Actress Salma Hayek has revealed details of disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein’s alleged behaviour towards her in a new essay for The New York Times.
The pair worked together on “Frida” and Hayek recounts Weinstein’s sexual misconduct which includes him allegedly asking her to shower with him, asking her to have sex with him, knocking on her hotel room doors at all hours of the night, subjecting her to private insults and making unreasonable demands.
The pair ultimately waged a war over the Oscar-winning Frida Kahlo biopic which she’d personally developed for years. He bought the rights to the project, and Hayek signed on to star and produce. Then, after Hayek continually rebuffed his advances, he allegedly turned on her:
“Knowing what I know now, I wonder if it wasn’t my friendship with [Robert Rodriguez and Elizabeth Avellan] – and Quentin Tarantino and George Clooney – that saved me from being raped… When he was finally convinced that I was not going to earn the movie the way he had expected, he told me he had offered my role and my script with my years of research to another actress.”
Weinstein demanded she get a rewrite of the script, an A-list director, recruit four big-name actors for supporting roles, and raise $10 million in financing. Hayek delivered on all those fronts, but Weinstein insisted that the movie feature a gratuitous nude scene. Fearing the cast and crew’s work would be a wash otherwise, she agreed:
“He had been constantly asking for more skin, for more sex. Once before, Julie Taymor got him to settle for a tango ending in a kiss instead of the lovemaking scene he wanted us to shoot between the character Tina Modotti, played by Ashley Judd, and Frida.
I arrived on the set the day we were to shoot the scene that I believed would save the movie. And for the first and last time in my career, I had a nervous breakdown: My body began to shake uncontrollably, my breath was short and I began to cry and cry, unable to stop, as if I were throwing up tears.
Since those around me had no knowledge of my history of Harvey, they were very surprised by my struggle that morning. It was not because I would be naked with another woman. It was because I would be naked with her for Harvey Weinstein. But I could not tell them then.”
Weinstein subsequently threatened to send the movie straight to video, and screamed at director Julie Taymor outside of a test screening. Ultimately “Frida” went on to win two Oscars from five nominations.