As the loudmouthed, hotheaded boxer in last year’s Girlfight, Michelle Rodriguez packed a punch with audiences and critics alike. This weekend, we’ll see whether lightning strikes twice as the 22-year-old actress’ sophomore effort, the street-racing action flick The Fast and the Furious, hits theaters. Sounds like a typical Hollywood thrill ride, but for this Jersey girl, there’s more to it than mere entertainment.
“Even though the choices I make don’t seem like there’s substance in hand, this is a really good move,” she says by phone from her Los Angeles hotel room. “People are like, ‘It’s a movie about cars. How much substance could there really be?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, there is a lot of (expletive) substance! Because finally there is a portrayal of a girl who’s into the cars and not into the dudes. “Not too many people get to see girls do that. We’re always holding ourselves back because of stereotypes of what we’re supposed to be. I’m the kind of person who says, ‘Screw all the rules.’ ”
Which is exactly what her character does in the movie. Letty starts out as the fleshy hood ornament to resident bad boy Vin Diesel, but despite the formulaic romance, the real sparks fly on the asphalt, when she takes the wheel and kicks butt on the illegal racing circuit. Of course, the realities of filmmaking were a bit less exciting than all that.
“I was getting driven behind a truck at 35 miles per hour, and that really is not fun,” Rodriguez says. “I was surprised. I mean, it was about not being able to drive the car when you know that’s why you signed on. I expected to be jumping out of that window or breaking that glass. I guess I’d have to get a stunt license. I don’t know how Jackie Chan did it. I’ll have to ask him one day if I ever meet the guy.”
Her whirlwind life since Girlfight has yet to slow down. Her focus is on building a solid career that will lead to scriptwriting. Until then, her action-packed trek continues with the upcoming Resident Evil, based on the popular PlayStation game. Following in the footsteps of Lara Croft, her character packs an arsenal of weapons to terminate a horde of zombies.
It’s another “macho” mission that Rodriguez is happy to accept.Love & light,