Salma Hayek has become the latest high-profile actress to accuse Harvey Weinstein of misconduct, claiming he attempted to sabotage her film Frida when she spurned his advances.
Salma’s co-star in the film, Ashley Judd, was one of the first women to accuse the disgraced producer of inappropriate behavior as part of a shocking New York Times expose at the beginning of October (17), and now the film’s leading lady is speaking out to the publication.
She claims Harvey made repeated sexual demands as she was developing the passion project with director Julie Taymor in 2001, and her impression of him as a “patron of talent in film” quickly changed when he didn’t get his way.
“He had taken a chance on me – a nobody,” she tells the Times. “He had said yes. Little did I know it would become my turn to say no. No to opening the door to him at all hours of the night, hotel after hotel, location after location, where he would show up unexpectedly.”
Hayek claims Weinstein asked her to shower with him, watch as he took a shower, massage him, and allow him to perform oral sex on her – stories similar to those told by Judd and over 50 other women in the past two months.
Eventually, Harvey gave up and Salma was witness to his “Machiavellian rage”, as he attempted to derail the Frida Kahlo biopic. But Hayek refused to give up on her dream project.
“Much to everyone’s amazement, not least my own, I delivered, thanks to a phalanx of angels who came to my rescue, including (ex-boyfriend) Edward Norton, who beautifully rewrote the script several times and appallingly never got credit, and my friend Margaret Perenchio, a first-time producer, who put up the money,” Hayek writes in the op-ed piece for the Times. “The brilliant Julie Taymor agreed to direct, and from then on she became my rock. For the other roles, I recruited my friends Antonio Banderas, Edward Norton and my dear Ashley Judd.”
But Harvey’s demands didn’t stop and one day he showed up on set insisting the film wasn’t sexy enough and that the leading lady must film a nude scene with another woman – and she agreed, thinking it would “save the movie”.
“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,” she recalls.
“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.
“My mind understood that I had to do it, but my body wouldn’t stop crying and convulsing. At that point, I started throwing up while a set frozen still waited to shoot. I had to take a tranquilizer, which eventually stopped the crying but made the vomiting worse. As you can imagine, this was not sexy, but it was the only way I could get through the scene.”
Frida eventually picked up two Oscars for Weinstein’s company Miramax, but he never offered her a starring role in a movie again.
“The films that I was obliged to do under my original deal with Miramax were all minor supporting roles,” she adds.