“I really needed to pay the rent”: Salma Hayek Was Forced to Confront Her Greatest Fear by Quentin Tarantino After Director Threatened to Replace Her With Madonna 

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Quentin Tarantino is a director often known for pushing the limits when it comes to guiding his actors. Salma Hayek was no exception when she worked with the director on the sets of the 1996 movie From Dusk Till Dawn.


With Salma Hayek struggling a bit to pay the rent, the opportunity was one that she could not lose. Portraying the role of Santanico Pandemonium in the movie, the actress had to face her worst fear while shooting a scene.

Salma Hayek with a Python in From Dusk Till Dawn.
Salma Hayek with a Python in From Dusk Till Dawn.

When Salma Hayek Had To Dance With A Python

Following the ordeals of contracts and whatnot, the filming of Quentin Tarantino’s From Dusk Till Dawn started. Hayek wasn’t a very well-known actress at that time and was often low on cash when it came to basic household expenses.

Salma Hayek in From Dusk Till Dawn
Salma Hayek in From Dusk Till Dawn.

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Finding her footing in the realm of Hollywood, this was a golden opportunity for Hayek, one that she could not pass up on at all. During a sequence, Tarantino promptly revealed to Salma Hayek that she would have to dance with a snake wrapped around her shoulders. She bluntly said no to the director, since snakes were one of her worst phobias, but Tarantino wasn’t planning on backing down.

In an interview, Hayek stated how Tarantino slyly threatened her that Madonna was also interested in playing the role of Santanico Pandemonium and hinted that she was easily replaceable. Being low on income, the Eternals star had no choice but to brave through the scene.


“Quentin [Tarantino] told me, ‘Oh, by the way, you’re dancing with a snake’. I said, ‘I can’t do that, I can’t do that. It’s my greatest fear’. Frankly, I really needed to pay the rent.”

To get through the ordeal, Salma Hayek stated that she had to literally brainwash herself by thinking positive thoughts about snakes.

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Salma Hayek Had To Brainwash Herself To Overcome Her Phobia

Quentin Tarantino and Salma Hayek
Quentin Tarantino and Salma Hayek

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Since Tarantino is a director who believes in realism, the snake could not be replaced with a prop. As per the interview, The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard actress revealed that she immediately started researching the topics of snakes and how to be less afraid of them.

“In some culture, the snake represented—I started doing research—your inner power. And my whole thing that I brainwashed myself into doing this was about dancing with my own inner power.”

She eventually got through the scene and the 1996 movie went on to become another classic hit from Quentin Tarantino. The movie received a rating of 7.2/10 on IMDB and added one more example of how far Tarantino can go to get that perfect shot.

From Dusk Till Dawn is currently available to stream on Max in the U.S.


Source: E! News


Written by Visarg Acharya

Articles Published: 2190

Visarg Acharya, Associate Content Writer, has been heavily involved in movies, series, and history. Having an experience of 2 years in the field of content writing, Visarg is a seasoned writer. Having a degree in Physics, Visarg Acharya has published a dissertation alongside a plethora of poems and short stories along the way.