Walk us through a few examples of that. What was your vision for the roles Salma Hayek has played in your movies?
I worked with her on (1994 film) Roadracers, so I built a working relationship with her. I catered and rewrote the role for her. I was looking for somebody who would really be impressive, because Latin actresses weren't given a shot back then. If we were going to do it, we had to do it all the way. People would go, "Oh, that's what a Latin actress is! Okay, I get it." It's a different type of personality than we are used to seeing on the screen: really strong, really courageous, really fun, beautiful, exciting.
Let's talk about a few more of your female leads. How about Rosario Dawson in Sin City and Sofia Vergara in Machete Kills?
What was cool [about Rosario] is that we were trying to find somebody that sounded, looked and had the attitude of this really wild character that Frank Miller had drawn in his Sin City book called Gail. It wasn't a Latin character at all. In walks Rosario Dawson. She came in, and she just killed it. We were like, "Wow!" So strong, beautiful and tough. All the things that Gail was.
I've always wanted to work with Sofia Vergara. I had a couple of different roles in the movie she could have played. I asked her which one she wanted. I said, "Well, it's going to change completely now that I know you're doing it. I'm going to go make her more extreme." So, I went, and I worked on it. I wanted her to be visually a powerhouse, and to be really exciting on screen. I said if I'm going to work with Sofia, I'm going to work with Sofia. Let's go all the way, and do something really iconic.
Sounds like the actresses can really inspire their own roles. What's their reaction to their roles?
They love playing the characters. It's very hard for an actress to be anything but second fiddle to the hero a lot of times. I always keep that in mind when I'm doing a part for somebody.
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