Fifteen years ago, Salma Hayek called Oliver Stone “a son of a b**** and he never forgot it. When it came to casting Elena, the female drug cartel kingpin a decade and a half later for his new movie SAVAGES, he knew she was “the one” to play one of the villains.
Oliver Stone’s first encounter with Salma Hayek left quite an impression. After Robert Rodriguez’ Desperado (1995) launched Salma Hayek’s Hollywood career, the Mexican actress, according to Stone, was upset with the director for not seeing her for the role of the femme fatale in U-Turn (1997). The role eventually went to Jennifer Lopez. At a chance encounter soon after, Hayek had a few choice words for the filmmaker. According to Stone, she referred to him as “you son of a b****!” and accused him of not wanting to see her for the role which he gave to Lopez. “I was stunned. I didn’t know her,” Stone told press at a recent Los Angeles press day.
Stone pointed out that Hayek may not recall the incident, but he remembers it clearly and when it came to casting La Madrina (the godmother), the Mexican drug cartel leader in the big screen adaptation of SAVAGES, he immediately thought of her.
“But you know what? Fifteen years later, I went to right to her. I’d say ‘this is the one.’ “
Stone calls Hayek “an act of will” and “tough” so he fought to hire her. Stone sent Hayek a note in France, advising her she was “the one.” Universal Pictures executives at first didn’t think she was tough enough, but his response to the production executive – “Sweet-heart! She’s tough.”
Stone claims he only saw one other actress, but he wanted Salma from the get-go. Stone didn’t specify which actress, but later he did add “Now Jennifer Lopez is going to come after me.” If indeed Lopez went after the role of Elena and lost out to Hayek – that makes them even.
As for Salma Hayek’s current opinion of Stone, the Mexican actress described the SAVAGES director as “generous” and a team player. She especially enjoyed the freedom he gave her to find the look of her character, La Madrina and appreciated that Stone made the character much more interesting than in the book.
SAVAGES opened in movie theatres July 6.