Salma Hayek Details Slapping Ryan Reynolds Ahead of 'The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard' Premiere (Exclusive)

Salma Hayek leads the sequel to The Hitman's Bodyguard as Sonia Kincaid and says it's like "divine justice" that she was brought back to star alongside Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson. The Hitman's Bodyguard was released in 2017, and the actress played a smaller role, however, she's such a beloved fan-favorite, director Patrick Hughes said it was a no-brainer to have her be the new lead in the new movie, titled The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard. In an interview with PopCulture.com, Hayek gushed over her cast members and admitted that she had to hit Reynolds more times than she'd prefer to make some of her scenes come alive.

"It's like divine justice," the 54-year-old said of her lead role. "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." The film shows the hilarious dynamic between Reynolds (Michael Bryce), Jackson (Darius Kincaid) and Hayek (Sonia) as they navigate their mission following the first film. The actors give just enough action to create a big enough thrill, but just enough comical relief so that viewers aren't holding their breath the entire time.

Hayek's character is a feisty woman who knows how to kick butt but is also all over the place — mentally and emotionally. During a few scenes, she had to hit Reynolds a couple of times and admits that while it was a difficult thing for her to do because she's fully aware that it hurt his face more than once, she didn't fail to mention that her hand felt the pain as well. "I slapped him a couple of times," she said. "That was really hard. I did feel very bad because they told me, 'You can hit him anywhere except the glasses,' and I hit exactly the glasses! And I knew that hurt, but it hurt me too by the way."

Obviously, all three actors are incredibly skilled talents, but part of what made their scenes so realistic is the fact that there was a lot of improvisation. Hayek stressed that Hughes would encourage her and Jackson to just improvise the whole time, and she jokingly reacted by saying, "Again?" but notes that she's a huge fan of that. "I love it. I love it. And when you get to do it with the masters? [...] It was kind of magical." She highlighted a few scenes from the film that were completely improvised and couldn't say enough good things about her co-stars. The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard is out in theaters on June 16, 2021.