Anti-Trump actress says her new film helps to ‘understand the rest of America’


Hollywood actress and outspoken anti-Trump critic Salma Hayek claims her latest movie role has inspired her to better understand those who voted for Trump, despite the fact that their political views “scare” her.

In her new film, Beatriz at Dinner, Hayek plays a Mexican-born holistic healer (Beatriz) who, during a lavish dinner at her Newport Beach client’s home, clashes with a white, billionaire and Trump-like real estate developer, played by John Lithgow, Hayek said in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter.

The dinner turns into a free-for-all when Beatriz decides to dispense with decorum and take on another guest, billionaire real estate developer Doug Strutt (John Lithgow), who at first mistakes her for a servant.

At one point, Strutt — who builds projects with disregard for the environment and its effect on local residents — asks Beatriz where she is from.

When she answers “From Pasadena,” he presses: “Where are you from originally?”

Tension mounts when Beatriz reveals her immigration status to Strutt, the kind of conversation that Hayek claims dovetails with the heated debates about race and immigration taking place across the U.S. and abroad in the aftermath of Trump’s promises to deport illegal immigrants and build a border wall.

“I love this character because it represents so many people,” Hayek told AFP in a phone interview. “People think that (Mexicans) still get around on donkeys. There is a lack of understanding over who we are, where we come from, what we feel and what we want.”

Hayek claims the role made her realize that she has a “lack of understanding” of Trump supporters’ political views, adding that she has learned from her travels that many people outside of the U.S. view them as “insane” and “embarrassing” for the rest of the U.S.:

The movie takes this polarization and tries to create a communication which, right now we’re not really having. One of the things that scares me the most about what’s happening is my lack of understanding of the other side. I don’t like this. I don’t like to say, ‘Oh, they are crazy.’ No. I want to understand better what is it that they are seeing. Because I live in the U.S. as well as in other countries, and I travel a lot, [I see that] outside of the States, people see it as insanity. They can’t believe it. They think it’s laughable and shocking; they are embarrassed for us.”

The 50-year-old actress explained that she is “scared” by the fact that a large portion of the U.S. doesn’t see Trump’s behavior as “anything erratic or stupid or offensive.”

“It scares me; I don’t understand the thought process behind that and I must do it. It is my duty as a citizen to understand the rest of America.”

She later admitted in the interview that “when you are surrounded by only one mentality” — Hollywood, for example — “it’s hard for you to see the other mentality. So, maybe if you step out and take a look beyond your environment, we can start understanding each other and have a conversation. I hope it starts this dialogue.”

Beatriz at Dinner, which is being touted as “The First Great Film of the Trump Era” by its filmmakers, was featured at the Sundance Film Festival in January and opened in theaters on June 9.

Hayek has long been an outspoken critic of Trump over the past 2 years. She famously appeared on The Late Late Show With James Corden and offered to lend Trump a copy of U.S. History for Dummies.

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