El Callejon De Los Milagros (1995)
Having cropped up in a raft of Mexican soaps, Salma got her big break with the leading role in this highly-acclaimed romantic drama.
Playing naïve beauty Alma, a middle-class innocent who finds herself lured into a world of sex and heartbreak whilst her fiancé is off in America, Hayek shows off an impressive emotional range in her debut role. The film isn’t half bad either, bagging more awards than any other Mexican film in history.
Hot Tamale? Hell yes. Characters and audiences alike were left drooling at Alma’s feminine wiles.
Robert Rodriguez gave Salma her first foothold on the Hollywood ladder by casting her opposite Antonio Banderas in his 1995 remake of El Mariachi.
Sure, the film’s a bit of a mess plot-wise, but for kinetic, balls-out action, it certainly hits the spot. And in agreeing to a particularly steamy sex scene with Banderas, Salma planted herself firmly in the shop window for casting agents everywhere.
Hot Tamale? A sex symbol is born. According to Rodriguez, “everyone wanted to help out” on the day of the sex scene…no shit.
From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
Salma re-teamed with Robert Rodriguez for his half of this vampire-ridden crime caper. Having enjoyed Quentin Tarantino’s cool but low-key gangster bit, audiences were suddenly treated to a bonkers change of pace, as the action really kicks off in a club full of bloodsuckers.
Hayek plays Santenico Pandemonium, the snake-wielding stripper who gets QT all worked up before helping herself to a nice refreshing drink of his blood. Her vampy transformation kicks off much debate amongst male viewers over whether they still would…
Hot Tamale? Never has a filmgoing public been more envious of a snake.
Hayek is on window-dressing duties again in this knuckleheaded action caper starring Laurence Fishburne and Stephen Baldwin as a pair of escaped cons on the run.
Cue one long series of brainless set pieces as Larry and Steve dash from shootout to punch-up to car chase and back to shootout again. Salma crops up in a brief turn as good-hearted love-interest Cora, before proceedings lurch back to the crash-bang-wallop mayhem. One to forget.
Hot Tamale? More sweet than sexy during her brief time on screen.
Fools Rush In (1997)
Ex- Friends star in piss-poor romcom shocker! Salma stars opposite Chandler, sorry, Matthew Perry in this cloyingly schmaltzy tale from The Bounty Hunter ’s Andy Tenant.
Perry plays an ambitious business exec whose life is turned upside down after a one-night stand with Hayek’s Mexican beauty leads to her falling pregnant. Naturally the pair get married on the spot and all sorts of cross-cultural “hilarity” ensues.
Hot Tamale? Salma looks as lovely as ever, but the chemistry with Perry is practically non-existent in this damp squib of a movie.
The story behind legendary New York nightspot Studio 54 is a curiously anaemic affair despite the coke-fuelled notoriety of the subject matter.
Salma is firmly in autopilot as struggling diva Anita Randazzo, in what ends up as a poor man’s Boogie Nights, sharing most of that film’s glitzy rise-and-fall DNA but none of its flair. Even Mike Myers in a rare straight role, can’t stop this one falling flat.
Hot Tamale? The bathroom sex-scene with Ryan Phillippe is about as hot as it gets, and even that seems a bit half-hearted.
The Velocity Of Gary *Not His Real Name* (1998)
In this little-seen indie-flick, Salma plays Mary Carmen, a donut-shop waitress who’s hopelessly in love with Vincent D’Onofrio’s porn star Valentino.Thomas Jane completes the love triangle as gay admirer Gary, before the whole mess becomes infinitely more complicated with the revelation that Valentino is HIV positive.
Despite boasting some of the most screamingly clichéd gay characters ever committed to celluloid, it still manages to take itself incredibly seriously. An error, in retrospect.
Hot Tamale? Not really. She’s too busy “emoting” to be truly sexy.
The Faculty (1998)
Robert Rodriguez serves up some more splatter in this alien horror-fest, with a gang of teens including Elijah Wood and Josh Hartnett fending off an alien invasion of their high-school.
Salma plays the school nurse (just one of an ace adult supporting cast including Robert Patrick and Famke Janssen) who invites the entire student body for “ear inspections” in order to carry out the aliens’ body-snatching scheme en masse. Gleefully daft and dripping with gore, it’s B-movie fare at its best!
