The Mexican actress Salma Hayek Pinault, who along with the Canadian Annie Murphy stars in the first of the five self-conclusive episodes of the sixth season of the dystopian and science fiction anthology series “Black Mirror”, assured that she is “angry” that many of technological advances aim to solve the “need to escape from oneself”, and that this makes humanity “easily manipulated”.
“We would have to try to better control technology and try to get into ourselves, take control and be aware,” said the Oscar-nominated performer for “Frida” (2002) in an exclusive chat with Télam.
In “Joan is horrible”, the chapter that leads the new batch of uncomfortable and disturbing stories of “Black Mirror”, now available on Netflix four years after its predecessor, Hayek had the opportunity to play a version of herself that She allowed herself to laugh at the stereotype of the “sexy Latina” that a good part of her career has given her.
“An ordinary woman discovers that a global streaming platform has launched a prestigious series about her life and is starring Hollywood star Salma Hayek”, details the synopsis of the episode, to which too much information cannot be added without revealing plot twists. or plot details that ruin the experience for audiences.
With a theme that touches, among other aspects, issues such as the ownership and use of personal data or artificial intelligence, and even a funny metanarrative reference that even alludes to Netflix itself in the entertainment scene, “Joan is horrible” is inserted in a season that seems to have recovered the pulse -at some point lost- of “Black Mirror”. That imprint that made the series a disruptive proposal, visually attractive and interesting in its reflections, and its creator, Charlie Brooker, a proper name in the big leagues of the streaming era.
In conversation with this agency, Hayek recalled how she was “conflicted” by a particular scene in the episode, which takes place in a church, to the point that she believed she could not do it.
“I think we had very different experiences,” said Annie Murphy, an actress who won numerous awards as part of the comedy series “Schitt’s Creek”: “When I read it in the script I thought ‘let me do it, this is ridiculous and wild , and I can’t wait for the moment to come’, but Salma had it more difficult”, he recalled, with great ability to dribble “spoilers”.
“Yes, I was delighted that Charlie had written a script with me in mind,” Hayek contributed, “I would read it and laugh, and when we got to that scene my jaw dropped. My agents told me ‘but if it’s something super ridiculous, it’s a parody’ and I said ‘I don’t know if I have the courage’. Even when we were filming her she was nervous, she didn’t want to be taken up close.”
With his classic look as dark as satirical, which starts from the theme of technology and its uses to comment on various problems of contemporary society, the new installment brings a selection of figures such as Hayek and Murphy, but also Michael Cera, Aaron Paul, Kate Mara, Ben Barnes, Himesh Patel, Josh Hartnett or Zazie Beetz, among others.
Q: What did you think when you were called to participate in Black Mirror? Were you fans of the series?
Annie Murphy: I was a very, very, very fan, it was very strong when they called me, bigger when I read the script, and even more so when I found out that I was going to work with Salma.
Salma Hayek: That it was who was going to incarnate you! (laughs)
AM: Yes, exactly! So I’m still in shock.
SH: I didn’t watch “Black Mirror” because I get scared very easily, I don’t like to see scary things. I had the image that the program was scary, although I did understand that Charlie Brooker, the creator, is a genius, because I saw one. And when they told me that he had written an episode where I would play Salma Hayek he scared me, I said “what am I going to do? Will it be something terrible? Am I going to kill people?” And when I read it, it was very refreshing because I was dying of laughter and I never imagined that “Black Mirror” was doing comedy, and this is a black comedy but with a super interesting tone.
Q: You mentioned to the press a few days ago that you had taken this role as a great opportunity to explore the way in which you are often represented, the clichés, the ideas that people have about you as a public figure.
SH: It’s a way to laugh at yourself and it gives you a lot of freedom to exaggerate yourself and not care. Having a character do things that maybe you don’t and you can’t even think about because you’d be ashamed of yourself. Being able to have the freedom to go there and be a terrible person and laugh about it too is a once in a lifetime opportunity if you’re lucky.
Q: One theme that “Joan is horrible” touches on in particular is this fear of how much our apps and our devices know about us, how much information we unknowingly give them.
SH: And how they spy on us! It is not that we give them, but that they spy on us.
Q: Is it a fear with which you feel identified?
AM: Hundred percent; Sometimes I feel crazy about conspiracy theories, I think “our phones listen to us, everyone listens to us”, but I think that indeed our phones are listening to us.
The gigantic and super fast advances that there are now with artificial intelligence is something that terrifies me a lot, because we do not know what we are doing. It’s scary to be playing with something so powerful without knowing for sure what its true capabilities are.
SH: What annoys me is how much intelligence is going into spying on us, recreating ourselves so they don’t need us anymore, and they still haven’t discovered a cure for cancer, and they still haven’t discovered a pill so you don’t get gray hair (laughs). Everything is going towards a technology that solves our need to escape from ourselves and to escape from our lives. And it is because of that part of us that tries to go to the other side that we can be so easily manipulated.
Q: “Black Mirror” returns several years later, after the pandemic. Do you think that after the whole world lived through a dystopian scenario for a couple of years, the series will be received in a different way? That the public has a higher level of understanding of the topics of this program?
AM: I’m very proud of our episode and excited to see the whole season, but my only concern is that after the last few years we’ve had people say “I don’t want this”, that they don’t want to continue living this kind of dystopian society that Charlie Brooker created as a fiction a few years ago but it is becoming more and more a reality.
SH: It’s getting scarier. But, for example, we had a performance with an audience and the reaction was the best I’ve ever had in my life: how they laughed, how they shouted, they were completely involved and they gave us a very long standing ovation, practically like in Cannes, and that we didn’t expect it.