Salma Hayek is more than ready to get into the holiday spirit! ET’s Nischelle Turner spoke with Hayek ahead of the global premiere of her new film, El Sabor de la Navidad, at the Toronto International Film Festival, which she produced. The 57-year-old actress opened up about her special holiday traditions and why her latest project is a great way to get into the mood for the upcoming season.
Helmed by Alejandro Lozano, El Sabor de la Navidad — or The Flavor of Christmas in English — connects three separate holiday stories featuring families and friends grappling between tradition and progression and tackling issues of acceptance and embracing love as they come together to honor their shared love of Mexican cuisine.
Set in and around Mexico City during the days leading up to Christmas, the film stars Andrés Almeida, Mariana Treviño, Mónica Dionne and Juan Carlos Medellin.
“What a better time than at Christmastime and a Christmas movie to talk about acceptance?” Hayek said of the project. “Christmastime is also a great opportunity for us to look at ourselves, build the courage to say ‘I love you’ to the people we have a hard time saying it to. To reunite with family and celebrate the bonds that already exist with the loved ones, and also to celebrate the new possibilities of new bonds.”
The Eternals star confessed that she’s a huge fan of Christmas films but lamented that she hasn’t seen “a really good one in a while.”
“There are so many beautiful classics, and there’s some of them that are very funny now, but the sentimentality of it is very cliche, you see it coming,” she added.
Hayek admitted that she was nervous about producing El Sabor de la Navidad but quipped that everything came together “like magic.”
“These stories, we’ve seen them before, and it was one of those things where the movie is very realistic, but it still gives you the magical spirit of Christmas [in real life]… How this movie happened, it was really magical because everything just came together,” she shared. “And Mariana Treviño — who I’m a super fan of, incredible Mexican artist — we asked her, and we thought it was gonna be a long shot. She jumped on board, same with the director, it was the miracle of Christmas!”
As for Hayek’s personal holiday traditions, she told ET that she and her family celebrate a “double Christmas.”
Hayek and French billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault, the chairman and CEO of the parent company that owns Gucci and a slate of other luxury brands, tied the knot in 2009. The couple shares 16-year-old daughter, Valentina, and Pinault’s son, Augie, with supermodel Linda Evangelista.
“We have to fake one of the days because we have Christmas, Mexican style, with my family, and then we have French style with his family,” Hayek shared with ET.
Back in August, Evangelista told Vogue that Augie spends the holidays with Pinault and also shared just how much Hayek means to her. Evangelista brought up a particular Thanksgiving holiday when Hayek seemingly dropped everything and raced to an ailing Evangelista as a prime example.
“I was sick at Thanksgiving,” Evangelista told the fashion magazine. “And Salma got on the plane with her daughter, came here, and made Thanksgiving dinner. She asked what I wanted — it was a very eclectic wish list. I wanted her Mexican chicken with truffled potatoes. And she spent the day in the kitchen and cooked it herself. No help.”
“The kids helped her at the end,” she continued. “She made a feast — a beautiful, beautiful meal. I had told her that I wasn’t going to have Thanksgiving; I wasn’t feeling well. And she said, ‘Oh yes you are.: I am coming.’ And poof, she was here.”
Obviously, El Sabor de la Navidad isn’t far off — food truly does bring families together.
“I’ve seen it a million times, and I still cry,” Hayek told ET of the holiday film. “I see it, [and] I just cry. I know [there’s] a part where you [want to] cry and say, ‘I’m not going to cry because I got to look pretty,’ but then I saw it with the audience. When the whole entire theater is crying [and laughing] — you can’t help it.”
El Sabor de la Navidad is available to stream on ViX.