We interview Bliss star Salma Hayek about the film’s themes, her character Isabel, what the story means to her, and much more.
Bliss, out on February 5, is not your average love story. When Greg (Owen Wilson) falls for the mysterious Isabel (Salma Hayek), he soon has to contend with the virtual reality she is convinced is engulfing them.
Hayek spoke to Screen Rant about taking on the role, envisioning her own reality, and happy they spoke up.
Bliss is more than a movie. It’s a little bit of an experience, because you can watch it in so many different ways. You can either believe everything Isabel saying, which leans heavily into sci-fi, or you can see two people struggling with addiction to escape from reality. Can you talk to me about who Isabel is, and what were some of the challenges of bringing her to the screen?
Salma Hayek: Isabel is a scientist that lives in a Bliss world where there are no problems. Everything is perfect and beautiful, but people have lost the ability to appreciate what they have. So, she creates a machine that creates simulations of ugly worlds that have a lot of challenges and conflict, where you can go and experience that. Then you can come back to Bliss, enjoy it and really have an appreciation of it. And not take it for granted. That’s if you go for the sci-fi.
If you go for the addiction, this is where they escape with the drugs. She needs to believe that none of what’s happening to her is real; there must be something better that we need to go to. And this is what she sells to Greg.
What are the complications of playing a character like that? For the director, it was very important that the entire movie worked in both perspectives. For example, I have a scene where I have to break down emotionally, and it could be because I’m needing the drugs because we’ve run out. But the other one is that I think my soul mate is about to leave me for the fake world. I have an emotional breakdown, but she doesn’t think it’s real; these emotions.
How do you become extremely emotional at the same time that you have to play an addiction, and at the same time that you are fighting the emotion, because it’s not real and you don’t want to be dragged to the unreal. It just complicates everything, performance-wise. But it makes it delicious to experiment with it.
One of the things you touched on is the subject of appreciation, and how the sweet is never as sweet without the sour. In that sense, what is Bliss to you?
Salma Hayek: Bliss, to me, is actually a state of mind and a sensation that comes when you are at peace where you are. At the same time, it’s full with joy and wonderment, like in all of where you are. It’s not a place you go; it’s a place you find inside of you where you are. If you think it’s a place that you can go to, it’s always gonna walk away because it’s about perfection. Perfection is in the imperfection.
This story touches on love, forgiveness, science and faith. The film and the characters are extremely layered, but can you talk to me about the collaboration process of working with the director and writer Mike Cahill?
Salma Hayek: He’s amazing. I need five interviews with you to explain what at bliss it was to work with him. He’s very smart; he’s one of those guys that is very technical and does the research.
By the time I got to that lab, I knew how that brain machine works and how the neural networks were connecting everything. At the same time, he’s incredibly creative. It’s a combination of the very square and the round that can go anywhere.
He has a very clear vision of what he wants; of what the movie is. And at the same time, because he has a lot of confidence in his vision, he can set you free completely and be completely open to what you’re gonna do.
- BlissRelease date: Feb 05, 2021
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