One of Salma Hayek’s earliest breakthrough roles was the eye-popping, mesmerizing performance as a bikini-clad snake-charming vampire dancer in From Dusk Till Dawn, and this weekend, she’s mixed up with bloodsuckers once again in Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant. She’s playing Madame Truska, beloved of vampire ringmaster Larton Crepsley (John C. Reilly) and resident clairvoyant (not to mention bearded lady) in the vaudevillian freak show they run together. Despite this, Hayek insists she’s not all that into the suckheads.
“I don’t have a fascination for vampires. It’s quite ironic,” she says of why she took on this role. “I’ve actually been a vampire in a movie, and I’ve been in love with a vampire in another movie, and yet I have no fascination whatsoever with vampires. But I did love this script. It wasn’t the fact that it was vampires. I actually found the concept of the circus freaks a lot more interesting than the vampires, maybe because there have been less movies done about that. They were interesting characters.”
The colorful kookiness of the strange commune wasn’t the only reason she got her freak on. “I also liked that it was a film that is for young people, but it doesn’t treat young people as a cliche,” she adds. “It’s respectful of their uniqueness. It doesn’t tell them exactly what they’re supposed to think. It gives them space to take different things in different ways. I thought it was quite smart and refreshing, so that’s what attracted me to it. It just happened to be a vampire project. It also just happened to have facial hair, and it’s the third time I’ve done some kind of freak facial hair in a movie.”
You remember Frida, of course, with her famous unibrow. Can you guess the third film?
“John made me feel really good about it,” she notes of Reilly’s response to the beard. “He’d say, ‘Oh, my God, you look so hot with a beard,’ and I’d be like, ‘Really?’ It was like when I was a whale and swollen from the pregnancy, and I’d never looked worse in my life, and people said, ‘Oh, you glow.’ They have no words to tell you how bad you look, so they tell you that you glow, and then you feel like you glow. It was the same with the beard. They made me feel good about it.”