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Rediff.com  » Movies » Harvey Weinstein made Salma Hayek's life a nightmare

Harvey Weinstein made Salma Hayek's life a nightmare

December 14, 2017 13:41 IST

Frida is arguably Salma Hayek's finest film.
The actress reveals why it gives her no joy.

Photograph: Clemens Bilan/Getty Images for Kering

Salma Hayek is the latest Hollywood A-lister to come forward with allegations of sexual harassment against disgraced media mogul Harvey Weinstein during the filming of Frida.

Hayek accused the producer of sexual harassment in an essay published in The New York Times, titled 'Harvey Weinstein Is My Monster Too'.

 

The 51-year-old actress said she initially felt grateful to Weinstein for taking a chance on her and believing in her talent enough to let her complete the movie on her favourite artist.

But little did she know that she would go through hell to complete the 2002 Miramax-produced film after she rebuffed his series of advances.

'I knew him a little bit through my relationship with the director Robert Rodriguez and the producer Elizabeth Avellan, who was then his wife, with whom I had done several films and who had taken me under their wing. All I knew of Harvey at the time was that he had a remarkable intellect, he was a loyal friend and a family man,' Hayek recalled.

The actress said she had to constantly say 'no' to Weinstein who would accost her at different places with the strangest of demands.

'No to opening the door to him at all hours of the night, hotel after hotel, location after location, where he would show up unexpectedly, including one location where I was doing a movie he wasn't even involved with,' Hayek wrote.

'No to me taking a shower with him. No to letting him watch me take a shower. No to letting him give me a massage. No to letting a naked friend of his give me a massage. No to letting him give me oral sex. No to my getting naked with another woman. No, no, no, no, no,' she recalled.

Hayek wondered whether it was her friendship with Quentin Tarantino and George Clooney that saved her from being raped.

Describing his 'Machiavellian rage', Hayek said Weinstein threatened to kill her after his failed attempts to sleep with her.

'The range of his persuasion tactics went from sweet-talking me to that one time when, in an attack of fury, he said the terrifying words, "I will kill you, don't think I can't",' Hayek wrote.

During the filming of Frida, Hayek remembered Weinstein openly criticised Frida's unibrow and berated the actress for her performance in front of cast members on many occasions.

He also demanded a script rewrite, three A-listers for the smaller parts and additional money, all of which Hayek managed somehow.

But he again threatened to shut down the production if she did not perform a full-frontal sex scene with Ashley Judd in the film, which Hayek had to say yes to.

Weinstein told Hayek that her sex appeal was the only good thing about her and in the film she was not sexy enough, hence the scene.

'But this time, it was clear to me he would never let me finish this movie without him having his fantasy one way or another. There was no room for negotiation.'

'I had to say yes. By now so many years of my life had gone into this film. We were about five weeks into shooting, and I had convinced so many talented people to participate. How could I let their magnificent work go to waste?' she added.

On the day of the shooting of the nude scene, Hayek remembered she had a nervous breakdown and had to take a tranquiliser to get through the 'senseless scene'.

Weinstein, Hayek said, continued to make her and other team members' lives hell and told them the movie would go straight to DVD.

Somehow the film, which is considered one of the best in Hayek's career, made it to theatres and ended up winning Weinstein two Oscars.

Despite the film's success, Hayek said she got no joy out of it.

'Until there is equality in our industry,' she noted, 'with men and women having the same value in every aspect of it, our community will continue to be a fertile ground for predators.'

'I hope that adding my voice to the chorus of those who are finally speaking out will shed light on why it is so difficult, and why so many of us have waited so long,' she added.

'Men sexually harassed because they could. Women are talking today because, in this new era, we finally can.'

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