Michelle Rodriguez Talks RESIDENT EVIL and More – Interview by Julide Tanriverdi

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Michelle Rodriguez is nibbling on a piece of cheese. It’s early in the morning in San Diego and she is promoting Resident Evil: Retribution, another installment of the successful movies based on a super violent video game. Michelle is dressed in her usual black pants and shirt. She has this infectious laughter when she talks – which makes her sympathetic as hell. Known for her tough girl and super badass roles, she sat down and explained why it’s unlikely that she will wear a dress in a movie….

What can you tell us about the latest installment of Resident Evil?

Michelle: I can’t tell you anything. It’s one of those you know, dah, dah, dah, dah. {Laughing}.

What scares you the most?

Michelle: The biggest thing that scares me….? The most out of everything that I’m exposed to as a human being? Five people deciding for everyone on the planet, that scares me the most.

Any particular names, are you referring to the President?

Michelle: No, hell! The President – he’s a puppet. I’m talking about…Capitalism rules the world right now because it’s what moves everything. It moves how we eat, how we survive, how we exist on this planet. And let’s say those people ever decided the world by 2040, nine billion, which is the projected amount of people who would be on earth if we keep procreating the way the we are at the current rate. It’s too much and let’s do something to bring that number down because we can’t sustain it on our planet. It’s impossible. So let’s throw a virus out there! Oh shit, we don’t know how to control it. It’s gotten out of hand! And here we are, Resident Evil plot!

How tough are you in real life?

Michelle: I’m a pussy. No, not really {laughing}.

How does it reflect in real life because you play these tough characters?

Michelle: It depends what you think tough is. For some things I’m really tough and then for other things, I might be considered a complete punk. When someone threatens my integrity – that’s pretty much the only time I have to be tough. That’s when I draw the line. I’m like, okay enough, time for war {laughing}. I don’t mean physical war by that.

Do guys get intimidated by your toughness?

Michelle: No, I think they get more intimidated by my intelligence {laughing}. Guys don’t like it when girls are smart. Most guys don’t like it when girls are smart. It bugs them out. ‘I don’t know if I could deal with you. I’d rather go date that chick over there. She’s easier.’

How do you feel about your Rain character now? Whenever you go back into it – is it like visiting an old friend or you want to push the boundaries of your character more?

Michelle: This one was interesting because you get many different versions of the same person. I like it. It gives me something to play with.

You were talking about the population explosion. Does it put you off having a family for the future?

Michelle: I think in most developed countries it’s kind of like a running theme. Unless there’s something to incredibly depress the entire society you have a baby boom like we just had with the recession. But I think, for the most part, people in developed countries they just tend to have kids at an older age just because you just – it’s so tough nowadays to think about the idea. Everything is changing so fast it’s like overwhelming and I don’t think that any other generation has ever witnessed what these three generations that are existing right now are experiencing. I think it’s the first time for that. In a way it’s like you don’t know what tomorrow brings. But then it’s weird, you know, I’m in a weird place and yeah, I’m gonna friggin wait, man, shit, until I figure out if it’s okay {laughing

What about you on populating this world? What about being a mother?

Michelle: I’m thinking about it. Time’s ticking {laughing}.

When it comes to any particular project, do you have any preference in movie genre like action, big blockbuster film or something indie?

Michelle: You know what, I haven’t done an indie in a while. I haven’t touched an indie in 13 years! Being a girl who started off as an actress in that game, it’s pretty interesting to look back and say, oh my God, why haven’t I touch an indie again.

Why is that?

Michelle: I have my issues… like a girl thing. It’s what people consider impactful in the drama world. It’s like the girl has to go through this extensive pain and suffering. She either has to get raped and come out of it in order to be taken seriously in that indie world game. I just prefer to give a good example of what strength looks like and inspire kind of like young girls with five seconds of action with millions of people around the world. It’s just better for me than do an entire movie that five people see and doesn’t really change more than five people’s lives. I don’t know it’s weird for me.

