In a karmic twist of fate, Michelle Rodriquez's signature roles came in productions whose titles eerily sum up her Hollywood career. Between her striking debut in the female boxing movie "Girlfight" (...
Bell County, TX
|Tropico de Sangre||Actor||Minerva Mirabal||1|
|Alien Invasion: Are We Ready?||Host||n/a||1000005|
|Dane Cook, Michelle Rodriguez||Actor||n/a||1|
|3 AM (1999-2000)||Actor||Salgado||1999||1|
|Resident Evil: Retribution||Actor||Rain||1|
|Season: 2||Actor||Ana-Lucia Cortez||1|
|The Fast and the Furious||Actor||Letty||1|
|What They Died For||Actor||Ana-Lucia Cortez||1|
|Battle: Los Angeles||Actor||Elena Santos||1|
|Fast & Furious||Actor||Letty||1|
|Fast & Furious 6||Actor||Letty||1|
|The Big Fix||Actor||Herself||1|
|Battle in Seattle||Actor||Lou||1|
|3rd Annual Taurus World Stunt Awards (2001-2002)||Actor||Presenter||2001||1|
|The Fast and the Furious Movie Special (1999-2000)||Actor||Interviewee||1999||1|
|The Lie||Actor||Ana-Lucia Cortez||1|
|Exodus (Part 1)||Actor||Ana-Lucia Cortez||1|
|E! Entertainer of the Year 2003 (2002-2003)||Actor||Interviewee||2002||1|
|Sizzlin' Sixteen 2001 (1999-2000)||Actor||Interviewee||1999||1|
|The 10th Annual IFP Gotham Awards (1999-2000)||Actor||n/a||1999||1|
|Video Game Awards 2004 (2003-2004)||Actor||n/a||2003||1|
|Gardens of the Night||Actor||Lucy (woman in car)||1|
|Season: 1||Actor||On Camera Interviewee||1|
|17th Annual IFP/West Independent Spirit Awards (2000-2001)||Actor||Presenter||2000||1|
|Lent her voice to the video games "True Crime: Street of LA" and "Halo2"|
|Raised in Texas until her parents separated at age eight|
|Settled in Jersey City, NJ with her mother|
|Reprised role for the fourth film "Fast & Furious"|
|Lived with her maternal grandmother in the Dominican Republic|
|Cast in James Cameron's 3D sci-fi epic "Avatar"|
|Cast as an extra in NYC film productions "Summer of Sam" (1999) and "For Love of the Game" (1999)|
|Joined the second season of ABC's "Lost" as ex-police officer Ana-Lucia Cortez; character killed off at the end of season|
|Cast in actor Stuart Townsend's directorial debut "Battle in Seattle"|
|Starred in the big-screen version of the popular video game "BloodRayne"|
|Briefly moved to Puerto Rico to live with her father|
|Co-starred with Milla Jovovich in Paul Anderson's "Resident Evil"|
|Landed breakthrough role as Diana, the tough and troubled high school student who finds an outlet for her aggression in boxing in "Girlfight"|
|Reprised role opposite Milla Jovovich in action horror sequel "Resident Evil: Retribution," written and directed by Paul W.S. Anderson|
|Appeared in the action thriller "Machete," directed by Ethan Maniquis and Robert Rodriguez|
|Co-starred as a gang member with a penchant for racing sports cars in "The Fast and the Furious"|
|Portrayed the character Chris in the summer action feature "S.W.A.T."|
|Played one of Kate Bosworth's friends and roommates in the surfer film "Blue Crush"|
|Co-starred in the horror film "The Breed"|
|Played a tough NYC cabbie in Showtime movie "3 A.M."|
Mayte Michelle Rodriguez was born on July 12, 1978, in Bexar County, TX into a complicated home life. Her mother was from the Dominican Republic and a devout Jehovah's Witness; her father was a Puerto Rican who had served in the military and fathered several children with other women. When the marriage broke up, Rodriguez left Texas and moved with her mother and two older twin brothers to the Dominican Republic when she was nine. Once there, she chafed under her mother's strict religious beliefs, so joined her father in Puerto Rico when she was 11 years old. Rodriguez rebelled again, getting kicked out of several schools before finally joining her mother and brothers in Jersey City, NJ. Although a voracious reader and clearly intelligent, she hated high school and dropped out at age 15. It did not matter. She was going to get kicked out anyway.
After Rodriguez got her GED, she drifted, attending a business school before quitting yet again. Much of it was due to boredom. She started hanging out with a rough crowd, got in fights. But at the same time, she read a lot of books, watched a lot of movies, and formulated vague notions of becoming a writer, director or actress. Her striking looks - a blend of Latina femininity mixed with a street tough edge - landed her extra work in a few movies, but like countless aspiring actresses with no connections to Hollywood, she was still looking for her big break.
Amazingly she got it. Rodriguez read an ad in Backstage magazine, advertising for a hard, troubled Latina who could box. She knew immediately she didn't need to act the part; she was the part. Rodriguez beat out over 350 other applicants to win the part of Diana Guzman in the low-budget independent film "Girlfight." Although a complete unknown, the director, Karyn Kusama, saw in Rodriguez a toughness and attitude that could not be faked. Although she had never applied herself to school, Rodriguez embraced the physical challenges to get in shape for the role - which included four and a half months of intense training at the famous Gleason's gym in Brooklyn. Her boxing skills were as convincing as her acting. Not only did Rodriguez win several prestigious acting awards, including an Independent Spirit Award and National Board of Review award, but she was also asked by a boxing promoter to turn pro.
