Sandler says he'd been trying to get together with Hayek to do a film, however it just hadn't worked out until Grown Ups. "We talked about doing a movie for a long time," said Sandler. "Salma was available. She almost was in The Zohan, she almost was in a bunch of movies, and it didn’t time out right. This one timed out great. It was fun being married to Salma in the movie. She’s a great girl."
Chatting up the film at a press conference in Los Angeles, Hayek talked about getting to do comedy and life on the kid-friendly set of Grown Ups.
Salma Hayek Grown Ups Q&ASalma, what drives you to succeed?
Salma Hayek: "I just love life. I’m excited about things in life. I think that if you’re excited about life, you are excited about waking up and doing things with your life every day."
How do you see your career now that your married and have a child, and why did you say yes to this movie?
Salma Hayek: "I said yes to this movie because from the beginning, I was an Adam Sandler fan and I really liked the movie. Of course now, the main focus of my life is my family and it does change things and the choices that you make. You want to do movies that your children can watch, also that your children can have fun and enjoy the experience of shooting it - and it doesn’t get better than this movie for that. I love the movie. I’m proud of it. I can’t wait for Valentina to see it."
So no Frida in your future? Just being Valentina’s mother?
Salma Hayek: "No. I have a movie with a director called Emir Kusturica, he’s one of my favorite directors, and Johnny Depp that we’re going to be shooting next year. It’s an amazing character and that’s like a dream job as an actress. Also we’re talking about something with Kevin [James] that I’m excited [about] It’s an action comedy. There’s going to be a little bit of everything in my career in the future."
This is the first time you’re using 'Pinault' in the credits. Is it true Valentina had something to do with that?
Salma Hayek: "At the beginning of the film she was very little. My chair said 'SALMA HAYEK' and she said, ‘What does it say there?’ I said ‘Salma Hayek,’ and she said, ‘Where is Pinault?’ because her last name is Pinault. And in France my husband is much more famous than me, so everybody calls me Madame Pinault and she’s much more used to that. I realized that she felt left out. I also have two children that I inherited from his previous marriage and, in a way, I like it; it just brings the family together."
How did Valentina react when you told her you were going to use Pinault?
Salma Hayek: "She thinks it’s the least I could do, trust me."
How are you balancing motherhood and work? Did you bring her to the set?
Salma Hayek: "We all did. We all brought the children to the set. Adam makes it the dream environment to bring children. They are so highly entertained that you’re nervous when you get back home, how are you going to entertain your child?! They have all kinds of toys and things for them to play. Everybody had children of the same age. She loved coming to work on the set."
What was it like working with the guys on a comedy, and what was your experience with 30 Rock?
Salma Hayek: "I loved it and I’m really grateful I did that because it was wonderful training for this. Alec [Baldwin] also likes to improvise a lot and it’s really exciting when you have good chemistry with an actor, good communication, and you sort of build things as they go on. It’s magical. It was like Nirvana, that experience. It was going to be one episode, then two episodes, then three. Then after six I was tempted to go back, but I have to stop. But it was great that I got this movie because I love comedy and I loved working with everyone in the film. It doesn’t get better than this. I’ve always wanted to do comedy and I love this movie, and I’m glad that it was the first big comedy."
How does being a parent contribute to finding the comedy?
Salma Hayek: "I love this film because I think the audience is going to be able to add themselves to our experience, to bond with us, because being a parent is one of the most common, shared experiences and something that is so important. Every single character in this movie really cares about their family, and they’re so different. I think that the audience is really going to identify with everyone. And of all Adam’s movies, he’s done a large variety of films, but I think women are going to love this one because they’re going to identify with us and our conflicts in our own marriages and our relationships with our children and even the grandmothers and the kids and the guys. I really think that it was important that we all had a similar experience as actors, because it’s more that we bring to the table."
Do you think things have improved for Latino actors?
Salma Hayek: "I think definitely Hollywood has grown in embracing the inclusion of Latinos in the world because for some time we didn’t exist. We were not part of any stories. I mean, there are 40 million of us in this country. It was weird. I was very privileged to be part of a small generation of people that broke through that door first. But I didn’t do it by myself. Jennifer [Lopez] was also part of it. Ricky Martin was a huge part of it. There was a group of people and great timing, and also a lot of my friends from Mexico like Alfonso Cuaron, Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu, and later on Gael [Garcia Bernal]. I think it was the right place and absolutely about time, and I’m excited to have that part of that."
What childhood story do you hope your kid hangs onto for a while?
Salma Hayek: "I’m concerned about mine because she will not believe in Santa Claus. No matter what I say to her she just doesn’t buy it. She’s 2 ½! I refuse to give it up. ‘There is a Santa Claus.’ ‘Okay, mommy, in pretend world, right?’ ‘No, for real.’ ‘For real, right.’ She really doesn’t believe. There’s nothing I can say that makes her believe in Santa Claus."
"I think maybe she’s doubtful at least about fairies. So I’m shoving the fairies because it’s my hope that she’ll have some kind of make-believe characters. I don’t know why I have a child like that. I believed in Santa Claus and I was really upset when somebody told me the truth. But I’m hopeful that she’s too young to believe in Santa Claus and in a year or so she’ll believe in it, especially because it’s always a great tool for blackmail when you say, ‘If you don’t do this, Santa Claus is not going to bring you anything.’ But she doesn’t believe in it."
Salma Hayek: "Yes, we’ve been working on that."
Have you recorded together?
Salma Hayek: "No, but this is the fifth film we’re going to do together, Antonio and I."
What’s Kitty like?
Salma Hayek: "She’s amazing. And I’m so excited because my daughter gets to see me in an animated movie. Most of my recordings have all been in Paris, which is also the dream job because I can record anywhere in the world. But I’ve been able to hear his voice when I respond. I’m so excited to do this project."
Where do they take the story in the spin-off?
Salma Hayek: "The character is obviously the same character, but it’s got its own personality. It’s very clever and funny. Just yesterday they showed me a little bit. I got so excited. I thought maybe it would be more like Shrek, but what I loved about it is it has its own personality and style. It’s great."