Salma Hayek Pinault - When Cultures Clash in "Beatriz at Dinner" - Extended Interview

Extended - June 8, 2017 - Salma Hayek Pinault 06/08/2017 Views: 99,543

Salma Hayek Pinault explains how Cecil the Lion inspired her film "Beatriz at Dinner" and reflects on the time Donald Trump tried to get her to leave her boyfriend for him. (11:53)

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Please welcomeSalma Hayek Pinault.

-♪ -(cheering, applause)

They're so nice.

Oh, they're wonderful.They're amazing.

Let me start by saying thank you

for keeping me in a library.

-When I was, uh, in school...-In the library?

...I watched Desperado,

-and you worked in a library.-Yes.

And I was like, "Man, if a womanlike that works in a library,

I need to spend more timereading books."

And I would sitevery day going, like,

"When does she arrive?When does she arrive?"

And you never did.

I-I did, now.-I guess...

-I do now.-You did now.

-I'm here now.-You are here now.

What a long time to wait.And it's... it-it is worth it.

Thank you so muchfor being on the show, and...

thank you for a great movie.Uh, Beatriz at Dinner

confuses me, becausewhen I started watching it,

I thought it's gonna be acomedy. 'Cause the movie opens,

you know, with youhanging out with goats

and you have all of theseanimals and you-your character

is basically, uh, a masseuse

who comes to the United States

from Mexico and she worksfor very, very rich people.

But when I was watchingthe animals-- before we talk

-about that-- I was like, "Doyou love..." -Well, wait a...

She doesn't only workfor very rich people, huh?

She works for cancer patients.

And she has some clients

that are the parentsof some of the cancer patients.

-Right.-Like in this case.

-Let's talk about animals.-You love animals.

I just... As Beatriz, I don'twant people to think I only

work for rich people. She'dbe terribly offended, Beatriz.

I like... This is, like,method acting to the...

Like, after the movie.

-That's the next level.-Yeah, a year later.

You are... You love animalsas well, don't you?

-I love animals.-Is it true that you had

30 animals at one pointin your life, including a llama?

Is that true?

Kind of.

"At one point in my life"

would be n-now?

-It could be any time.-And it's nine alpacas.

-Oh, nine al... Okay.-But close enough.

People always confusethe alpaca and the llama.

I know, llama, Mexican,Puerto Ricans, I know.

People get confusedall the time.

Um... your character

is a loving, caring person,uh, who, as you said,

takes care of cancer patients.

Um, that's how she meets theother characters in the film.

Because, by the way--I'm sorry to interrupt you--

she's not only a masseuse, huh?

She's a holistic healer.Continue.

Okay. So...

I feel like I-I'm...I have to, like,

meticulouslygo through the movie.

Um, but-but the movie kicks offin a way that doesn't, uh,

I guess, give awaywhat it's going to become.

And it's an interesting storyof your character

really spending a day--

and yet it feels likea lifetime--

with people who livein a completely different world.

Completely different reality,yeah.

And-and when you...when Beatriz is in that world

with these rich people,what were a lot of the themes

you were looking to conveyin those moments?

Because Beatriz comesfrom a different world

to these people. What were youtrying to convey in the story?

(sighs)Well, um...

she doesn't chitchat.

She only wants to talkabout important things

and meaningful things, andshe's really well intentioned.

She has no sense of humor.

-Um, but she's alsonot very fast to judge, -Uh-huh.

and she's not... she doesn'thave a lot of complex.

Like, she can take a lot,you know?

Like, people make fun of her.

She doesn't even take itpersonal.

But in the conversations,

it becomes uncomfortable.

She's a vegetarian,animal lover.

Uh, they're all eating steak.

Well, some had some fish.

And then, uh,they're talking about,

you know, killing some birds

-to do this big construction-Right.

and get rid of the protesters

and, who cares, we just gotto get what we want.

It kee... it keeps...

it keeps getting uncomfortable.

So she's not very offended

when she's attacked personallyso much

-because she's very,um, compassionate -Right.

of other people's ignorance.

But when it starts attacking...

bigger concepts of life...

(mimics ding)she goes crazy.

There-there is a...

there is a piece of the story

that seems to connect with you

as a person and as someonewho is connected to the world.

I've read a lotof your interviews.

I've seen how engaged you are inthe way society treats people.

You've been outspoken about theimmigrant experience, you know?

Uh, uh, I've always gravitatedto your message.

In this film,Beatriz is going through a lot.

And, as Salma Hayek,

you've lived a lifethat was not easy.

You've livedand achieved many things

that no one would have expectedyou to achieve,

maybe, uh, you know,other than yourself.

When you look at this characterand when you look at yourself,

what were two thingsyou could tie together,

where you go, like,"Oh, that-that was a piece of me

in Beatriz" or "That's a pieceof Beatriz in me"?

Ooh, there's so... there...

there's so many things.

Um, I do try to listento the other people.

-Uh-huh. -I mean,we-we're both opinionated,

but we are passionateabout learning

and-and finding outabout other people.

I really like to...

-I-I get excitedabout connecting, -Right.

and-and I'm comfortable

connectingwith-with other people.

