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Actor John Leguizamo once revealed that he was once set to star in a huge film with John Travolta. But after Salma Hayek was cast, Leguizamo was quickly axed from the movie.

John Leguizamo once revealed he stayed out of the sun so he could work in the film industry

John Leguizamo smirking while wearing a grey suit.
John Leguizamo | Walter McBride/Getty Images

Going into Hollywood, Leguizamo knew that minorities could sometimes have a disadvantage when it came to securing certain roles. Because of this, he believed that his lighter skin tone helped him land steady work in the film industry. To maintain this success, the Super Mario Bros. star would avoid sunlight.

“I stayed out of the sun so I could work,” he once told the Academy. “I definitely would not go in the sun for years. It was a conscious thing because I could work. And all the Latinos that made it so far, a lot of them were all light-skinned.”

Despite advances in the film industry over the years, Leguizamo asserted there was still work to be done to combat colorism.

“What happened to all the Afro-Latinos and the majority of indigenous Latinos? They don’t get a shot, you know. So, there’s a lot of things we got to deal with in Hollywood, and we got to fix, and we got to speak out and we got to speak up,” he added.

Why John Leguizamo couldn’t work with Salma Hayek on the same film

Leguizamo once opened up about how his background has also cost him certain roles despite his efforts. These were issues Leguizamo was facing even after being around the film industry for a while.

“You learn that you have to do three times the hustle and make sure you’re three times better to get the jobs. I mean, it’s a new America, but it’s not. I still deal with all kinds of weird s***. And I talk to my friends and collect stories,” he said in an interview with AV Club.

One incident that came to mind for Leguizamo involved The Eternals star Salma Hayek. Although he was supposed to be a part of an important film project, he lost the role at the last minute once Hayek was on board.

“I was up for this big movie with John Travolta, and then before shooting started, I get this call from the director saying, ‘John, I just can’t have you in this movie. I already have Salma Hayek, and I can’t have two Latin people in the movie.’ And I go, ‘Why?’ And he goes, ‘Well, then everyone would think it was a Latin movie,’” Leguizamo remembered.

But it was a concern that Leguizamo didn’t see the issue with.

“You still can’t convince me why that’s wrong,” he continued. “That’s only a minutia of what I have to deal with in this business. It’s all about the dream in this country.”

Salma Hayek once lost a role because of her Mexican background despite a convincing audition


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Similarly, Hayek also lost roles earlier in her career because of her background. Speaking to Variety, the Desperado actor once recalled a situation where she had the skills necessary for a role. But she was ultimately rejected due to her heritage.

“I remember there were two big comedies I auditioned for the lead. Afterward, the directors told me that I was the best audition and that I was better than who they cast and that they regretted it. But at the time, they knew the studios wouldn’t have gone for a Mexican as the lead,” she said.