Michelle Rodriguez On Playing Women Who Can Kick Your Ass
Her latest role is as a Tech Sergeant in Battle: Los Angeles. A squad of Marines battling aliens runs into her, so she can explain some of the electromagnetic details that will be important to the plot later. She gave me a hug when we met up again, so that got the interview off to a good start.
Q: You always talk about the masculine and feminine in the same body. Does that have to be either a female body or a male body?
MR: No, that’s the beauty of it. It’s universally human that way.
Q: When did you start thinking about this concept?
MR: When I started researching more esoteric stuff about five years ago. I started diving into alchemy and the history of alchemy and Manly P Hall books, and I kept seeing this recurring theme in mythology. The recurring theme was this embodiment of masculinity and femininity throughout all these gods that were talked about in the esoteric books that I’d read. Being born you have your chromosomes and what not. I just feel like really a human’s journey is really about both factors to be complete as a human. Ultimately I think that’s the goal is just finding the balance. I just think that more people should be exploring that in scripts.
Q: How do you balance it in real life?
MR: You know, I’m still working on that, buddy. Obviously I got some issues because I’m such a tomboy, yeah, eventually I’ll find the right guy and hopefully I’ll be able to explore it more but for now, I’m just researching as much as possible.
Q: You are hot though. Wouldn’t you want to play it up just once as a sultry seductress role?
MR: You know, I’m not so interested in exploring the sexual aspects of myself but definitely I would like to be in something other than what I’ve done for the last 10 years for sure. I’m open to exploring it but I’d need the genius to see behind the veil of masculine butchiness if you will. If a really good director comes up to me and says I want you to embody this, and it’s not anything that you’ve ever done before and I want you to really go to your femininity and dive into your estrogen and bring this out, girl, because I know you’ve got it in you, I will give 150,000% to that director.
Q: Who will carry on the torch you’re passing?
MR: I don't know. At the end of the day, I really do hope that there’s more of an exploitation of Angelina type characters, where there is this embodiment, this balance between the two worlds. I don’t want to perpetuate the idea that in order to be strong, you need to be an alpha male, a physical alpha male. I just feel like that’s a farce and I don’t want to perpetuate that. But then there are women who really enjoy being tomboys and it is within their nature to just naturally be this way and they enjoy it. If that’s your path, then that’s great. I just don’t want to perpetuate the idea that in order to be strong, you need to be like a man because that’s not true. That’s the biggest lie on the planet, you know. My whole thing is if that’s the torch I’m passing, I’m not so sure if I’d like to pass it.
Q: For Battle: Los Angeles, did you ever bring up the possibility of addressing real issues women in the military might face?
MR: We tried to do that. The original script attacked that, like gnarly, and we took it all out because I feel like the only solution to issues like that is showing the alternative. I’m with Mother Teresa on that. You guys are rallying for peace, you’r fighting against war but it defeats the purpose. Right there, you’re fighting for peace. Well, when you have a celebration of peace you can call Mother Teresa. It’s the same thing with anything. I feel like you need to offer a solution and when you offer the solution that is the best that a human being can do at fixing a problem. Addressing a problem, you’re adding more fire to the flame, honey. I feel the same way about everything, like protesting. Create the solution. But it’s awesome. Everything has its role. If it weren’t for protesters, people wouldn’t know there are issues so everything’s got a place in the world. I’m just not so sure if I want a part of everything.
Q: You’re the only female officer in the movie, and the only other female character is a civilian. You seem to fit in with the guys, but do men have more problems fitting in with female casts?
MR: Depends. Depends on his charm factor. Ultimately that’s anything in life in social situations depends on your charm factor. So it depends on the guy. If he’s a dick, he’s going to have a hard time. If he’s a nice guy and he’s charming, he’s going to have it easy being surrounded by women. As a matter of fact, he’d probably find it incredibly easy.
Q: In Fast & Furious, did you ever think Letty was the mastermind and faking her death to set Dom up?
MR: Oh my God. There’s no body, man. That’s all I gotta say. There’s no body, so.
Q: I thought that had to be the twist. Not that I wanted you to be a villain, but at least you’d still be in the game.
MR: I don't know where that’s going to go. We’ll see. I guess it also depends how this one does and I think it’s going to do incredibly well because there aren’t a lot of people like Vin Diesel and Dwayne. Just to see those two go at it, I’d pay the ticket just to see them go at it.
Q: In real life, are you into boxing, cars and surfing, like the movies you’ve gotten to do?
MR: I’m into cars. I love jumping out of planes, haven’t done that in movies. I love adrenaline. I do. It’s nice but I don’t race. I don’t race anymore. I used to, got too many tickets. Now I’m like one point away from losing my license. I’m like nah, maybe I should chill out, buy a Prius, give up the Beamer. I miss it. I miss racing. I think it’s fun. Going to the track is awesome. I think I might go to Arizona and just take a course just for the hell of it. That stuff is fun. I like shooting. I like going to the range and shooting. I’m an awful shot. Anybody can beat me in the gun range but I can unload a cli faster than anybody.
Battle: Los Angeles invades theaters Friday.