And, um, Beatriz...

There's one thing that they have

that I-I want to share,

because I think everybody hasthis and it's important

and I think this is, for me,

the most important themeof the movie.

-Uh, she's an immigrant,like you said. -Yes.

And she has this no-nostalgiaall the time

about going to this place, um,

that seems like back homewhen she was young,

where she felt safeand it was just peaceful

and beautiful and joyfuland it was full of nature.

And I think all, uh, immigrants,we have this sense of nostalgia.

But I thinkthat the beautiful thing

is that we all long for a place

where there is purity,

-where you can feel pure.-Right.

This nostalgia isnot about a geographical place.

Um, I think, the immigrants,sometimes we think it's that.

If you're not an immigrant,you might think home,

or you might think the womb,

because the... your-yourchildhood was not good.

But maybe there was something,and it's...

I think we all yearnfor that part of us

that was innocent and pure.

Even the other guy in this moviethat is so obnoxious

and sometimes such a jerk,

uh, this-this man, Doug Strutt,

-he actually thinks he's gonnafind it in haunting. -Yes.

But at least there is a...

he's looking for it.

There is a primal thing,you know,

-that he could probably confuse.-Right.

And I think this is whatcan give hope to humanity.

-Here's...-That we all long to a place--

whether we're conscious or not--

where you are pure.

A-And to me, it's alwaysconnected, also, with nature.

And if you lookat this character,

this manthat you clearly do not like

even now that the movieis done, uh...

No. I don't like the character.

-He-He's a billionaire,-I like John.

um, whose family loves hunting.

He's really not nice,

and he believesthat the world is his to do with

as he sees fit.

Uh, I don't knowif it is safe to say

that character was influencedby someone who may be...

-Donald Trump?-Oh, yeah. Donald Trump.

Trump. You...

It... Was there a time?

You know, th-they...

The first idea that Mike Whitehad about this dinner

was, um, inspired by the fact

that they had just killedCecil the lion.

-Oh, yes, the dentist who killedCecil the lion. -Yeah.

-Yeah. -That dentist.We were devastated.

And so he said,"What would I say to him

"if I was in a dinner?

"You know, like,if I run into him, what...

Could I just, like,go on like nothing hap...?"

And then...

soon after he started to write,

Donald Trump was flirtingwith the possibility

of being, um, th-the presidentof the United States.

But, you know...

The flirting evolvedinto a, like, a full-on...

Yeah. A... I don't knowwhat you can call that.

I don't know if it's a marriage.I mean, God knows.

But anyway, at the time,

nobody thought he...

Nobody thought he would actuallyget to the part

where you're actually running

for the presidentof the United States.

Yes. Yes, yes.

So... But I think

that there's so many peoplelike that, you know?

And while we were shooting,

h-he was getting closer.


And so it was not inspiredor influenced,

but when-when you watchthe movie,

it's-it's really strange.

It's kind of uncanny,

as if he could predictthe future, Mike White, and...

I mean, as if he could hear

some of the conversationsin the future.

Speaking of flirting, um...


-I... I don't know... -Are youflirting with me, Trevor?

-No. No, no.-I'm married.

I-I... No, I would never.

I would, but I would not. Um...

Is it... Is it true

that Donald Trumpasked you on a date?


(audience exclaims)

I would...I would just like to know

how he asks someone on a date.

'Cause I-I can't pictureDonald Trump asking...

He didn't try to comeand grab me, for sure, luckily.


(cheers and applause)

He did not.He'd have no tear. Teeth.

Um, I was in an eventwith my boyfriend.

Uh-huh. Oh, wow. Okay.

(audience groans)

And then he, um...

W-We came...I went like this, like I'm cold,

and he put his jacket on.

And he was sitting behind.

And then I turn around.

My-my boyfriend's there.

So charming, so nice.

He said hello,he presented himself.

Super nice.

I said... He said, "I'm sorry.

Your girlfriend,I saw she was cold."

And I said, "No, it's okay."Anyway, uh...

And then he kept talkingto my boyfriend.

And then he befriendedmy boyfriend

and invited himto dinner afterwards,

to go where he was goingat a bar.

And we went.I mean, the whole time,

he was talking to my boyfriend.

And then he's like,"If you guys are in New York,

"you can come to Atlantic City,

"da-da-da,you can stay in my hotel.

"Give me your numbers.

Give me your number, yeah.Give me your number, yeah."

Never talkedto my boyfriend again.


Now he's calling, and I...

And he's inviting me out,and it-it's just me.

And I said,"What about my boyfriend?

"Am I... Am I crazy?Are you asking me out?

-You know I have a boyfriend."-Right.

"He's not good enough for you.

"Not important.

"He's not important.He's not big enough for you.

You have to go out with me."

Oh, wow.

And did you... Did you end upmarrying that boyfriend?

-No.-So Donald Trump was right.


Oh, man.

Thank you so muchfor coming to the show.

Beatriz at Dinner opensin New York and Los Angeles

on June 9 and will bein theaters nationwide June 16.

Salma Hayek Pinault, everybody.

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