'The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard' Director on Why He Chose to Make Salma Hayek the Sequel's Lead (Exclusive)

Patrick Hughes, the director of both The Hitman's Bodyguard and The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard (out in theaters today), has a project on his hands that's something to be proud of. With an A-list lineup of stars running the show from Salma Hayek, to Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson and Morgan Freeman, it's hard not to have a winning film with a cast like that. During an interview with PopCulture, Hughes gave a heartfelt interview on why he chose to make Hayek the lead of this film and also joked that he enjoyed making Reynolds the punching bag of several scenes.

"To me it was just an organic process," he said when asked why he chose to make the 54-year-old the lead. "I mean it just felt like, you know the first film had set up this dynamic relationship between Sam and Ryan, and Sam was like this, overbearing, sort of disgruntled father figure, and Ryan was like a man-child in need of validation issues. And then, you know that had a family dynamic in its own right, and then to me, it was, well let's get Salma out of prison, let's put her on the road trip, that's not only gonna make Ryan suffer more, 'cause if he's gotta try and survive a trip with Sam Jackson, it's like, well now you gotta survive it with Sam and Salma."

"And then it sort of completed that image of the mother, the father and the child, and it's a strange family but it makes for some sort of outlandish crazy action and comedy," he continued. Hayek told PopCulture she felt like it was "devine justice" to be asked to not only return but be the lead as she sat next to two of the most beloved and well-known actors in Hollywood. "I was so excited; I was so excited. If it was going to happen in any of them, this was the one, because I love the guys; I love Sam and Ryan," she gushed.

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The sequel follows Hayek (Sonia Kincaid), Jackson (Darius Kincaid) and Reynolds (Michael Bryce) as they navigate new territory together unexpectedly, while also trying to survive. Reynolds' character got pretty beat up this second go-around, and while Hayek admits it hurt her a little bit to have to slap him across the face so many times, Hughes was thrilled to make his friend the punching bag revealing his thought and joking, "What's the worst possible scenario I can put this character in."