What about the superhero genre and they have one woman character…

Michelle: In order to do that I probably have to invent my own because I think it’s lacking. That era when the comic books were being written, we were just coming out as women being independent and strong. Today would be a good time to write a female superhero and get it right. It’s a thin line because yesterday it was like when Wonder Woman and Cat Woman was being written – it was different time. And the society and the perspective of women were very different. I think now is a good time to invent one. I don’t think really the coolest superhero other than Tomb Raider doesn’t exist.

Would you sign up for Justice League, if it ever gets made?

Michelle: Hell no. Not unless they make it dark and grimy and cool, you know what I mean? Who cares about the square? The 50s are gone, honey. It’s all about occupy Wall Street now. It’s all about people uniting. It’s about revolution. It’s about man against machine. It’s about independence. It’s about the vigilante. It’s generation me, you know what I mean? We got to answer to that with new superheroes or new perspectives of old superheroes. If I were to do like a Superman or a Justice League, I’d make that shit dark as fuck or it ain’t gonna survive the box office.

What movies have you seen lately do you think that answer to that nature?

Michelle: Batman looks good. It looks like it’s going to be really good. Did you read the comic books? It was my favorite when I was a kid. I used to collect them around that time when that comic came out.

Is there any other sort of role that you would like to play besides the tough girl? Do you see yourself in a romantic comedy?

Michelle: {Laughing}. I highly doubt it. I highly doubt it. It doesn’t exist, man. It really doesn’t. I have to make it myself.

You’re a pretty woman, Why doesn’t anyone try to put you in dresses?

Michelle: I think they started having a hard time. It’s kind of like trying to put a dress on me and call me the girlfriend is kind of the equivalent of trying to put a dress on Arnold Schwarzenegger. {Laughing}. Just the energy is like – I’m too laid back. I’m too down to earth and I’m too strong a personality, just reads through. I don’t want to act that because I don’t find it interesting. I find it quite boring.

Are you going to be on the new Avatar?

Michelle: If I were, I would never tell you.

Nothing? Come on, please?!

Michelle: No, no. I don’t think so. I haven’t gotten any phone calls.

Are you doing Machete, the sequel?

Michelle: I already did. I finished shooting it already. That guy (Robert Rodriguez) will shoot you in and out of a movie in a week. He’s fast, man. He’s so good, I love him. He’s got everybody up in there. He’s a rebel.

You became a famous with Fast and the Furious. And there’s another Fast and the Furious coming. How fast are you and how furious are you?

Michelle: {Laughing}. I’m really fast to get furious {laughing} – that’s for sure. Hopefully yes, if we have an amazing script and everybody is on board and they all decide that they all want to get together and make an amazing movie, we’re all going to do it.

But your character died.

Michelle: My character basically is the imagination of the Vin Diesel character – it was recreated what he heard.

Are you a Dwayne Johnson girl or a Vin Diesel girl?

Michelle: I’m nobody’s girl. I’m independent girl!

The interview was conducted during Comic Con in San Diego by Julide Tanriverdi

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Julide Tanriverdi

Julide Tanriverdi is a Turkish-German journalist residing in New York City. In September 1996 she left Berlin to become a New York correspondent for Axel Springer, the prominent German publishing conglomerate. She has contributed during that time to national papers such as Bild, Bild am Sonntag, Die Welt, Berliner Morgenpost and Hamburger Abendblatt. In 2002, she left Axel Springer to become the New York Bureau Chief for Germany’s popular weekly entertainment magazine Gala, a position she held for 12 years. She has covered film festivals (including the Berlinale, Sundance, Toronto Film Festival and Tribeca Film Festival as well as the New York Film Festival) on a regular basis, interviewed countless Hollywood stars and filmmakers and has reported from film sets. She is a freelance correspondent for leading international magazines, including Germany’s Geek!, GQ, Glamour, Freundin, Austria’s Die Wienerin and Canada’s Cineplex magazine. She is also a freelance broadcast news producer. Her great interest in film had her venture into filmmaking as well: She is the executive producer of Cathryne Czubek's documentary A Girl and A Gun and the screenwriter of the short film Hotel Terminus by Dorthe Wølner-Hanssen. She is currently working on two feature films called 10 Fucking Days and Bulldog. She serves as Vice President and board member of the AWFJ.