Salma Hayek Pinault is enjoying a kind of career longevity not many do in Hollywood — but it didn’t come easy for the Mexican-American actress. In a new interview, Hayek Pinault opened up about how she was “typecast” early on thanks to her scene-stealing role in From Dusk Till Dawn. In the 1996 film, the 56-year-old star played snake-dancing stripper vampire Santanico Pandemonium.
“I was feeling insecure [and] just wanted to get through it,” Hayek Pinault told GQ Hype about the scene, in which dances in a bikini with a snake around her neck. “It was a really small part but to my surprise people really remember that moment.”
People in the industry remembered it too well. “I was typecast for a long time,” she added. Hayek Pinault thought that would shift after Frida, which earned her an Oscar nomination in 2002 for her portrayal of Frida Kahlo.
“The types of roles that people offered me did not change at all,” explained. “I really struggled and I thought that was going to change, but no.”
Hayek Pinault credits Adam Sandler with looking beyond the typecasting.
“My entire life I wanted to do comedy and people wouldn’t give me comedies. I couldn’t land a role until I met Adam Sandler, who put me in a comedy [2010’s Grown Ups], but I was in my forties! They said, ‘You’re sexy, so you’re not allowed to have a sense of humor,'” she recalled. “Not only are you not allowed to be smart, but you were not allowed to be funny in the ’90s.”
When asked if that made her want to scream, the Eternals star admitted she “was sad at the time.”
“But now here I am doing every genre, in a time in my life where they told me I would have expired — that the last 20 years I would have been out of business. So I’m not sad, I’m not angry; I’m laughing,” she declared.
In the last two years alone, Hayek Pinault has hit practically every genre — action, drama, comedy and she entered the Marvel cinematic universe. Next up is Magic Mike’s Last Dance, where the actress gets to be sexy and funny.
“This is full circle,” she exclaimed. “Now, somebody strips for me.”