The actress says she wanted to play a middle-aged woman in an action film, a genre in which men are typically allowed to age but women are not.

Salma Hayek's Oscar-nominated portrayals are timeless across multiple Hollywood genres, but she wanted to make sure her physical age played a part in her latest big-screen performance.

The 54-year-old told the Chicago Tribune she had reservations about joining costars Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson in the action-oriented role of the latter's wife for The Hitman's Bodyguard in 2017, though Reynold's ultimately worked with her to tailor it to her liking for the first film and its upcoming sequel, The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard.

"For me it was important that we didn't change her age," Hayek told the publication. "In action films, the men are allowed to age, but this is one of the few times where you're seeing a middle age woman as a lead in an action film. It's not a common thing, but I got my way."

Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard
Ryan Reynolds, Salma Hayek, and Samuel L. Jackson in 'The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard'
| Credit: David Appleby/Lionsgate

Hayek didn't elaborate on specific behind-the-scenes changes that might've prompted her decision to insist on maintaining the character's age, and representatives for her and the film's distributor, Lionsgate, did not immediately respond to EW's request for clarification.

Kate Winslet also recently made headlines for insisting that HBO's Mare of Easttown crew allow her character — a gritty, middle-aged detective investigating a grim murder in a small Pennsylvania town — to reflect her true age as much as possible. The 45-year-old even recalled insisting that its director, Craig Zobel, leave unflattering lighting on her face and keep a "bulgy bit of belly" prominently visible in a sex scene.

The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard is out June 16.

Hear more on all of today's must-see picks, plus an underrated LGBTQ movie recommendation from Supergirl star Nicole Maines, in EW's What to Watch podcast, hosted by Gerrad Hall.

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