The HItman's Bodyguard

Samuel L Jackson and Salma Hayek on the action and atypical romance of ‘The Hitman’s Bodyguard’

The action-comedy, also starring Ryan Reynolds, is out now

The Hitman’s Bodyguard is a hilarious new action-comedy about a down-on-his-luck bodyguard (Ryan Reynolds) and a wanted assassin (Samuel L Jackson) who are thrown together and forced into sharing a journey from the UK to Amsterdam. Along the way their budding fr-enmity results in several discussions of their respective relationships and their dark ‘meet-cutes’. NME caught up with the Samuel L Jackson and Salma Hayek to chat about the film – watch the interview above and read it below.

Your characters’ relationship is crucial to the plot – can you explain the backstory?

Samuel L Jackson: “[I’m] the most wanted hitman in the world and they’ve been trying to track me down for a while. Somebody finally figures out the best way to get hold of me is to grab my wife [Salma Hayek] and lock her up. And when they do that I turn myself in so that I can get her. They said [she’d] been in an accident and I came to see about [her] and they got me.”

The meet-cute between your characters is pretty unusual…

Salma Hayek: “I was a waitress in a bar somewhere in Latin America, and Darius  [Jackson’s character] is there doing dangerous business, and somebody decides to get a little cheeky on me and I kick their ass. And he just sits there and watches me.”

SLJ: “And that was the sexiest thing I’d ever seen in my life.”

Did the fight sequence take  a lot of training? 

SH: “It didn’t take any training because I was not gonna do it. They said not to do it because I’ve injured myself a lot in the past and I thought I had learned from my mistakes. Apparently I didn’t, because then on the day I just couldn’t help myself. The ego kicked in and I just had to, like, be one of those people. You know, like, wait a minute I can still do this. You know? ‘Still’ – operative word. And so I did it and I injured myself again afterwards. You know, not too bad, but just… I was very sore. But I didn’t practise before.”

It’s a very funny film. What attracted you to it initially when you got the script?

SLJ: “I was attracted to the fact that in the middle of this action movie there was all this great dialogue about relationships. That you got these two very dangerous people talking about male-female relationships and how they work, and how they don’t work, and what this guy who’s supposed to be so smart and so perfect does not know about how to make his life work. And me, the most dangerous person in the world, having this super soft spot and having all this knowledge about why men love women and why women love men, and what you can do wrong or right to make that happen in the midst of all these giant set pieces with bullets flying.

“And the dialogue is very funny.”

SH: “I actually thought it was so clever and unique because it’s an action film, it’s a romantic film, but I think the romance is really gonna work for men, because it’s crazy romance. It’s also about the relationship between these two men – it’s actually super interesting. They are so different from each other and they hate each other, and they complement each other in a fantastic way.

“It’s also about our relationship and I think it’s a kind of romance that men of all ages are going to love to watch and hear about and see the madness of it. And also women of all ages are gonna love to watch! So I thought it was really clever. The dialogue is great, the characters are amazing.”

Do you see a sequel in the works?

SH: “I do, I’m gonna be bold. Because when I watched it I was disappointed when it was over because I wanted to see more of them, that’s it.”

SLJ: “Yeah, we wanna see them together.”


The Hitman’s Bodyguard is in cinemas now