MICHELLE RO­DRIGUEZ

Ac­ci­den­tal ac­tion hero.

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - FRONT PAGE -

CAN women be fem­i­nine and be kick­butt ac­tion heroes at the same time?

‘‘ Ab­so­lutely!’’ yells Michelle Ro­driguez, the 34- year- old who should know a thing or two about it af­ter films such as Avatar, The Fast and the Fu­ri­ous, SWAT and Ma­chete. She’s at it again in Res­i­dent Evil:

Retri­bu­tion, her re­turn to zom­bie- killing af­ter a decade on the fran­chise’s DOA list.

Ro­driguez likens ‘‘ the bat­tle be­tween the woman and the man’’ to ‘‘ the con­tra­dic­tions be­tween the marines and the air force’’.

As in: the marines, who can ‘‘ hurt peo­ple, mul­ti­ple peo­ple, with their bare hands’’, see air force pi­lots in their air­con­di­tioned cab­ins as soft.

‘‘ It’s a bat­tle be­tween the phys­i­cal­ity and the mind,’’ she says.

‘‘ It’s like, women are in­ter­nalised crea­tures, we have a dif­fer­ent kind of power. And that power has never re­ally been ex­ploited so much as our sex or ‘ Let’s turn her into a dude!’

‘‘ A whole new world for women in Hol­ly­wood is open­ing up, where we can rein­vent our­selves very eas­ily be­cause the ma­cho man is dy­ing, he’s be­ing killed by the techy geek – you know, the wimpy- look­ing Spi­der- Man or the guy from Wanted who can shoot a gun from the side but can’t kick your ass if you look like Vin Diesel.

‘‘ The Sylvester Stal­lones and the Arnold Sch­warzeneg­gers are gone. So now there’s room for a girl to play.

‘‘ And when I say ‘ get into my fem­i­nin­ity’, I don’t mean be a prissy broad who’s wear­ing her lip­stick and try­ing to woo some guy while she’s spy­ing. I’m talk­ing about a crea­ture that is in­tel­li­gent, beau­ti­ful and slick.

‘‘ You don’t have to be this tomboy girl hold­ing 25 ma­chine guns, wear­ing your cargo pants. I’d like to put that away.’’

Ro­driguez won’t say how her char­ac­ter Rain, who was killed off in the first Res­i­dent Evil, leav­ing Milla Jovovich to carry on the zom­bie fight alone, has man­aged to re­turn in Retri­bu­tion.

‘‘ Let’s just say when tech­nol­ogy starts to mess around with God’s cre­ation, a lot of crazy things can hap­pen. That pretty much sums up the en­tire fran­chise,’’ she laughs.

It’s kind of a homecoming for Ro­driguez, who fa­mously wouldn’t be pinned down to a multi- sea­son con­tract on TV show Lost, telling pro­duc­ers she was a ‘‘ no­mad’’.

Her mind is equally prone to wan­der­ing. ‘‘ I have this MTV ADD thing,’’ she says, thus she can hold court on top­ics rang­ing from green- en­ergy build­ings to spir­i­tual fre­quen­cies.

It’s enough to make you won­der how such a cu­ri­ous crea­ture came to set­tle on one thing as a ca­reer.

‘‘ Movies just hap­pened,’’ Ro­driguez shrugs. ‘‘ We were gonna go to [ amuse­ment park] Six Flags the day of the Girl­fight au­di­tions. In­stead I went to my friend’s house, his mum told me he’s in jail, I’m like ‘ No way!’ Then I was like, ‘ Damn, I can’t be hang­ing out in Jersey, I don’t be­long here’. So I went and, boom! Here I am.’’

Her movie ca­reer stopped be­ing so ac­ci­den­tal ‘‘ when I re­alised that ev­ery sin­gle time as a kid I looked up at the stars, I was wish­ing for a venue to tell sto­ries. And that I had fi­nally got­ten it’’.

‘‘ It was af­ter I got all my DUIs [ drinkdriv­ing ci­ta­tions], af­ter I par­tied my ass off, af­ter I made tons of money and lost it – it was af­ter all of that I re­alised, ‘ Holy s--- Michelle, you were a writer and you be­came an ac­tor be­cause you didn’t think they’d take a writer se­ri­ously.

‘‘ Now you’re an ac­tress who’s not tak­ing her­self se­ri­ously! You need to get your s--- to­gether kid’.’’

Ro­driguez’s bad run lasted six years, with mul­ti­ple ar­rests, court dates and jail time. On one hand, she ad­mits to still hav­ing ex­ces­sive mo­ments. On the other, she says she keeps her­self in check. Ei­ther way, she can’t com­pletely quell her nat­u­ral nut­ti­ness.

‘‘ I’m kinda crazy,’’ she ad­mits with a laugh. ‘‘ I put my­self in sit­u­a­tions. But I’m very well aware. I’m not a vic­tim of the things that hap­pen to me . . . well, maybe three years ago it was a dif­fer­ent story! But now I take re­spon­si­bil­ity.’’

Hol­ly­wood loves a fallen star who gets back up, so Ro­driguez never com­pletely trashed her rep­u­ta­tion. Still, she says the per­cep­tion of her in the busi­ness is slowly shift­ing, for the bet­ter.

Not that she has much time for the suits that run the busi­ness.

‘‘ I’m a cre­ative cat and I can only res­onate with cre­ative peo­ple.’’

Ro­driguez may have to learn suit-speak; she’s re­turned to her dream of be­ing a writer and has two scripts she hopes to sell to big stu­dios.

‘‘ One’s The Ma­tri­arch So­ci­ety, about a se­cret so­ci­ety of women that’s been around since the Re­nais­sance era.

‘‘ The other flick I’m work­ing on is a kids’ movie, kind of like the Goonies meets Nev­erEnd­ing Story but it’s about preser­va­tion of an­i­mals.’’ RES­I­DENT EVIL: RETRI­BU­TION, Now show­ing Vil­lage Cine­mas

MANY FACES: ( clock­wise from left) Michelle Ro­driguez never seems to be with­out a gun in her roles in The Fast and the Fu­ri­ous and Res­i­dent Evil: Retri­bu­tion; Ro­driguez in Ho­bart to sup­port the Sea Shep­herd anti- whal­ing ac­tivists; and in Ma­chete, Res­i­dent Evil and SWAT ( be­low).

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