Left a little disappointed by a certain all-star ’80s throwback released in recent weeks? Feel like someone ripped off the band-aid too fast there? Were you expecting something better-written, better-shot, funnier, and predominantly, a film that made good use of it’s ensemble cast? Don’t fret kids! Hollywood’s got a brilliant runner-up prize coming out to you -it’s called “Machete”, and it’s an all-star (Robert De Niro, Jessica Alba, Steven Seagal, Lindsay Lohan) action fest that action and biffo boffins will definitely not find, er, expendable. Michelle Rodriguez, known for her performances in “Fast and the Furious”, “Avatar” and TVs “Lost”, plays the eye-patch adorned warrior Luz, a saucy taco slinger. Ashley Hillard finds out just how spicy this “Machete” of hers is.
I loved the film, Michelle. I saw it yesterday.
Oh I did, too! I couldn’t make the morning screening, but saw it last night.
I thought it was great!
The violence is so over-the-top but that’s what works about it!
Yes! Well, I was kind of cringing at certain points in the movie. I was maneuvering myself around the seat in every which way. But it was just so great.
So how did you come to be involved in “Machete”?
It was actually a fluke. I was in Louisiana working on another film at the same time – Battle Los Angeles. So I ended up having to do two films at once.
So you’d be a well-trained action hero by now!
Well before I even started shooting Battle Los Angeles, they had me training with the marines for two weeks. I had been doing like one-hundred and fifty sit-ups a day.
Now that’s gonna get you fit pretty damn quick!
Yeah. I’ve always been pretty toned, but not that toned!
Well you’re still looking pretty resplendently toned – you’ve managed to keep it!
Well, I just don’t eat if I’m not using the energy [Laughs]
“Machete” is quite a timely movie, considering the issues with immigration at the moment. What are you feelings on all that?
I understand completely both sides. I understand that one side is all about progress and a specific notch that has been set forth in the economy and one that is also incredibly vulnerable at the moment. And what I mean by the progress movement forward is that a standard has been set, where minimum wage is minimum wage, and ten dollars an hour is ten dollars an hour, and we’ve gotten use to a specific lifestyle that we’ve fought really hard to get to. We’ve got to the point where we’ve gotten a right to live – and not live to work. And that right will dwindle if cheap labor keeps coming in from left field….uncontrolled. I completely understand that. But on the other hand, there is a humane way to go about things. I think they should just keep looking for the answer. We had our civil rights movement and things got solved. Eventually things do get solved – and that’s what I love about America. I’m all about it. I don’t blame my mother from wanting to come here – and she did…
… where did your mother hail from?
The Dominican Republic. And you know what? We paid everything back that we took. We were helped by the government when we got here – or rather my mother was, because I wasn’t born yet; I was born here in America – but at the end of the day we paid all that back in taxes. It’s like ‘thanks for the help! But now you’re sucking the life out of me with your frickin’ taxes!’ But no, I’m joking, I love this country.
We all do. How was it working with dual directors on the film?
[Robert and Ethan] are awesome, man, they’re awesome! Rodriguez I’ve always admired because he can do anything. He brings everything to life with the aesthetics and how he shoots something.
Seems you one of the few actresses in the movie to keep your top on too!
Yeah, that was one of my first conditions before we even started ‘I’m not taking this off’. And ‘if then you’re still interested Robert, you can pay me’ – I’m joking [Laughs]. But I understand why some did. I think it’s that some people have that Cleopatra appeal, some people have that Warrior appeal, and some people have the mother appeal – whatever your power is as a woman, go for it! Run with it!
And you, of course, have the warrior appeal in the film. How did you handle all the weapons?
That was great. You know what was amazing to me? Finally not having a frickin’ cop outfit. I’m so tired of these butchy polyester outfits. It seems every time I do something I’m wearing some government outfit – it’s so annoying. With the exception of Fast and the Furious, I’m always in uniform. I’m always like ‘Can I just get rid of this butch outfit and be hot for once!?’ Thank you Robert! I got some mojo this time – I get to go out there in the world and get lucky! [Laughs]
But you’re back in a uniform for your next film, ‘’Battle Los Angeles”.
Yeah, and that’s great. It’s coming out early next year. I’m not sure exactly what the release date is on that. And right now I’m writing…
Yeah, I’m writing a remake of The Bandits, which is about four girls who break out of jail and get chased across the country by the feds and by this MTV-like representative. It’s an old German film. I’m writing it pro-Bono, so if the producer likes it, he’ll make it.
Would you star in it?
We’ll see. I’d think so. But ya know, I got into this business to write – not to act. But as an incentive for people to read my shit, I have to agree to be in the film. I’m starting a whole new career so I’m like a kid in a candy store.
So you’d give up being an actress to be a writer?
Oh, in a heartbeat – are you kidding me!? I enjoy acting, but I’d really like to pursue this.
Speaking of writing, did you watch the “Lost” season finale? And if so, what did you think?
I was a disappointed. I mean, they were all in purgatory? come on! Couldn’t we go a little futuristic with this? Even metaphysical? But I get it, I get it… and it was an amazing six-year run, and it’s forced so many other people to think outside of the box in other dimensions. And all those questions that people were asking themselves made the journey a worthwhile one.
Thanks for taking the time out to talk to us today…are you disappointed to be hear stumping a movie while your former “Fast and the Furious” co-stars are off in Brazil making a fourth sequel?
I don’t ever fight for what doesn’t belong to me. If that’s what their decision is, to leave me out of it, then that’s their decision… but we will see. If they decide to include me, then that’s their decision too.
There’s always an ”Avatar” sequel!?
That’s the whole thing, I dunno… but I wish! Maybe Pandora sucked my soul in and the god will bring me back? Reincarnate me?
Maybe you’ll be in blue!
Dude, I’d love to have an Avatar! I had a fan actually tweet me a picture of me as an Avatar which I thought was cool!
Was it accurate?
Yeah, it was awesome, and that’s why I’m thinking he might have gotten it from the crew because it was way too good to be done on one of those internet programs…
Yeah, no this was really good!
Michelle, I genuinely loved “Machete” and I really enjoy your work.
Oh thank you. You are wonderful. It’s been my pleasure to chat to you! Thank you for the support.