Grown Ups - Salma Hayek
Roxanne Chase-Feder (Salma Hayek) © Columbia Pictures

There’s something unusual in Adam Sandler’s new comedy Grown Ups – Salma Hayek! The actress known for her dramatic work in such movies as Frida, Once Upon a Time in Mexico and Desperado is cast as Sandler’s wife, Roxanne, a glamorous fashion designer who is in for a shock when her husband takes her and their children to a lake house for a vacation with a few of his best friends.

Hayek spoke with us about the movie, and why she chose to use her married name for the first time in the credits.

What was it like working with all these comedians?

It was great that I got this movie because I love comedy and I loved working with everyone in the film and it doesn’t get better than this. I’ve always wanted to do comedy and I’m glad this was my first big comedy.

It was intimidating at the beginning. I was thinking, ‘Oh, they’re all used to stand-up comedy, and they’re making up all these jokes.’ But everybody was so nice – no one had an attitude. I just relaxed, and soon, I came up with little things – not even jokes at the beginning, just little actions – and they were so supportive. I was so excited – they were laughing at my stuff!

What was Adam Sandler like to work with?

Roxanne (Salma Hayek) and Lenny Feder (Adam Sandler) © Columbia Pictures

Adam is incredibly generous. Adam never says, ‘Oh, this is the best joke, I’m going to say it.’’ He gives the joke to the best character to say it. He also figures out who hasn’t had funny thing in the previous scene – he looks after everyone.

This is first movie we’ve seen you credited with Pinot as your last name. Why did you decide to do that and is it true that your daughter suggested it?

At the beginning of the film, she was very little and I was sitting there and my chair said Salma Hayek and she said, ‘What does it say there?’ I said ‘Salma Hayek’ and she said, ‘Where is Pinot?’ Her last name is Pinot, and in France my husband is much more famous than me so everyone calls me Madame Pinot, so she’s used to it and I realize that she felt left out. I also have two children that I inherited from this marriage and in a way it helps bring the family together.

How did she react when she learned your credit was Pinot in this movie?

Oh, she thinks it’s the least I can do, trust me. (she laughs)

How does being a parent in real life contribute to finding the comedy of being a parent in the movie?

Sally (Maria Bello), Roxanne (Salma Hayek), Lenny (Adam Sandler), Eric (Kevin James), Deanne (Maya Rudolph), Marcus (David Spade), and Rob (Rob Schneider) © Columbia Pictures

I love this film because I think the audience is going to be able to add themselves to our experience, to bond with us. Being a parent is one of the most common shared experiences on something that is so important. Every single character in this movie really cares about their family and they are so different. I think the audience is really going to identify with everyone.

Adam has done a large variety of films, but I think that women are going to love this one because they are going to identify with us, our conflicts in our marriages and our relationships with our children.

This movie gets kids outside to connect with nature. Is there anything you do as a parent to get your kids to connect with nature?

Getting outside, Rob (Rob Schneider), Curly (Harlan), Donna (Ada-Nicole Sanger), Bridget (Ashley Loren), Lenny (Adam Sandler) carrying his daughter Becky (Alexys Nicole Sanger), Charlotte (China Anne McClain), Eric (Kevin James), Keithie (Cameron Boyce), Sally (Maria Bello), Amber (Jamie Chung), Marcus (David Spade), Deanne (Maya Rudolph), Kurt (Chris Rock), Jasmine (Madison Riley), Gloria (Joyce Van Patten), Mama Ronzoni (Ebony Jo Ann) come out of the house to go on a hayride © Columbia Pictures

I’m a country girl. I have to be in nature, so my daughter is exposed a lot to it. I have a ranch which is my favorite place in the world and even in Paris, every weekend, we go to the country house.

We read a lot about your marriage and now a child and that you focus on that. So, why did you say ‘yes’ to this movie?

I said ‘yes’ to this movie at the beginning just because I’m an Adam Sandler fan and I really liked the (the script). And, of course, now, the main focus of my life is my family and it does change things and the choices you make.

You want to do movies that your children can watch and, also, that your children can have fun with and enjoy the experience of shooting it. It doesn’t get better than this movie for that. I love the movie. I’m proud of it and I can’t wait for Valentina to see it.

So no movies like Frida in your future because you’re a mother now?

No, no, no. I didn’t address that part of your question. I have a movie with a director called Emir Kusturica (called Wild Roses, Tender Roses about Pancho Villa co-starring Johnny Depp) who is one of my favorite directors that we’re going to be shooting next year. It’s an amazing character and that’s like a dream job as an actress.

We’re talking about doing something with Kevin (James) that I’m very excited about. It’s an action comedy. So, there’s going to be a little bit of everything in my career in the future.

Aren’t you doing the voice of Kitty, the love interest in the Puss N’ Boots film? Have you started working on that?

Yes, we’ve been working on that. This is the fifth film we’re going to do together, Antonio and I.

What is Kitty like? And have you recorded with Antonio?

She’s amazing and I’m so excited because my daughter gets to see me in an animated movie. Most of my recording (sessions) were in Paris. It’s the dream job because I can just record anywhere in the world, but I’ve been able to hear his voice when I respond and I’m so excited to do this project.

Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter. More by Judy Sloane