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Salma Hayek Drops Truth Bombs About Hollywood’s Gender Problem

Salma Hayek Drops Truth Bombs About Hollywood's Gender Problem

Salma Hayek is my new heroine. This morning at the Kering Talks (Kering is a sponsor of the festival and Hayek’s husband François-Henri Pinault is the CEO) this woman dropped epic truth bombs for about an hour. Her co-speaker Matthias Schoenaerts didn’t get to say much but his performances are speaking for him; I saw him right after the talk in “Maryland” by Alice Winocour and last week loved him in “Far from the Madding Crowd.” If Hollywood is listening every studio head should call her in and ask for her theory as to the gender problem in Hollywood. She has it so figured out.

Hollywood Report Editor Janice Min started off with the stats and then asked Salma why she thought that the stats about women in Hollywood were so bad and how we can get the men in power involved. Her answer: money. She said that they only way you can inspire men to care about this is money.

Here are some of the best truth bombs:

“We need to show them that we are an economical force. They have not discovered it because they are caught up in their macho stuff. The minute they see the money in this the business it will be instantaneously different.”

“They (men) don’t see this as embarrassing.”

“The only two industries where women make more money than men is fashion and pornography and in those we are treated as sexual objects. This is an ignorant way of looking at who we are.” “We don’t want to watch things that promote us as sexual objects.”

“Women don’t have enough voice and we can’t express who we are. We need to see ourselves.”

She talked about how young girls and books like the “Hunger Games” are changing the market because Hollywood knows that those movies will make money. She also talked about the several generations of women who they have just ignored, and because they ignored us, we have abandoned them and now get our content on TV.

“They don’t produce it, so we don’t go to see it. Because there were no movies, we started watching TV.”

“Movies are in trouble because we don’t want to see their movies. We lost the beautiful love for the ritual of going to the movies because we now watch content on tv because they abandoned us. They don’t know what we want.”

“We evolved, they didn’t. We are smarter than the chick flicks and romantic comedies they want to sell us.”

Here’s something I didn’t know – that A list actors have the ability to reject an actress in their contracts. They also have script approval and they don’t like when there is a strong female character. That the men say that they don’t want to play second banana to a woman. “99% of them want to be the star.” But they get their way because if the guy doesn’t sign then the financing disappears.

“How do they know what we are worth if all the box office success is credited to the male star? We don’t get any credit when the film is successful.”

On coming to America to act:

“I was a huge star in my country. When I came here I was an extra.”

What a producer said to her about why she wasn’t getting parts:

“We can’t take the risk of you opening your mouth and people thinking of their maids. You could have been a big star but you were born in the wrong country.”

She told the story about how a male director fought to cast her and then gave up when the studio kept saying no. He sent her a note saying he was ashamed and we should have walked away but he needed the movie. The studio wouldn’t hire her because they couldn’t imagine “a Mexican in space.”

“I am  Mexican. I am a woman. I am 48. I am at the bottom in Hollywood but I am working more than ever. I have never been embraced by the studio, I was always outside the system.”

She’s producing a lot these days. She was a producer on “Frida” which took her eight years to get made. 

After dropping all these truth bombs she made the comment that she will probably not work again. I doubt that, she is a super force to be reckoned with.

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Comments

BadInterview

Waah waah. Ive never bothered to loose my accent and improve my english, but its not my fault. Its because writers dont write enough roles for meeeee….

isaac

Although there is truth to what she is saying, the phrase "[women] don’t watch things that promote us as sexual objects" is untrue because some women are lesbians and enjoy objectifying the female body instead of the male body. Also of note, is that in order to even play a "man" in a movie means you had sex with another man to get the role. this is absolutely the truth in Hollywood which is often mainstream culturally accepted pornography because these "high art" films have stars that willingly give away their identities: body first.

Rick Sander

Stop saying "truth bombs" over and over and over.

Sir Farts a Lot

"To those arguing that she still sold her sexuality, bear in mind that Selma probably had no choice but to do so. Countless woman have done things that many male actors wouldn’t have to in order to obtain work."

Wait… Are you saying that women are helpless pawns who lack agency?

arturolima

Slama has a net worth of 85 million. Her husband has a net worth of 17 BILLION. LETS SEE HER PUT HER MONEY WHERE HER MOUTH IS.

