down on camera, reports News.com.au.
Despite being an acclaimed actress with multiple award wins and nominations, there have been times in her illustrious career when Hayek has been undervalued and patronized by her directors.
“Unfortunately, I never had a lot of chances to do parts where I could use a lot of the things I learned (in acting classes), or you learn them and they don’t let you,” said the 53-year-old actress.
“I’ve had directors say to me, ‘Dumber and faster. Sound dumber and speak faster.’”
The Like a Boss actress neglected to name the directors in question, but she has worked with a variety of acclaimed filmmakers throughout her career — including Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino, Julie Taymor, and Oliver Stone.
Hayek says she took her acting classes in Mexico very seriously, in part because her instructor was strict, especially about attendance.
Part of the reason her acting classes have stuck with her for so long is that she never skipped a lesson, which is likely why she lamented the fact she hasn’t been able to utilize her formal training in her work more often.
She claims that if someone missed a class, regardless of the reason, her acting teacher had harsh words.
“You were not sick enough. If you were in the hospital, I’d understand, but two days in bed … don’t show up with that paper to my class. This is not a joke. You are either committed to this class or you don’t belong here,” the instructor said.
She added that her teacher told her to “love every single prop.”
At one point, he stopped her from sweeping the floor mid-scene because he didn’t feel she was doing it correctly and needed to research every movement, even for something as minor as sweeping.
According to Page Six, Hayek’s first big break came in Mexico, where she starred in the popular telenovela Teresa. Hayek didn’t move to Los Angeles until the early 1990s, and at the time, she struggled to find roles due to her dyslexia and her lack of fluency in English.
It wasn’t until Rodriguez cast her in the 1995 film Desperado that Hayek began her ascent to Hollywood stardom. From there, she was cast in other notable films like From Dusk til Dawn and Frida, for which she earned Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations.