Answers with actress Michelle Rodriguez from the ďSummer of SonyĒ International
Press Junket - Cancun, Mexico
Q. I guess you
canít reveal how youíre back in this film but what can you tell us about your
A. Letís just say
that when technology starts to mess around with Godís creation a lot of crazy
things can happen. And that pretty much also sums up the entire franchise. [Laughs]
Q. Is it possible
to be a kick-ass action chick and still be feminine?
Have you ever heard about the contradictions between the Marines and the Air
Force? The guys in the Marines always look at the guys in the Air Force like
theyíre pussies. Itís because when theyíre in battle, especially the special ops
guys, they can hurt people with their bare hands and they have to grit it out in
the sun and live hard core. Meanwhile, the Air Force guys are in air
conditioning and they get called up and they sit in a chair, buckle up, fly out,
press a couple buttons and fly back home. To the grunts, itís like, youíre a
pussy. If you ever had to face what I face youíd get your ass kicked. Itís the
same battle between women and men. Itís the battle between the physicality and
the mind. I feel women are internal. Weíre internalized creatures. We have a
different kind of power. I feel like that power has never really been exploited
as much as our sex or ďLetís turn her into a dude and make her battle if sheís
going to be strong.Ē Itís not necessarily that way. Sometimes you can win at a
game of chess and be slicker. I think that today is opening up a whole new world
for Hollywood where we can reinvent ourselves very easily. The macho man is
dying. Heís being killed by the tech-y geek, the wimpy looking Spider-Man guy or
the guy from Wanted who can shoot a gun from the side but canít literally
come up and kick your ass. The Sylvester Stallones and the Arnold
Schwarzeneggers are gone. Now thereís room for a girl to play because these new
guys and these new heroes donít really have to save anybody. Theyíre existing in
a different way. It leaves it open for all different types of powerful women. I
feel like I want to explore that more. When I say, ďI want to get into my
femininity,Ē I donít mean be a prissy broad whoís wearing lipstick and trying to
woo some guy while sheís spying or trying to kill somebody in their sleep. Iím
talking about a creature that is intelligent, beautiful and slick. Just be
slick. You donít have to be this tomboy girl holding twenty-five machine guns
with your cargo pants on. Iíd like to put that away.
Q. What is Milla
and Paulís relationship like on set?
A. Theyíre the
bomb together. Itís freaking awesome. I love watching them. Itís interesting
because my first experience working on Resident Evil was my first
experience in Europe, so I remember everything. I remember how they both got
together. It was awesome. She loves to work. He loves to work. I think thatís
their true bond. They really love what they do. They genuinely enjoy coming up
with cool imaginary stories and how the characters interact and they love
brainstorming about this stuff. Theyíll do it on set all day. Itís great and
itís cool. Theyíre like two little kids giggling about it. Theyíre talking about
the guts of some zombie flying over this character. Itís crazy but I love it.
They have a great dynamic.
Q. What was it
like when they got together on the first Resident Evil?
A. I donít think
they want me to talk about that but letís just say it was really interesting
because the dynamic at first was like this wild thunderstorm of Milla coming
over this calm, passive, innocent child and tainting him. [Laughs] And it
was great. It was awesome. Just seeing him with messed up hair. It was like,
what just happened to him? Cleopatra got to you!
Q. Are you into
A. Iím a geek but
Iím not into geeks. Iím the geeky one.
Q. Did you keep up
with the series since part one? Or, once cast, did you catch up with them on
Blu-ray or DVD?
A. I tried to
catch up to speed once I got back on. And boy, has a lot happened since the
first one. I liked the ďJillĒ character and Boris Kodjoe and Johann Urbís
characters. Itís pretty damn insane. Paulís taken it everywhere. What I love
about is itís transformed from sci-fi into this action series. Itís an action
film now. Even the Vegas desert stuff. Itís an action film. I felt like I was in
a wild, wild, west movie that just happened to have zombies in it. I like the
way heís flip-flopped it. Heís gone back and forth and heís gotten to a place
where you get a different quality of sci-fi filmmaking. I think itís kind of
cool. It keeps me interested, thatís for sure. Out of all of the ones I saw, I
liked this one the most because I have this MTV a.d.d. thing where I can only
watch so much of people dying and panting and stuff like that. I need to be
stimulated by different backgrounds. What I love about this is, Iím in China one
minute, Iím in Racoon City the next, New York the next, Moscow the next. Iím
like, woah, what the hell is this? And the backdrops change like that. Next
thing you know, Iím on a glacier. Iím like, ďHoly shit.Ē Itís great and, as a
3-D experience, itís a ride.