Carol

Excellent point Tom. Does a statement like that not take away from the wonderful work that is presently being shown on TV? Is TV an inferior medium? Notice how she left out th music industry from her arguments because she didn’t want to either offend Madonna, Beyonce, Rihanna, Miley or have them breathing down her neck. And back to pornography, how does she know whether there aren’t any women out there who have tried to enter the business as directors or storytellers to soften things up, and they’ve been given a flat no and pat on the back with a "Sorry honey, we’re selling this to men, nobody is interested in your sappy little love story, we want hardcore." The issues that are going on in the world which is reflected in all industries are compex. For the next edition of the Women in Motion, I hope they bring in some behavorial scientist and historians to shed some light on what the root of the problem is and then we can try and solve it from there.

avenger07

Salma is a multimillionaire Mexican woman who lives in Europe, my question to her would be….what is it that you would do to help female filmmakers get their movies done? Specially in countries like your native México where,trust me there are more than a few aspiring and very talented female directors who find it very difficult to get their films made because of lack of financing, and no the state incentives are not enough, not even close, you see that is more the root of the problem, yes more so than sexism, which don’t get me wrong is also very real.

What would you do Señora Hayek?

tom

"Movies are in trouble because we don’t want to see their movies. We lost the beautiful love for the ritual of going to the movies because we now watch content on tv because they abandoned us. They don’t know what we want"

What’s different about TV? She went to Cannes. She knows there’s content that she would like that’s being produced. Why is she speaking on behalf of all women when it comes to what "they" want to see? Is it just because a man directed it? This whole thing coming from the mouth of someone who used her body to get roles and who has since been nominated for an academy award and never has to worry about money for the rest of her life is just a little infuriating. Who does she think she’s speaking for?

Mike Crowley

To those arguing that she still sold her sexuality, bear in mind that Selma probably had no choice but to do so. Countless woman have done things that many male actors wouldn’t have to in order to obtain work.

Carol

Also, I’m sure men still make more money than women in both fashion and pornography. Maybe not the men in straight porn. But I’m sure men are still in control of production and own the the entire set up of magazines and other channels. And fashion, isn’t her husband CEO of Kering which owns most of the luxury brands out there. Is she saying that there’s some woman other in that company that earns more than him? She does put forward some valid points but it would have been more interesting to hear from the female filmmakers out there who are struggling to make ends meet.

Carol

When she says "fashion" does this mean that Anna Wintour is viewed as an object? And when she mentions "pornography" does this include gay porn where men are equally as objectified as women? When you’re in porn you’re an object in the eye of the viewer, male or female. Even in straight porn, men are still looking at other men performing srxual acts

eqiupmentguy

Selma is spot on in about every answer.

equipmentguy

Shelby Young in the thriller CAWDOR. She doesn’t need any man to save her or nudity to sell her, she saves herself! Check out the trailer on utube, cawdor the trailer

marianK

I agree with everything Salma says, and this echoes many other articles and blog posts that make similar arguments. However, the underlying flaw in all these arguments is that it is assumed ‘it was ever thus’. If you look at Hollywood in the 30s and 40s (and to a lesser extent, the 50s) , the so called women’s picture was a major money earner and the moguls knew it. Although women’s pictures were denigrated back then, as they are now, they were never seen as not making money. They were given huge budgets, major stars and top screenwriters and directors. Often these films were directed by gay men, who I suppose were deemed more ‘sensitive’ to women. The rot started to set in around the time of the rise of second-wave feminism. Since the 60s (with a handful of notable exceptions like Norma Ray and Thelma and Louise), films about women were banished to the periphery. The premise that they didn’t make money was just the excuse, which then became the self-fulfilling prophecy. The descent into the sorry state of ‘women’s pictures’ today has not just been about money – it was also about backlash politics.

Marian

"We need to show them that we are an economical force. They have not discovered it because they are caught up in their macho stuff. The minute they see the money in this the business it will be instantaneously different." I think it’s already ‘different’ for actresses, just look at Hunger Games, the latest Mad Max: Fury Road etc. and how they’re insisting on better payment! Fantastic. But although the studios are showing us that they’re happy to make compelling women-driven films to make money, THEY DON’T/WON’T EMPLOY WOMEN TO WRITE AND DIRECT THEM, GRRRRR. (I read that the studio sought assistance from Eve Ensler on Mad Max, but she’s not credited on imdb although it’s great to see editor Margaret Sixel there and the women as art directors etc)

doodlee pigvirus

if she’d actually been cast in Gravity, i might have gone to see it. sandra bullock was clearly the wrong choice. it was obvious from the trailers.

Loretta Paraguassu

I’m a screenwriter and have a script that tells the story of an American heroine that begs to be told. Salma would be perfect for the role.

BR13

But, SCHIZOPOLIS, Brad Pitt got a carreer because he was the hot guy with the perfect butt in Thelma & Louise. And I don’t see people pointing this fact out everytime he criticizes the industry. But this is probably because he (the white male academy award winner who can get any part or movie he wants) doesn’t have anything to complain about.

Increible

Wow! That was Alfonso Cuaron and the movie Gravity and I know the studio guy that said that. And he seems so nice.

schizopolis

She’s right. But to be fair, she started her career promoting herself as a sexual object. Got smarter as she got older..as most of us do.

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