Actress Salma Hayek, just gave birth—to a movie. Her passion project "The Prophet" hits theaters in New York and Los Angeles today (with a wider release planned for August 21). Here, the Mexican-Lebanese mama shares her thoughts on the film, why she made it for children, and her 7-year-old daughter Valentina's reaction.
P: This movie was 4.5 years in the making. How did it all finally come together?
SH: The book is very special to me. I wanted to make a film that was uplifting and it was designed for everybody, including little children, to connect. The first thing: to connect with themselves, instead of distracting you from your own life. I always say that for me it was almost like being pregnant for 4.5 years. And now I give birth to my child.
P: Why is this movie so important for children to see?
SH: It's working on their brain in a way that because they cannot expect what is coming next, [their mind] is open. It's teaching them to think outside of the box. It's breaking what they're used to. It's an exercise for their brain. And my hope and why I wanted to make this film is to support their individuality. Children are already profound thinkers. They are very soulful, and a lot of children don't get fed the kind of stimulation that can go as deep as they are. Even if they don't understand all of the film, it inspires them in a way they are not used to. It respects their intelligence.
P: You say that this movie is for children who want to change the world.
SH: Yes. We have all become consumers and we just follow what other people dictate us to think. We pick a box but we go into a box. We need a new generation that thinks outside of the box and finds solutions that we have not seen or heard. We need the new Ghandi, the new Nelson Mandela, people who think outside of the box. We have so much publicity about "go see this [movie], go see that [movie]." The kids see that message on television and they think, 'Well that's what I'm supposed to see next and this is what my friends are going to see so I have to see it too so I can be part of the group.' It is also good that we don't just take them to see what they are supposed to see because they are telling them this is the new entertainment, but the things that we want them to see.
P: How do you get your daughter to think outside the box?
SH: I always tell her that she can only go be the best person that she can be if she comes outside of comfort. When you are just doing the things that you like and that you're comfortable with you are not evolving which means your spirit and your mind is not growing. Did you know that we only use 3-10 percent of our brain? There are so many things in our brain—maybe we have superpowers. But, we don't know because we don't expand to use different places in our brain. Only when you push yourself and when you wish to be the best person you can be that you can develop super powers.
P: What did Valentina think of the film?
SH: She was very resentful of the film because it took her mama away for so long, but then she saw it she said 'I'm so proud of you. I love the film,' and she wrote a poem and made a drawing when she went home. She is creative!
Ruthie Fierberg is an editorial assistant at Parents. Though she does not have children of her own, she's practically been raising kids since her first babysitting job at age 11. She is also our resident theater aficionado and has interviewed over 40 celeb parents. Follow her on Twitter @RuthiesATrain.
Image: Salma Hayek from Shutterstock/Denis Makarenko