Cannes Film Festival 2018: Salma Hayek says time's up for male actors, lobbies for equal pay

FP Staff

May 14, 2018 12:50:05 IST

A day after joining more than 80 women's protest at the Cannes Film Festival, Salma Hayek said Sunday that change for women in Hollywood is already happening.

In a conversation that was part of the 'Women in Motion' talk series at Cannes, Hayek said her production company is having trouble keeping up with the demand for female writers and directors. The actress-producer said she has sold four TV shows about women this year. "I can't find enough female writers and directors," Hayek said. "They're all busy. The change already happened."

Hayek said much work still needs to be done, particularly on the issue of equal pay. The 51-year-old actress said she hasn't been insisting on equal pay yet because male stars and producers still need to adjust. She also said that male stars should get less pay as way to even things up with chronically underpaid women. “The actors have to say: ‘OK, time’s up. I had a good run but now it’s also time to be generous with the actresses in the films.’

"Time's up. You had a good run but it is time now to be generous with the actresses," she said. "If actors ask such inflated fees it will leave nothing for actresses. If the movie's budget is $10 million, the (male) actor has to understand that if he is making $9.7 million, it is going to be hard for equality," Hayek added. "Otherwise they will kill the movie," she warned.

71st Cannes Film Festival - Photocall Kering Women in Motion - Cannes, France May 13, 2018. Salma Hayek poses. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau - UP1EE5D0SW994

Salma Hayek at Cannes. Reuters

“We all have to be part of the adjustment. That’s one idea. I’m going to be hated for it. I hope I can get a job after this!”

But she repeatedly spoke positively about progress behind the camera. "Maybe you don't see the difference in the numbers, but it just happened this year," Hayek said. "It worked. And I think we should enjoy it."

Hayek also remarked on her allegation of sexual harassment against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein in an op-ed in December. Weinstein at the time issued a lengthy statement of denial. Hayek said Weinstein specifically contested her claim and that of Lupita Nyong'o because they're women of colour. "It was a strategy by the lawyers, because we are the easiest to get discredited," Hayek said. "It is a well-known fact, if you are a woman of colour, people believe what you say less. So he went attacking the two women of colour, in hopes that if he could discredit us, he could then maybe discredit the rest."

In the wake of the scandals that have followed Weinstein's downfall, Hayek said men in Hollywood "are terrified" and that "predators are hiding." But she said the #MeToo movement also is a great time for men "to rethink what it means to be a man." "This is a new era for men," Hayek said.

Hayek — best known for Desperado and indie hit Beatriz at Dinner — had accused mogul Harvey Weinstein of threatening to "break my kneecaps" after she spurned his advances on the set of her film Frida.

With inputs from AP, AFP and Reuters

Updated Date: May 14, 2018 12:50 PM