By: David Villafranca
Salma Hayek is back in her role as a combustible, foul-mouthed Latina in “Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard,” an action-comedy film that the Mexican-American actress says will give many middle-aged women a sense of satisfaction.
“There’s still a lot of age discrimination, especially when it comes to women. And that’s something my character, Sonia (Kincaid), doesn’t put up with,” she said in an interview with Efe.
“She’s explosive by nature. But if you want to see her blow up beyond belief, insinuate something about her age and then watch out …” Hayek said with a smile.
The 54-year-old actress had a mere cameo appearance in the 2017 film “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” but has a starring role alongside Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson and Antonio Banderas in the sequel.
Hayek said she was pleased that director Patrick Hughes gave her free rein to mold the character as she pleased, while her good friend Reynolds was instrumental in her taking on a bigger role.
“It was just two days of work for me in ‘The Hitman’s Bodyguard,’ but I really enjoyed being her: all of her swearing, all her craziness,” she said. “And in this new film, Hughes told me, ‘Now instead of two protagonists, there are going to be three. And you’re going to be one of them.”
Hayek ratchets up the comedy’s manic intensity in her role as the wife of Darius Kincaid (Jackson), a notorious hitman that bodyguard Michael Bryce (Reynolds) was hired to protect in the first film.
Sonia and Michael must join forces in the sequel to rescue Darius, a mission replete with high-speed chases and hair-brained schemes that is equal parts ludicrous and suicidal.
Hayek said of her performance that it was “liberating” to portray a character as impulsive and brash as Sonia but that she was also a bit apprehensive about inserting herself between the electric duo of Reynolds and Jackson.
“They have wonderful chemistry. They have two completely different comedic styles and they somehow complement one another. It’s really hard to come in as a third party and not disrupt what they already have,” she said.
In a recent interview with Variety magazine, Reynolds said the script of “Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” called for Hayek to slap him in the face twice and joked that he can “still feel the sharp sting of her tiny hand working its way into my soft Hollywood cheekbones.”
Hayek, however, defended her actions while maintaining her sense of humor.
“He told me to give it to him. He didn’t think I’d give it to him so hard, but I did what he said,” she recalled. “Then he went around complaining, but the truth is my hand hurt too. Don’t think it only hurt him.”
Hayek also had the chance in “Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” to reunite with Banderas, a close friend of hers since they were fellow cast members in films like the 1995 neo-Western action picture “Desperado.”
Some members of this latest film’s cast and crew saw the two in animated conversation in Spanish and thought they were feuding on set, but Hayek said they were merely coming out of their roles as the villain and crazy woman, respectively.
“One day I realized that everyone was looking at us apprehensively. I think people thought we were fighting, but that’s just how Antonio and I talk,” she said smiling.