Anyone who saw Salma Hayek’s 2009 run on 30 Rock knows: her comedic timing is just as glistening as her hair. But as the actor recalls in a new interview with GQ UK, she was blocked from comedic roles for much of her early career and instead pigeonholed into bombshell roles that often lacked bite—until Adam Sandler came her way with Grown Ups.
“I was typecast for a long time,” Hayek tells the publication’s Olivia Pym. “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 [Grown Ups], but I was in my forties! They said, ‘You’re sexy, so you’re not allowed to have a sense of humor.’ Not only are you not allowed to be smart, but you were not allowed to be funny in the ’90s.”
This isn’t the first time Hayek has spoken about experiencing over-sexualization in Hollywood—in the past, she’s also named names. In a 2017 essay for The New York Times, Hayek detailed her experience working with Harvey Weinstein, who she says once told her that “the only thing I had going for me was my sex appeal.” Hayek had just filmed the 2002 Miramax biopic Frida, which eventually saw her nominated for an Academy Award; she wrote that, at the time, Weinstein told her he “was going to shut down the film because no one would want to see me in that role.”
Although Hayek admits to GQ UK that she was “sad at the time” in her career she felt imprisoned by typecasting, she’s since filled her career with comedic roles—there’s even a turn in Seth Rogen’s Sausage Party on her resumé. She’ll add to the list this month with Stephen Soderbergh’s extravaganza Magic Mike’s Last Dance, in which she stars opposite Channing Tatum.
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“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,” she says. “So I’m not sad, I’m not angry; I’m laughing. I’m laughing, girl.”