Desperado Studio Wanted to Cast Cameron Diaz as a Mexican Says Salma Hayek

Filmmaker Robert Rodriguez’s 1995 Spanish western film Desperado was a culturally significant movie for Latinx representation in Hollywood. The movie established Rodriguez as one of the industry’s hottest action directors and made stars out of newcomers Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek. In an interview with Elle, Hayek revealed she almost missed out on her role in the film because the studio wanted Cameron Diaz.

“I remember Cameron Diaz was huge at the time and her last name was Diaz, so they said she can be Mexican. She was part of the list, and I had to audition again…I’m telling you, the studio wanted Cameron Diaz as a Mexican.”

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In Desperado, Salma Hayek played the role of the alluring Carolina, a woman who unexpectedly finds herself swept up in the vengeance-fueled journey of the lead character, played by Banderas. The movie turned the actress, who was 29 at the time, into an instant sex-symbol, with gifs of Carolina in a white dress stopping traffic in the middle of the road proving very popular to this day. According to Hayek, filming that iconic scene was more terrifying than enjoyable.

“I remember I was terrified. There are two cars coming my way, they’re going to crash right behind me, and I have to not look afraid. It was not a huge budget movie and Robert has his way of working: nice and organic. So there I am walking and hoping they don’t run me over and kill me. This is what I was worried about. I guess the direction, now that you mention it, was that I have to not look scared and I have to be amused by it. That was a big acting job because I was shitting myself.”

Fortunately, Hayek was able to control her fear, and complete the scene that established her as a striking Hollywood beauty to watch out for. Other scenes in the film also proved quite taxing, particularly a love-making scene that almost made her quit the role a few times. Looking back on the legacy of Desperado, Hayek is often surprised to find the movie struck a chord with multiple generations of fans.

“I’m not the most objective person to ask [about Desperado’s legacy]. A lot of people come to me and talk about it. But from my perspective, it kind of became a cult classic. What they tell me is many people saw it many times, and they’re watching again throughout the years. I’ve had young dudes come up to me like, “That was my father’s favorite movie, and then it became my favorite movie.” It’s funny how many people bring it up still to this day. It’s not a movie that got forgotten.”

Two and a half decades later, Hayek’s career is shining brighter than ever, with her upcoming leading role in the Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson-starrer The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, and playing a superhero in the MCU’s Eternals. But for a certain section of fans, Hayek will always be Carolina in the breezy white dress. This news comes from

Neeraj Chand

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