“Avatar’s” Michelle Rodriguez is the real deal: bright, lively, captivating13 september 2011, 15:41
Anyone who loves movies knows that Kazakhstan director Timur Bekmembetov has taken Hollywood by storm.
The story is even better because Bekmembetov didn’t come calling on Hollywood. Tinsel Town came to him after seeing the amazing vampire movies he made in Russia – “Night Watch” and “Day Watch.”
The result is that in 2008 Bekmembetov was able to make a movie -- “Wanted” -- with Angelina Jolie, one of the hottest actresses in the world.
Jolie has praised his different approach to film making, one that many movie critics call visionary.
Another hot actress – “hot” as in “successful” and “hot” as in “sexy” – threw compliments at Bekmembetov at the recent Astana International Action Film Festival.
This was Michelle Rodriguez, the star of director James Cameron’s “Avatar,” the highest-grossing film of all time.
Rodriguez is an intriguing woman. Completely at ease at a festival press conference, she came across as bright, open, funny and cheeky.
I had read stories about her being kicked out of five high schools when she was young, and about several drinking and driving episodes. So I thought she might be difficult to warm up to. But that wasn’t the case. She was genuine and disarming – and most of the journalists at the press conference loved her.
The 33-year-old Rodriguez, who appeared at the festival along with the American actors Armand Assante, Michael Madsen and Steven Seagal, said Bekmenbetov “understands the balance between feminity and masculinity in a woman – and that’s rare.”
“I would definitely do a Timur movie,” she said.
Rodriguez said she’s insisted on rewriting the scripts of lots of the action films she’s been offered “because many writers in Hollywood don’t understand the balance between men and women.”
“Women don’t have to be like men to be strong – I want to create this in scripts,” she said.
She said Bekmembetov “did a good job” of melding strength and femininity in the character Fox, the assassin whom Jolie portrayed in “Wanted.”
Rodriguez soared to fame in tough-girl roles in films such as “Girlfight,” “The Fast and the Furious,” “Resident Evil,” “S.W.A.T.,” “Machete” and “Battle: Los Angeles.”
She admitted that the favorite film she’s made is “Avatar” because of its spectacular success . “I love Jim Cameron just simply because everything he touches is gold – but there’s always a message behind his films,” she said.
For insurance reasons, Rodriguez said, she doesn’t do her own stunts in movies.
“I’m not Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan or Tom Cruise,” she said. “I have some of the best stunt doubles” in the business – “they’re really amazing.”
“I love action movies,” Rodriguez said at one point in the press conference, “but I’m kind of tired of being a tomboy.”
Asked if she’d accept a “nice girl” role, she replied: “Yes, but I find these girls really boring.”
“What kind of guys do you like?” an impish journalist wanted to know.
“The guy who Hollywood has killed – the alpha male,” she said without hesitation. “The guy who can protect the house – not the geek.”
Despite her amazing success on-screen – especially in “Avatar” – Rodriguez said she got into acting only as a way of opening the door to her first love: script writing.
Producing scripts, she said, “has been a dream since I was a little kid.”
She’s been writing a script recently for a movie tentatively titled “Sedated” that will be about the drug-laced party scene at places around the world where the rich and famous hang out.
It will focus on New York, Monaco and Cannes – and the fact that “different drugs are used in different places,” she said.
Another script she’s working on is a story about animals trying to prevent humans from destroying the planet.
“You have animals attacking people all over the world,” she said.
“I came up with that when I was 15,” Rodriguez said, adding she hopes to finish the script next year.
When a journalist asked what she thought of Astana, she replied: “This is a culture that’s very new to me. But now that I see how beautiful this place is, I will come back.”
The news gave me a rosy glow.
As I left the press conference, I was thinking: “I wonder if she likes older alpha males?”