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In 1991, the ambitious Hayek moved to Los Angeles, determined to improve her English and become a Hollywood actress. After small gigs, she landed a role opposite Antonio Banderas in 1995’s Desperado. The success of the film garnered her work in relatively lackluster movies, including the teen thriller The Faculty, 1999’s Wild Wild West and 1997’s Fools Rush In. Subsequently, Hayek became engaged with smaller, independent pictures and started her own production company, Ventanarosa.
Hayek’s increasingly intellectual and passionate approach to filmmaking culminated in her dream role in 2002’s Frida, in which she both produced and starred. The film was nominated for six Academy Awards, including a Best Actress nomination for Hayek, who was the first Latin actress to be nominated in the category.
Large-scale projects followed the success of Frida, including directing 2002’s The Maldonado Miracle, starring in the final episode of the Desperado trilogy, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, and appearing in the heist thriller "After The Sunset" with Pierce Brosnan.