Salma Hayek believes her accent caused her problems in Hollywood until it won her a part in ‘Puss in Boots.’
Salma Hayek’s career was undoubtedly flourishing by the time Puss in Boots arrived. She garnered an Oscar nod for her lyrical depiction of Frida Kahlo in the 2002 biopic Frida and hundreds of other credits, including recurring appearances on the smash sitcoms 30 Rock and Ugly Betty, where she received a nomination for Emmy.
However, the Mexico native claims that the 2011 Shrek spinoff, which opened in theaters on October 28, 2011, changed everything for her and Antonio Banderas, her Spanish co-star.
“The whole thing was so bizarre because Antonio and I really struggle because of our accents,” Hayek explained to Yahoo Entertainment in a 2017 Role Recall interview. “Nobody wanted to hire us because of our accents. And in this case, they hired us because of our voices, [because of] our accents.”
After Banderas’s endearing but murderous sword-wielding feline became an instant fan favorite in 2004’s Shrek 2 (and later in 2007’s Shrek the Third and 2010’s Shrek Forever After), DreamWorks lost no time in greenlighting his own independent adventure.
The Chris Miller-directed film was the seventh collaboration between Hayek and Banderas. She voiced the sleek and thieving tuxedo cat Kitty Softpaws, Puss’s love interest.
“He was just so amazing, this cat, and he was so Antonio,” Hayek said of Banderas’ portrayal in the movie.
As with the Shrek films, Puss in Boots’ box office performance was straight out of a fairy tale and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. It earned $145 million in the United States and $554 million worldwide, making it the 15th highest-grossing film of 2011.
“He was just so lovable, the eyes,” Hayek swooned. “So I thought it was going to do well.”
Hayek’s next film appearance will be in Marvel’s Eternals, which opens November 5.