Hot Tamale? She looks a bit peaky actually. Janssen is far slinkier as the predatory Miss Burke…
Raised devoutly Catholic, Salma might have thought twice about appearing in Kevin Smith’s religion-baiting rampage. That said, she does get the chance to wax lyrical on religious hatred…
When are you people going to learn?,” she rants. “It's not about who's right or wrong. It doesn't matter what you have faith in, just that you have faith.” Right on sister!
Hot tamale? She introduces herself as a bespectacled stripper. So yes, quite hot.
Noone Writes To The Colonel (1999)
Adapted from Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s novel of the same name, the film follows the story of a retired colonel and veteran of the Thousand Years War, waiting to receive his long-promised pension whilst living under Colombia’s martial law.
Salma plays Julia, a prostitute involved in a bitter row that results in the death of the colonel’s son.It’s a moving piece of work, perhaps unlucky to miss out on a foreign language Oscar nod.
Hot Tamale? Hot enough to die for apparently!
Wild Wild West (1999)
Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. From the sublime to the ridiculous as Salma takes one for the bank account with her turn in Barry Sonnenfeld’s godawful Western.
She plays the damsel in distress that Will Smith raps about in the theme tune, and sure enough, “she be outta that dress” sooner rather than later, spending most of the film flouncing around in what appears to be a frilly nightie.
Not that we’re complaining. It’s the rest of the film that’s the problem, with Kenneth Branagh’s cackling villain a particular lowlight.
Hot tamale? To be fair, yes. But you’ll be too busy cringing to notice.
A cinematic experiment from Brit director Mike Figgis, Timecode plays out in four split-screen boxes, as the interconnected lives of various Hollywood movers and shakers are played out simultaneously.
Cleverly, the dialogue fades in and out depending on what story thread you ought to be watching, meaning it never gets too confusing, despite initial feelings of sensory overload.
Hot Tamale? Salma’s character is involved in a lesbian relationship with Jeanne Tripplehorn, resulting in one half of the audience’s eyes remaining glued to her quarter at all times!
Chain Of Fools (2000)
This iffy heist movie somehow manages to be far less than the sum of its parts, with a talented cast including Jeff Goldbum, Elijah Wood and Steve Zahn failing to leave much of an impression on a half-baked plot.
At least Salma has a bit of fun in her turn as cop turned Playboy model Segeant Kolko. Shame the rest of the film isn’t as appealing.
Hot Tamale? A sex scene with Steve Zahn only hammers home the sense that his character is punching massively above his weight…
Another collaboration with Mike Figgis, with another box of tricks on show, including a reprise for Timecode ’s split-screen and an intricate film-within a film structure.
It’s far too pretentious for its own good, with the plot seeming confused at best, but you can’t fault it for ambition. Salma’s character is a bit of a pain in the ass unfortunately, and given that she’s doing improv, we can’t even blame the script…
Hot Tamale? Sadly, Figgis is too interested in filming Rhys Ifans’ penis to get Salma dolled up.
In The Time Of The Butterflies (2001)
It may only have been a TV movie, but this “inspired by true events” tale bagged Salma an ALMA award for Outstanding Actress In A Made For Television Movie. So there.
The film tells the stirring story of a group of sisters standing up to fascism in the Dominican Republic of the1960s. Salma’s character Minerva lands the girls in all sorts of trouble, with her rejection of nasty General Trujillo going down very badly with the short-tempered dictator…the cad!
Hot Tamale? Not a woman to trifle with, Salma’s more feisty than foxy in this one.
The film that bagged Hayek an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of artist Frida Kahlo, and it’s a role that gives her acting chops a full workout. From an affair with Leon Trotsky to a crippling accident with a bus, there’s plenty for Salma to get her teeth into here.
Sadly, most of the attention fell upon her “uglying” process, with plenty of column inches dedicated to her moustache and monobrow combo. And now we’ve mentioned it too…curses!
Hot Tamale? Umm, did you not clock the ‘tache?
Spy Kids 3D: Game Over (2003)
A gimmicky third entry to Robert Rodriguez’s family-friendly action franchise, with much of the wit of the first two films sacrificed in favour of chucking various objects out of the screen for cheapo 3D shocks.
Salma’s only on cameo duty here, but she’s clearly having fun as the bizarrely monikered Cesca Giggles. Not as much fun as Sly Stallone however, who turns in a contender for the hammiest role of his career. Quite an achievement…
Hot Tamale? She’s got pigtails…need we say more?
