Alfred Molina says he saw Harvey Weinstein berate Salma Hayek on the set of Frida, with the former Hollywood producer and convicted rapist also giving him the cold shoulder after Molina compared the business prowess of Hayek to the producer.
The actor, who told The Independent in a recent interview that he did not witness any assaults, spoke about Weinstein’s behavior on the set of the film — specifically one “preposterous” instance in which Weinstein became enraged over Hayek’s spot-on performance.
After the disgraced former producer visited the Mexico set, he called up members of the film’s team “one by one” to his suite, where the actor says “he basically read the riot act to us.”
“He’d seen some rushes, and he wasn’t happy with what he’d seen,” Molina added.
During his conversation, the actor — who played Diego Rivera — said Weinstein proceeded to complain about how well Hayek embodied the late and legendary Mexican artist. “He said, ‘Alfred. What the fuck’s going on?” he recalled. “I’ve hired the best actors. I’ve hired Salma Hayek. She’s one of the best actors in the world. And what do I see on screen? Nothing but Frida, Frida, Frida!’”
Molina was filled with disbelief. “I remember thinking, ‘Well, that’s the whole fucking point, isn’t it?’” he told the outlet. “What he was talking about, of course, was she wasn’t playing ‘sexy’. She wasn’t playing this gorgeous Latina, this hot tamale. She was playing Frida.”
The actor noted that Hayek faced a lot of complications around producing that film, but that “in the face of a lot of resistance from Miramax, in terms of the people she wanted in the movie, she stood up against it and fought for everyone — me included. She was loyal to a fault.”
In a 2021 interview with The Guardian, Hayek — who had previously addressed Weinstein’s various forms of harassment in a New York Times op-ed — addressed her onset experience, recounting a similar reaction from Weinstein.
“I did feel all right [when he bullied me]. Ok, I would shake [afterwards] and it did depress me, but there was a cartoon aspect about the whole thing,” Hayek said. “When he would call me up [during the making of ‘Frida’] and scream, ‘Why do you have a [monobrow] and mustache? I didn’t hire you to look ugly!’ I was like, ‘But didn’t you ever look at a picture of Frida Kahlo?’ If a man was playing Cyrano de Bergerac, he wouldn’t say, ‘What’s with the nose?’”
Around the movie’s release, Molina — while speaking to Ellefor a November 2015 cover story featuring Hayek — stated that the Frida star’s creative and business prowess would have made her a powerhouse in Hollywood if she were a white man.
“I’ve said that if Salma had been white and male, she would have been bigger than Harvey Weinstein,” he told the magazine at the time. “I still believe that. Salma is a great businesswoman; she’s creative in a way that takes people by surprise.”
The comment, which was published before the launch of the #MeToo movement and Weinstein’s fallout, allegedly angered the producer, which Molina found out through an interaction with Weinstein after he made the comment.
“There were four of us sitting at the table. Sam Rockwell, me and a couple of other hefty actors. And Harvey Weinstein came in. Shook everyone’s hand. Sam, then the next guy, then the next guy. And when he got to me… he just kept walking. He totally blanked me,” the actor recounted. “Sam Rockwell’s at one end and I’m at the other end, and Sam goes, ‘What the fuck did you do!?’”
The Hollywood Reporter has reached out to reps for Rockwell and Weinstein.
At another point in the interview, Molina also addressed his previous stance on straight actors playing gay, after he played Kenneth Halliwell, the partner of playwright Joe Orton in 1987’s Prick Up Your Ears, and another gay man opposite John Lithgow in 2014’s Love Is Strange.
The actor says that his previous position, that “sexual orientation is irrelevant in terms of playing the character,” still stands. “I’m not trying to pretend to be anything I’m not, you know. I’m a white cisgender heterosexual,” he said. “It’s the very asking of the question that I think is inappropriate.”