“I feel very Lebanese,” exclaims Salma Hayek, when I meet her at the Ritz Carlton in Cancun. The Mexican actress, whose first name is Arabic for Safe, is the daughter of oil executive Sami Hayek Dominguez, the son of a Lebanese immigrant.
The 46-year-old star says that she is very close the Lebanese community in Paris, where she lives with her French billionaire husband of four years, Francois-Henri Pinault and their 5-year-old daughter Valentia. But she hasn’t yet visited Lebanon.
“Every time I’m going to go to Lebanon, something happens and I’m serious,” she enthuses. “I think it’s because I’m meant to go there in a very special time. I was going to go now in May and then I can’t, but my husband has promised me that he’s going to take me and I will.”
In the meantime the Oscar-winning actress is producing an animated film based on The Prophet, the masterpiece penned by Lebanese writer Khalil Gibran. “It’s my passion project,” she enthuses. “I’ve been working on this for some time now. It’s like almost my homage to the love I feel for this part of my heritage.”
Following a successful acting career in Mexico, Hayek moved to Hollywood in 1991 and quickly gained prominence in movies such as Desperado (1995), Dogma (1999) and Wild Wild West (1999). Her breakthrough role, however, was in Frida (2002) as Frida Kahlo, for which she received multiple awards, including a nomination for an Academy award.
Suffering from dyslexia that limited her fluency in English, Hayek had a hard time expanding her acting resume in Hollywood. But recently, she has been experiencing a resurgence in her career, starring in movies such as Grown Ups (2010), Here Comes the Boom (2012), Savages (2012) and Puss in Boots (2011). She says that he has never been busier.
“This year we had so many offers for projects that right now we are in a panic trying to figure out which ones to do and how to manage them,” she exclaims. “Of course, now that I don’t have time to do movies because I have to focus on my family at 46, I have all the things I dreamt and I never got. They are offering leading roles, which I never had, except for Frida, which I created for myself.”
Currently, Hayek is promoting her latest comedy, Grown Ups 2, which stars alongside Adam Sandler, Taylor Lautner and Kevin james.