Once Upon A Time In Mexico (2003)
A reheated hash of bits of old Rodriguez movies with Salma returning to reprise her role as love interest Carolina. She chucks herself into her stunts with typical gusto, but the film is let down by its attempt to cram too much in.
Mickey Rourke, Johnny Depp and Willem Defoe all turn in sterling support work, but they’re spread too thin in the weakest of the three Mariachi movies.
Hot Tamale? Gorgeous, and knows how to handle herself. We like.
After The Sunset (2004)
Brett Ratner casts Salma opposite Pierce Brosnan as a pair of retired jewel thieves enticed by, you guessed it, one last heist.
It’s no Oceans 11 in the charm stakes, but Woody Harrelson provides some decent comic relief, and everyone looks a million dollars. Brosnan has basically dusted off his Thomas Crown Affair routine and planted it on the beach, but that doesn’t detract from what is a decent slice of throwaway entertainment.
Hot Tamale? She spends the whole time in a bikini…well done Brett.
Panned by the critics, but boasting a measure of cult appeal (largely on the strength of its stunning co-stars, it has to be said), Bandidas pairs Hayek with Penelope Cruz as a bank-robbing double-act in turn-of-the-century Mexico.
Dwight Yoakum makes a spectacle of himself in a daft wig, but the camera never strays from Cruz and Hayek for too long in this buxom buddy-comedy. It’s a load of old tosh really, but still at least twice as good as Wild Wild West .
Hot Tamale? Times two, with Cruz and Hayek making for a suitably sexy pairing.
Ask The Dust (2006)
An ever-so-glossy romance, with Colin Farrell’s penniless drifter finding love in the arms of Hayek’s Mexican waitress.
Set in the 1930s, the film scores points for its period trappings, although the relationship between Farrell and Hayek is curiously sterile, with neither star bringing their usual charisma to the table.
Hot Tamale? The sex scenes between the mismatched pair are predictably lacklustre, although Salma’s skinny-dipping goes some way towards raising the temperature…
Ugly Betty (2006-2007)
Salma returns to her telly roots with a recurring role on flouncy fashion comedy Ugly Betty . Appearing as vampy editor Sofia Reyes, Hayek is on spectacularly bitchy form, hopping from the bedroom to the boardroom with consummate ease.
An executive producer on the show, Hayek netted an Emmy for her guest-appearances, namely the prestigious Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series award. Yep, it’s the biggie…
Hot Tamale? A fiery career-woman not above sleeping with her colleagues? What’s not to like?
Lonely Hearts (2007)
Salma plays against type as serial killer Martha Beck, one half of a real-life pair of nutjobs who knocked off their victims after locating them through lonely hearts columns.
John Travolta’s hammy performance as the detective on the case threatens to capsize the whole endeavour, but Salma is on top form as the fearsome Martha. Yikes!
Hot Tamale? She’s significantly slimmer than the real-life Beck, but you still wouldn’t want to get too close. Definitely the scariest performance of her career…
30 Rock (2009)
Another telly stint, this time on Tina Fey’s superlative sitcom, with Salma playing Jack Donaghy’s latest squeeze Elisa, who also happens to be his mother’s nurse.
It’s a belter of an opportunity in a show that makes Ugly Betty look about as funny as a terminal illness. Sorry Salma, but it’s true, Tina’s show is way better.
Hot Tamale? If this is what you’re average carer looks like, roll on old age…
Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant (2009)
Putting her facial hair in Frida to shame, Salma turns up sporting a full-on beard for Paul Weitz’s kiddie chiller!
She’s one of the attractions for the titular circus, with her bearded lady shtick just one element of John C. Reilly’s travelling troupe of oddballs. Met by a slightly lukewarm response, the film is done no favours by its limp teenage leads, but as far as teen fantasy fare goes, it’s good, harmless fun.
Hot tamale? Oh yeah, we love a little beard to cuddle up to at night…
Grown Ups (2010)
Salma’s next appearance will see her attempting to get a word in edgeways alongside notorious motor-mouths Chris Rock, Adam Sandler and Rob Schneider in this high-school reunion comedy.
Hayek plays Sandler’s fashion-designer wife, all high-maintenance flounce to his lovable schlub routine. It’s all stuff you’ve seen plenty of times before, but enough of the jokes hit the mark for this to avoid Little Nicky status. Which can only be a good thing…
Hot Tamale? Never mind her looks, she’d have to have the patience of a saint to be shacked up with Sandler…