Rodriguez Puts Films on Hold for ‘Lost’
LOS ANGELES (Zap2it.com) – Less than six years after exploding into the independent film world as the star of “Girlfight,” sultry actress Michelle Rodriguez found herself wading through a dispiriting pile of scripts that cast her as either “the girlfriend” or “the girl who gets captured.”
She decided to get “Lost” instead.
Rodriguez, who joined ABC’s Emmy-winning Wednesday drama last week, says it wasn’t hard for producers to convince her this was a high-quality TV series but she did have misgivings about whether joining a high-profile TV series might send the wrong message to Hollywood.
“TV makes you so easily accessible,” says Rodriguez, 27. “You don’t want to overexpose yourself in the wrong way, and that’s what I was scared about. I didn’t want people seeing me every week and not getting the right idea about my career and where it’s going — directors especially. I worried about that, because for an independent film career especially, they don’t want someone who is as well-known as a TV star. But I just really trust these guys, and I’m like, ‘OK, I’m holding on. Take me for a ride.’ ”
So far, she’s still acting largely on faith. Her character, Ana-Lucia Cortez, was introduced last May in a three-minute flashback scene in the airport lounge, where she chatted with Jack (Matthew Fox), and we learned, among other things, that she held a seat in the rear of the doomed flight.
Ana-Lucia seemed very feminine and flirtatious in that flashback scene, but “Lost” fans are seeing a whole different side of the character this season.
“She’s a cornered animal, a total warrior: a fighter, take it down, matter-of-fact, all about survival,” Rodriguez says of her character, who is living with another group of people on the island. “These people don’t have a lot of the amenities that the people [in Jack’s group] do, so they are constantly fighting for their survival.”
The actress insists she has very little idea what lies in store for her character, but she looks forward to what may be an inevitable reunion with Fox’s character.
“I think that connection [between the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ Ana-Lucia] is going to come whenever my character finally meets Jack, because that’s the only person she will recognize from the plane,” Rodriguez says “That will call into question the whole issue of what kind of person she is really, because this whole barbarian side of her is definitely a self-defense mechanism. How will she feel when she sees Jack, who is someone she trusts? I have no idea what that will be like — and having said all that, at this point, I don’t even know if they are going to meet at all.”
In fact, the actress claims to be unsure of whether she even qualifies as a new “series regular” on “Lost.”
“It’s still kind of up in the air, if only because the show itself is very unpredictable as far as how long anyone is going to last,” she says, laughing. “I’m not comfortable suggesting that my character is more important than another one, because ‘Lost’ isn’t that kind of show. Every week you focus on a different character, so it’s like there is no ‘lead.’ Different characters take charge in different situations, but it’s everybody’s story.”
While she waits to see how things play out for Ana-Lucia, Rodriguez is more than content to recharge her personal batteries on the North Shore of Hawaii, where she had spent four happy months while filming her 2002 movie “Blue Crush.”
“Living on an island as beautiful as Oahu, I wouldn’t want to live anywhere there is clutter or city life,” Rodriguez says. “It’s so beautiful out here. It’s just peace. Even if I have to drive two hours to the studio, when it comes time to film flashback stuff, it’s just paradise out here the rest of the time. Strip it all away and this is what you get.
“I love looking at an ocean that’s alive, not stagnant. The waves in the winter are just amazing, and they give me energy. This is a place where you can just stop: stop partying, stop living crazy, stop answering your phone, focus on your work and just, like, regenerate. Some people can’t stand it for more than two weeks, but they’re also paranoid about social interaction.”
That sounds a whole lot more laid-back than how she describes herself when she made her explosive big-screen starring debut in “Girlfight,” playing driven female boxer Diana Guzman.
“At that time in my life, I actually was way more aggressive than that character,” she says. “I had to downtone myself. I was in a very angry stage, didn’t like anyone telling me what to do. I hated that I had been spat out into a system where I had to follow rules and guidelines. My teenage years, my misery of existence, lasted a lot longer than it does for most teens. Growing up, I was, ‘Why am I here, and why are all these people trying to tell me what to do?’ It was anger all the time, like one of those punk-rock kids you see on TV.”
She pauses, then laughs.
“Oh, honey, that’s gone now. It was all part of growing up.”
In her downtime, Rodriguez continues working on what she calls her passion project, a film for kids called “Dreamfighter.”
“I have been working on it for about two years,” she explains. “Think of it as ‘Goonies’ meets ‘The Neverending Story’ meets ‘Constantine.’ In this industry, most adult stuff just bores me. It always comes down to sex, jealousy, power, and it’s just so boring. That’s why I’ve been focusing on kids and wondering why so many kids have gotten so absorbed into this reality of today.
“It seems as if every kid I talk to has forgotten how to use his imagination. That’s sad, and it’s scary to me that there’s only one movie out there for the kids to really lose themselves in a fantasia-land, and that’s ‘Harry Potter.’ That’s kind of pathetic. Where is our future going? I’d like to go around the world and talk to kids everywhere.”
Rodriguez Puts Films on Hold for ‘Lost’