Q. You worked with
James Cameron, the master of 3-D, on Avatar. How different was this
A. I wonít talk
about how theyíre different because youíre talking about a whole different level
of filmmaking when youíre talking about that because youíre talking about three
years of CGI work compared to something that is done in three months and that
will take another three months to complete. Youíre talking about a different
scale. But I will tell you what is the same: the sets are so elaborate. I was
human in Avatar, so I worked on all the sets. I was in my helicopter
cockpit and the only place I saw green screen was on the windows outside of my
chopper. Before I took off, I was on grass planes with these protrusions coming
out of the ground that were these weird plants from some alien universe and
there were, like, robot men standing next to me and platforms full of missiles
and stuff. I was on elaborate sets. It was cool. Here, itís the same thing. Iím
working in Toronto and Iím on these elaborate sets. Iím in the suburbs,
surrounded by all these houses that look the same, like Stepford Wives.
The next thing you know, there are freaking zombies running all over the place
and exploding cars all around me. Iím sitting there in my Prius like, ďWhat the
hell is going on?Ē Then youíre in Moscow and youíre in this crazy tunnel with
submarines in it. Itís sick. And all the zombies are dressed up like theyíre
from Moscow. Moscow zombies. Seriously? This is gnarly. Where else do you get
this stuff? Then we were doing some Tokyo stuff. Then everybodyís Asian and Iím
like, ďWow. This is cool! Iíve got Asian zombies flying at me.Ē I mean, come on.
The stimulation, the environment. CGI is the pepper on top of the entire
creation and I like that because who wants to be that six-year-old who has to
imagine all of these elaborate things? As an actor, you prefer to have the
environment already set for you so it becomes flawlessly easy to embody the
character. It was so easy for me to become ďRain.Ē Look at what Iím surrounded
Q. Is it true
youíve written some screenplays?
A. Iím writing
right now. Iím one picky broad. Oneís about a secret society of women thatís
been around since the Renaissance era and their main initiative is protecting
the global green initiative and theyíre really rich and powerful right now and I
love it. Working on that is amazing because I get to take todayís politics and
put them into the movie. The other flick that Iím working on is a kidís movie.
Itís kind of like The Goonies meets The Neverending Story but itís
about animals and the preservation of animals in a day and age where we donít
care about them as much.
Q. Are you
environmentally conscious in your own life?
A. I try to be. I
recycle at home. I do what I can. When I get my own house, Iím definitely going
to make sure itís self-sufficient and itís got solar panels all over. But itís a
tough road. I feel I need to use the gifts that Iíve been given to inspire. My
whole plan is to keep incredibly aware of all the technology that exists and
whoís focusing on it. Right now, Abu Dhabi is focusing on desert tech. Theyíre
one of the biggest investors in desert tech. Thatís like a trillion dollar fund.
Theyíre trying to take Northern Africa off the grid and parts of Asia and India.
Thatís inspirational. I love that shit. Theyíre also building their own
communities that are self-sufficient. Thatís what I think the future is and
thatís what Iím going to focus all my technological research on and Iíll put all
of that into my writing as best I can because thatís all I can do. This is what
I know how to do so I need to do my part this way. Iím not going to go stand
there with a picket sign hoping to get something done. I just want to try and
inspire people with some good projects.
Q. With the
passage of time, how do you measure the experience of working on the TV show
A. It was amazing.
It was a really great experience. I enjoyed working on it. What was so fresh and
new about that was the idea that you can strip away everything that weíve become
so comfortable with. What happens to a man or a woman when theyíre stripped back
to nature? That was the appeal of it for me. How do you survive in the middle of
nowhere with nothing that youíre used to, especially in a day and age when we
went from rotary phones to beepers to cell phones to what we know now as social
networking? Imagine living without your iPad. Take away the toothbrush. Take
away the meat. The Starbucks. All that. I think that intrigued a lot of people.
Then, all of a sudden, it got into some supernatural stuff that I never get. But
thatís what attracted me about it.
Q. Do you believe
that all buildings in the future can be self-sufficient?
A. I donít believe
it. I know it. Itís a matter of whoís going to actually decide that this is the
new infrastructure. Itís all dinosaurs who are like, ďI donít want to invest in
a transition. Itís too much money. Iíd rather make as much as I possibly can off
fossil fuels or gas that pollutes water.Ē Like, fracking is clean energy? Iíve
seen people turn on their faucets and light it up. This is clean energy? I
freaking hate you guys. But Iím not going to stand there and picket. Iíd rather
make a cool, awesome action movie about it.
Q. Are you going
to appear in the Machete sequel?
Kills! Maybe more yes than no. If I am doing it, Iím flying out to Texas
soon to do it. In the Spring. If I am doing it. [Laughs]
Q. What is special
about doing franchise movies like the Fast & Furious films?
A. Whatís special
is the economy and the lack of creativity. [Laughs] And I think maybe a
little bit of people scared to lose their jobs. Taking chances has a lot to do
with it. Weíre in a place where you have to keep studios alive and whatís better
than whatís already proven to work? Itís either that or taking something that
has twenty years worth of free advertising like a comic book or a video game and
trying to transition that but, like I said, thatís a catch-22, too, because if
you donít respect where it came from, itíll be a flop. I guarantee you all that
shit from the eighties, youíre going to be seeing more and more of it in movie