Salma Hayek has detailed the traumatic tale behind the filming of a love scene in the 1995 thriller, Desperado.
A guest on Dax Shepard and Monica Padman’s weekly podcast, Armchair Expert, the Oscar-nominated actress opened up about how she struggled to film a love scene with co-star, Antonio Banderas, who played the long-haired, gun-slinging musician, El Mariachi, to Hayek’s midriff-baring bibliophile, Carolina.
While she was “thrilled” to be meandering across a dusty Mexican landscape with Banderas at the direction of film director, Robert Rodriguez, Hayek told Shepard and Padman that she wasn’t aware there would be a love scene between El Mariachi and Carolina until after production on the film began.
“Oh God, I’m gonna be in trouble – but the love scene was not in the script,” Hayek says. “It was demanded by the studio when they saw the chemistry test. I had a really, really hard time with that…I don’t enjoy the scene.”
The 54-year-old Frida actress agreed to film the scene with a closed-set which included Banderas, Rodriguez, and Rodriguez’s then-wife producer, Elizabeth Avellán. The director would double as the sound guy and the camera operator.
“So, when we were going to start shooting, I started to sob,” Hayek admits, adding she told those around her, “I don’t know that I can do it. I’m afraid.”
“One of the things I was afraid of was Antonio — he was an absolute gentleman and so nice, and we’re still super close friends — but he was very free,” she says. “It scared me that for him, it was like nothing… I’d never been in front of someone like that, in that situation… I started crying, and he was like, ‘Oh my God. You’re making me feel terrible.’ And I was so embarrassed that I was crying.”
Hayek insisted throughout the interview that Banderas and Rodriguez were “amazing” and “didn’t put the pressure on.” Still, she was uncomfortable.
“I was not letting go of the towel,” she says. “They would try to make me laugh. I would take it off for two seconds and start crying again. But we got through it. We did the best with what we could do at the time.”
It’s sure a different experience from Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio’s sex scene in the 1997 film, Titanic. (Spoiler: The pair would talk about sex in between takes.)
For those who haven’t seen the film, the love scene is chopped up into parts, the result of Hayek not being able to stay in character for long periods of time.
While the Sony-backed Columbia Pictures blockbuster initially wanted to cast Cameron Diaz as Carolina, Hayek would land the role and it would become her breakout Hollywood film.