CANNES, France, May 15 (UPI) -- Salma Hayek faced some new challenges while working with Italian director Matteo Garrone on his English-language debut The Tale of Tales. For one, she had to eat a monster's heart.
Playing a 17th century Spanish queen who desires to get pregnant by consuming the heart of a sea dragon, Hayek says the swallowing was the hardest part. When asked how it tasted at a press conference, the actress responded with an animated, "Ree-pul-sive."
"The director wanted the heart to be identical to a real [animal] heart, even inside. All the exact parts," she said at the Cannes Film Festival Friday. "I took a bite, and I thought I would recognize what I was eating. But I did not. There was pasta, candy, all kinds of disgusting things. Thankfully my daughter Valentina was there. The third time I gagged, she said to me: 'if you bite from the front you can turn around and spit it out, and the camera won't see it.'"
The Tale of Tales is a loose adaption of three fantasies from 17th century author Giambattista Basile which come together in a triptych. Also starring John C. Reilly, Haley Carmichael and Bebe Cave, the magical flick leans toward the dark, unsettling, even revolting side of fairytales.
Another one of Hayek's challenges was understanding her director, Matteo Garrone (Gamorrah). "I could never guess what Matteo was going to think: You had to be completely vulnerable and available, both emotionally and physically," she said.
She clarified that it was "definitely worth it," though.
Cinematographer Peter Sushchitzky and composer Alexandre Desplat create a setting filled with mystique in the film, which was shot in Italy.
Hayek continued, "Even though it's a fairy tale and a fable, it doesn't go where fairy tales and fables usually go. It goes to very unique places in a very unique way."
The Tale of Tales debuts at Cannes Film Festival Friday, May 14. Watch the teaser below: