Sexy seniorita Michelle Rodriguez doesn't hold back in Battle: Los Angeles. Insisting on doing most of her own stunts, she describes her active lifestyle, her attraction to Catwoman, and how she is delving into writing a screenplay and looking forward to having a family one day. Read more to get all the gnarly details!
Emmanuel Itier: What have you seen up there in the sky:
Michelle Rodriguez: Birds and planes, and all kinds of stuff.
EI: No close encounters for you?
MR: I wish.
EI: Your character figures out where they're going to come from and where their headquarters are, and stuff like that. Was it fun to not only kick butt but to be smart at the same time?
MR: It was definitely a lot of work because my character was thrown in last-minute and she was basically the solution to a story issue of not having anybody explain the actual process, explain what the hell is going on with the invasion. So because of the fact that I got thrown in literally like a month before shooting and it was a last-minute kind of deal, there was a lot of training that I had to ask for, and a lot of craziness, as far as researching algorithms and atmospheric interference and electro magnetic frequencies, and how the hell this all comes into play with the invasion. We have som serious monitoring mechanisms worldwide, and America is in the forefront of that.
EI: Big brother is watching?
MR: For sure, and to explain the idea that you'd have an alien invasion and that it wouldn't be detected is gnarly. So in order to even try to play with that world, I had to do a lot of research.
EI: What was the coolest part of working with Aaron Eckhart in this film?
MR: He is the character. I didn't meet Aaron until now, I swear to God. As soon as he signed on and I met him, he was Sergeant Nantz. I didn't really meet Aaron until now, when he was like, "Hi," and I see the difference in the "hi" here than in the four months that I worked with him in Louisiana. I'm like, "This 'hi' is different. You're a different person. Who are you?"
EI: Did you have time for the boot camp at all?
MR: That's where my abs in Machete come from. I just didn't sleep with the boys, literally or metaphorically, because I didn't want to see their hairy balls. But I did travel over to the camp where they were sleeping every morning, and I trained with them. It was 5:00 in the morning to 5:00 in the afternoon. It was gnarly. It was like 110 degrees every day at that time. We'd run for two miles and do sit-ups and push-ups, and take apart guns and put them back together, and then infiltrate buildings and rehearse. It was gnarly.
EI: You have some of the best lines in this movie. One of my favorites was, "I didn't get this far on my good looks," or something...
MR: That's awesome because I made that up. I usually do make up those one liners, which is great. It's fun to be able to play.
EI: It kind of made you a real person...
MR: That's awesome. I appreciate that, really. Thank you.
EI: Do you ever worry about possibly being locked into your kick-ass image?
MR: I don't mind it because I did manifest my own destiny. It's my fault because I don't like weak women and I don't find it interesting to play them. I'm inspired by them when I see them in dramas. For instance, Natalie Portman in almost every movie she's in. It's awesome that chicks can really go there and it's beautiful to watch, but I don't think I'm interested in any way, shape, or form of embodying those creatures. I don't find it intriguing in any way, as far as being in the business and working. It's not my thing. There's something about strength that I really admire that I failed to see a lot of when I was growing up, and I guess I was so adamant in the last ten years of embodying that that I lost sight of the big picture, which is versatility, flexibility.
EI: You're a very physical presence onscreen. Were you interested in sports when you were growing up?
MR: There's actually no regime whatsoever, nothing consistent growing up, but I definitely love feeling myself. I love moving and flexing and jumping and expressing, dancing. Movement. I'm in tune with it. I like to express myself with my body for sure, moreso than intellectually, but I am a geek.
EI: With all the action roles that you've done in the past, is something like this boot camp no problem for you, or is it still a struggle?
MR: Nah. It's no problem for me. I love it.
EI: Your character wasn't really accepted by the gang until she targets an alien. When you go on a set where it's mostly guys, is it sort of like that at all?
MR: Nah. Literally, I'm in the boys' trailers. I'm like the tomboy friend. Everybody has had a tomboy friend growing up, and that's me. They see me and they recognize that, so it's okay.
EI: You've been doing this for ten years now, since Girlfight was in 2000-something...
MR: A whole decade of it.
EI: We saw when you were just a little girl. Do you have a game plan at all for your career?
MR: I'd like to move into comedy, and right now I'm writing. I got into the business to write in the first place, and I just didn't have the balls to do it. Finally, now, I'm like, if I don't get all of these crazy and insane ideas out of my brain, I'm going to become schizophrenic. So it's really all about manifesting that. I am at the Girlfight stage. It's like starting a whole new entire career, and for me, it's very scary and beautiful at the same time. It gives me something to look forward to tomorrow.
EI: What's your attack then? How do you approach this new career?
MR: I'm 50 pages into my first script, and my buddy is going to help me produce it, and it's really just all about feeling it out. If it sucks, it sucks. If it's great, it's great. I'm just following my gut.
EI: And you're not afraid to fall on your face if it doesn't work?
MR: Not at all, come on. I went skydiving yesterday, and when they gave me a nametag, I put "Fearless" on it. And what I mean by "Fearless" isn't fearless--it just means that when I am scared of something, I'm running toward it instead of away from it.
EI: Speaking of that, there were some injuries on this set. There were arms being broken and teeth getting knocked out...
MR: That was awesome, yeah. Crazy. Poor Ramon [Rodriguez].
EI: What did the director say when you wanted to do all of your stunts yourself? Did he discourage that?
MR: Not at all. I think the only real stunt that the stunt double ever had to double me for was the fall off of the garbage truck, and I did a couple of jumps on my own. It's fun. I love action. I love to move my body, and any chance that I have to do that with in my youth, I will definitely jump toward it, for sure.
EI: You better not have a director that tells you to just sit over there...
MR: But at the end of the day, it's really an insurance issue, and I don't blame them for that because that's like a million dollars which, in a real action sequence, is a day. It's gnarly.
EI: As a physical person, I just can't picture you sitting in front of a computer and typing out a script...
MR: Oh my God, you'd have to see me when I hibernate. I'm literally like a little monster in a cave. My roommate, Hannah, she's like, "Michelle, you need to go outside. You need to see the sun." I'm like, "Leave me alone." It's gnarly. I can get gnarly. I can really geek out.
EI: In what ways are you a geek?
MR: Many. You have to come to my house to see. When you look at my books, you'll know where I'm coming from. It's hard to explain.
EI: Being a geek, then, how do you personally feel about alien invasions? Are there aliens? Are they coming?
MR: I think that if aliens did exist, they would exist at a higher frequency, and being at a higher frequency, you would have to, I would say, be more evolved than what we consider evolved. I mean, if there were aliens, I personally believe that they would have to resonate at a higher frequency to be able to time travel or to blink in and out of dimension. Taking that into consideration, I would just assume that a higher frequency, you wouldn't have a human mentality about things. I think humans are stupid that way--we fight and kill each other. I think that's dumb. Aliens, I think, would be smarter than that and wouldn't approach things on that level. But then again, you have lower frequencies, and I'm thinking like demons and werewolves and all of these images throughout history in the last 5,000 years come from some place. If those were considered to be aliens, I would find that really creepy and I would say yeah, definitely that would be the only way I could figure that we would be attacking or be attacked. But if so, then why hasn't it happened in the past? That just baffles the shit out of me. A lower frequency being attracted to a higher frequency, battling out–I don't see why that didn't happen before. And if it did, how come we don't have any remnants of it in history? There are talks about--like in India, during Lemorian times, back in the day--there was some cataclysmic whatever, and you can go there and check it out, that there are still remnants and that you can gage it with a frequency reader. There are parts in Southern India where Lemori was supposed to have been where you find nuclear activity, and we're like, "Well, wait. In our history, we don't have any." But stuff like that I can kind of dive into, but I don't really fathom the idea that being a negative thing for aliens to ever…and if they did, I believe it would be from a higher frequency and it would mean that we've evolved to a place where we can actually see them. Right now, we only see 4% of what exists, and I'm assuming that, out of that 4%, the other 96% is probably some gnarly shit out there that we could be around right now and not know about it because we're too dumb to see it.
