Hayek had been screen-testing for a role that was different than the stereotypical casting of Latinas as maids or gangster's wives.
She told The Guardian, "I was screen-testing for the lead in a film and they said that it was not written Latin, but they wouldn’t mind changing it. I learned the script but when they sent me the pages [for the audition] there was none of the things I had learned, it was another role. So my agent called them and they said, ‘Are you crazy? She’s Mexican. We can change [the race of] the bimbo, but not the lead.'"
The Latina wasn't going to back down easily. In fact, she threatened to sue the director if they didn't allow her to audition for the original part she had practiced for.
Her agent called the director and only asked for five minutes of their time to let her try out.
"And they said, ‘Absolutely under no circumstances.’ So I said, ‘OK, you tell them that they either see me, or I’m going to sue them.’ And they said, ‘There’s no point in her coming, even if she had been the best audition she would have never gotten the part… but now we hate her. Does she want to come knowing that we detest her?'" she recalled.
The producer/director? Ivan Reitman.
Reitman is known for his work on "Ghostbusters," "Space Jam," and "No Strings Attached" — just to name a few.
Hayek admitted that she's never outed a director by their name before, but she spilled * that * tea.
It was more than just landing the lead: Hayek wanted to change the way Latinxs were depicted onscreen.
"I said, 'Well, I thought that the director that could see Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito as twins [1988’s "Twins"], and Arnold Schwarzenegger giving birth to a child [1994’s "Junior"] maybe could see a Mexican as a fashion editor.' I thought I owed it to the new generation of Mexicans. That if I got this right, maybe something will shift."
Although she didn't get the role, she did have the pleasure of knowing Reitman recognized he had made a mistake.
Years later, Hayek ran into Reitman and it sounded like he had some time to reflect on the situation.
Hayek stated, "We had such a lovely conversation, he was so elegant. He said, 'I was wrong.'"