Salma Hayek was given creative freedom to shape her character for the upcoming ‘Hitman’s Bodyguard” sequel, officially titled “Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard,” so she made it her mission to play a middle-aged woman going through menopause. The action genre hardly makes space for middle-aged women in general, let alone menopausal women, which is why Hayek was adamant about taking her character in this direction. As the actress told the Irish Examiner, “The stigma that is maybe the slowest one to change is the discrimination of age.” Her role in the “Bodyguard” sequel is a chance to combat that.
“I was also extra lucky because I was included in the process of the second movie and I thought that was very generous, but also very smart, because the problem with action films is it’s mostly men who do them,” Hayek said. “And I was heard. Of course there were some things that they were like, ‘Really? Are you sure we should go in this direction? It’s an action comedy, is dealing with menopause something that people are going to find funny or interesting?’ But they listened.”
Hayek stars in “The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” as Sonia Kincaid, a con artist who recruits Ryan Reynolds’ eponymous bodyguard to help her track down her husband (Samuel L. Jackson). Through all the action-driven set pieces, Sonia wrestles with her desire to be a mother despite that she is facing menopause.
“[The team] went with it and I think we managed to do a character that, even though she is an action character, she’s still very much a woman,” Hayek said. “It’s not like a woman trying to be a man, she isn’t trying to be a man at all.”
Hayek told The Chicago Tribune that she originally wanted to turn down the first movie. It wasn’t until Ryan Reynolds promised she could shape the character herself that she decided to sign on. “Ryan said, ‘Come on, it’ll be fun. Even if I don’t have scenes with you I’ll help you come up with something, you won’t regret it,’” she said. “And so it was true, they gave me a lot of freedom with the character.”
When the time came to develop the sequel, Hayek had another request: “For me it was important that we didn’t change her age. In action films, the men are allowed to age, but this is one of the few times where you’re seeing a middle age woman as a lead in an action film. It’s not a common thing, but I got my way.”
“Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” opens in theaters June 16.