EI: Are there any famous characters that you'd like to play?
MR: Catwoman. I love Catwoman. I feel so bad about what's happened to Catwoman throughout the years, since Michelle Pfeiffer's amazing debut, but I love her. She's dope because she's sexy but hot and she's like, "You can come and try, but I might hurt you," and it's just hot. It's very S&M and I love that. I think it's really awesome, but at the same time, I think you should also have a massive appeal to kids with a character like Catwoman. I think, in the past, we've kind of cheated the kids out of that by being too sexual with her.
EI: Do you know what's happening, then, with Anne Hathaway's Catwoman? Have you heard any rumors?
MR: I heard Cher. Did you hear that? Was that a joke?
EI: Julie Newmar wanted to play her again when she was in her 60s...
MR: No way. That's classic. Catwoman's mom.
EI: Did you read Catwoman when you were younger?
MR: Oh yeah, man. I used to read comics, and I used to collect baseball cards and all that good stuff when I was a kid. I used to draw a lot. I liked Catwoman because she had a better outfit than Wonder Woman. I thought Wonder Woman's outfit was kind of corny, and I like black. And I like people who have a dark past. I like the idea of being dark and heroic. It's kind of vigilante, and I find that sexy.
EI: Is there any historical figure that you'd like to play?
MR: I love what women have done or I wouldn't be where I am, but I feel like, for me, where I am mentally, we've got a long fucking way to go before I can really admire the embodiment of a woman's life. I feel like there are a lot of successes and a lot of wins and it's great, but nothing that I'd like to project right now, no.
EI: Are you filming Underground Comedy now?
MR: I was in two minutes of that, and I love comedy. I feel like I wanted to get my feet wet in comedy, and that's what I'm perusing around because of the idea that I've been holding a gun for so long and I'm considered pretty much a butch bitch. I'm 32 now, and that clock is ticking. I don't want to be sour milk and watch my whole life pass away without trying something new. So for me, it's either comedy or action.
EI: Can you talk about what brand of comedy you're writing?
MR: What I'm writing has nothing to do with that. Underground Comedy is actually just a film that came across my desk, and my friend asked me to do a cameo in it, and I thought it would be fun because it's kind of dark and gnarly and incredibly unbelievable, and I was just like, "All right, why not?" Play around.
EI: What are you actually writing then?
MR: What I'm 50 pages into is more along the lines of a Pulp Fiction kind of vibe. Not as exaggerated as a [Quentin] Tarantino or a [Robert] Rodriguez, but definitely in the vein of, like, "Holy shit. Is that real or not?" kind of thing. So realism is definitely what I'm perusing around at the moment.
EI: When you just mentioned biological clock, is that something that's on your radar? Would you like to have a family?
MR: Oh, for sure. I mean, if I don't have a kid next year, I definitely will be freezing my eggs for sure. I definitely plan on having a family. I'm a Cancer. I need home loving. I need to have little kiddies running around.
EI: Did you talk with any females in the military for this role?
MR: My rep, Angelic, is from the Air Force. She's the PR rep over there at Pendleton and she's awesome, really cool. She's pretty much my main female contact over at the Air Force. They're going to give me a ride on one of those fighter jets--the massive fast ones. They're like, "Don't have any plans for the day after, honey. You're going to be so tired from the G-force." I'm like, "Yes!"
EI: Was that in connection with this--a promotional type of thing?
MR: I guess. I met her through the project.
EI: How soon are you going to do this?
MR: Probably next month. It's going to be awesome.
EI: What was the gooey thing on your lip? You said that line in the movie...
MR: You know what? That was freaking KY Jelly. Can you believe that? It was freaking KY Jelly. They put lubricant in my mouth! Jesus. The things we do for movies. Let's just say that it tastes gnarly, like plastic.
Columbia Pictures' 'Battle: Los Angeles' is released on March 11, 2011.