Michelle Rodriguez On Why She's Over Action Roles, Played D&D on Quaaludes, and Loves Skins
Michelle Rodriguez can do tough in her sleep, as evidenced in the upcoming alien war pic Battle: Los Angeles and, well, every other role she's ever done. But after building a career out of being Hollywood's go-to action chick, M. Rod's ready for a change of pace. She's penning a script, looking toward comedy, and embracing her inner geek... by taking us back to the good old days, when she used to hang out in basements playing Dungeons & Dragons while rolling on 'ludes.
Speaking candidly while promoting her latest action pic, Battle: Los Angeles (in which she plays -- what else? -- the sole female soldier in a squadron of alien-fighting Marines), Rodriguez first announced that, a decade after breaking out in the boxing flick Girlfight, she's done with the physical action movie roles she's become known for.
"You know what? Ten years later I look back in retrospect like, we need to start looking into some comedy," Rodriguez began. "Because this is just gnarly. If I have to hold another gun or wear another polyester costume, I'm gonna flip out. So I'm definitely looking toward different horizons."
Below, more revelations Movieline learned from the erstwhile action starlet:
Rodriguez admits that the action type she wants to distance herself from was of her own making. "I created that, out of the hatred, the sheer utter annoyance that I find in looking at weak women," Rodriguez explained. "They annoy the hell out of me. When I see a woman cry over a dude or whine over her pessimal existence, I'm like why? You're going to make a movie out of this? Don't you want to embody something that's exaggeratingly awesome? Why would you want to be weak? I guess to inspire people. I mean, I've been inspired by weakness tons of times, and it's a beautiful thing and you feel with people and you cry and it's awesome, but I don't want to do it. There are so many chicks doing it, and they're so good at it. Let them own that."
Whose career would she like to emulate? "Let's just say this: if I admire anybody's career in the game and I say hey, it would be really nice to have a career like that, I would say Sandra Bullock."
If Rodriguez can't find a director who'll take a chance casting her for non-action roles, she'll make it happen herself. "It doesn't take a lot of genius [to cast Rodriguez in an action role]. I prefer to work with the person who can see what's not there. So hopefully that will happen. If not, I will manifest it myself for sure, because I'm definitely tired of holding a gun."
She's currently writing her own script. "I got into this business to write, and right now I'm 50 pages into my first script. That one isn't a comedy, well kinda. It's kind of funny. It's Pulp Fiction-esque. Not as exploitative as Tarantino or Rodriguez's films, but definitely in the vein of exaggerated reality."
But wait! Rodriguez isn't completely done with action just yet. "I think I need to be the lead in one of these things. I think I need to have my own action film, and then I can say, alright I'm done with that. I feel like I've really created something, but I haven't really closed the book on it yet. So I've got to find that one really kick-ass action film that makes me salivate at all the amazing awesome sh*t she does. Then I'll be like, okay. I can close the book on this whole action thing and move on."
And in case you didn't know, Rodriguez is a closet geek. "I am obsessed with Skins. UK a bit moreso than America, but don't tell anybody. I'm obsessed because this generation's intriguing to me -- these kids, who are about 10 years old right now, are part of this generation that's actually going to take this saturation of information and do something about it. But then I see something like Skins, and I'm like, wow, things haven't changed much, have they? Skins to me is just like Kids was in my day. It turns me on to think that there's so much life and discovery out there. It makes me think maybe life isn't so boring and to appreciate it again. There's something about teenagers discovering themselves that's so beautiful to me, whether it's sex, drugs, or rock 'n' roll. And it's so cool that we're open now to different lifestyles, whether it's gay, straight, or third gender. People in city life are more open to different possibilities and I find that exciting. I'm sitting there YouTubing everything going, this is cool!"
Is Skins similar to Rodriguez's own teenage past-life? "In Jersey? Very similar. Excluding those geeky moments of Dungeons & Dragons and Quaaludes and basements. [Laughs] We geeked out in a different way back then, but it was definitely fun. I could see why you wouldn't want to put Dungeons & Dragons in a scene in a movie, it could seem boring from the outside. But if you're in it, it's so awesome."
Look for Rodriguez as Sgt. Elena Santos in Battle: Los Angeles, in theaters March 11, and in the SXSW entry blacktino.