Instead of pursuing a boxing career, she used the visibility that "Girlfight" gave her to break into the Hollywood mainstream, co-starring with Danny Glover in a Showtime made-for-TV drama called "3 A.M." (2001). She then catapulted into her first big budget studio movie, "The Fast and the Furious." The story - set in the underworld subculture of Los Angeles street racers - was not as critically acclaimed as "Girlfight," but it made a killing at the box-office and established Rodriguez as a convincing female action hero. She followed up with yet another "tough-as-nails" character - Rain Ocampo, a soldier in body armor battling flesh-eating zombies in the feature video game adaptation "Resident Evil" (2002). Her physicality and natural beauty were next put to use in the female surfing flick "Blue Crush" (2002), which provided Rodriguez to visit Hawaii and wear a bikini while riding some big waves, but she was soon back to wearing body armor and shooting a big gun as an L.A. cop in the mega budget popcorn movie "S.W.A.T." (2003).
While Rodriguez was building up her resume, she was also building up her rap sheet. In March 2002, Rodriguez was arrested for assault after getting in a fistfight with her roommate in Jersey City. The charges were later dropped, but her legal problems continued. In November 2003, she pleaded no contest in Los Angeles to charges of hit-and-run, drunken driving, and driving with a suspended license. She served 48 hours in jail, performed community service, and was placed on probation for three years. Her career stalled and a troubling trend became clear - the young actress who had played a volatile boxer and reckless street racer in the movies seemed to be living those roles in real life.
While Rodriguez's film career seemed to go on probation right along with her, she found work as a voice actor in several popular video games. Fans who loved her work in violent, adrenaline-fueled movies now got their fix as she lent her Latina accent to "True Crime: Streets of LA" (2003), "Driv3r" (2004), and "Halo 2" (2004). For Rodriguez, an avid video game player, the work sustained her until Hollywood offered her another film role. Perhaps not surprisingly, that role came in another video game adaptation, "BloodRayne" (2005). Rodriguez had only a supporting role in the story of a half-human, half-vampire avenger, so she was ultimately not blamed for the movie's dismal box-office performance and reviews. But without any promising parts being offered her, she did what many movie actors do when their careers are sputtering: TV.
From a professional standpoint, it was a smart move. Joining the ensemble cast of the hit show "Lost" during the second season, Rodriguez resurrected her career. She also got to return to Hawaii, where she had enjoyed a wonderful experience during the filming of "Blue Crush." However, her personal problems followed her across the ocean. In 2005, Honolulu police arrested her several times for speeding. Finally, she was pulled over and busted for driving under the influence on Dec. 1, 2005. She pleaded not guilty at her arraignment but the damage was done. The tabloids mocked her as "The Lost Girl" and it was not long before she was written off the show. Rodriguez and the producers claim her exit had been planned before the season began and her arrest was just coincidental.
Despite any personal shortcomings, her solid work on "Lost" had rekindled the interest of film producers. Rodriguez had wanted to get back to work, but her first audition was for the Los Angeles County Court System. Since the Hawaii incident was a violation of her Los Angeles probation, Rodriquez was sentenced to 60 days in jail, a 30-day alcohol rehabilitation program, and 30 days of community service. Because of overcrowding, she was released from jail the same day she entered it. She used her freedom to take on a role as a World Trade Organization protestor in the film "Battle in Seattle" (2007). A devoted animal rights and environmental activist, it was a movie that showcased Rodriguez's commitment to humanitarian causes.
Unfortunately, she did not show the same commitment to her legal situation. In October of 2007, Rodriguez was sentenced to 180 days in jail for violating her probation by not completing her community service and alcohol education program. The judge ordered her to remain in jail for the entire sentence. Rodriguez publicly admitted her mistake and apologized to her fans. Whether this latest setback knocked out her acting career remained to be seen, but Michelle Rodriguez was always a fighter, through her difficult upbringing, her breakout role as a female boxer, and her more recent role as an environmental activist.
|Vin Diesel||Companion||Met while co-starring in "The Fast and the Furious" (2001); No longer together|
|Kristanna Loken||Companion||Met on the set of "BloodRayne" (2005); The Advocate and other LGBT news sources reported in November 2006 that they were rumored to be romantically involved|
|Olivier Martinez||Companion||Acted together in "S.W.A.T." (2003); Reportedly had a fling in 2003 while Martinez was dating Kylie Minogue; Once again seen together in early 2007; No longer together|
|Rafael Rodriguez||Father||Puerto Rican; Separated from Rodriguez's mother c. 1986; Died in 1997|
|Carmen Rodriguez||Mother||Dominican; Separated from Rodriguez's father c. 1986|
|Omar Rodriguez||Brother||Born c. 1970; twin of Raul|
|Raul Rodriguez||Brother||Born c. 1970; twin of Omar|
|"Guys think a girl won't lift up her hands or defend herself. But they'd be amazed when that beast is let loose." - Rodriguez quoted in Talk magazine, June/July 2000|
|"I was always the girl in Jersey City who was the big tomboy, considered the butch because I was so masculine. I was always wearing baggy jeans with my boxers coming out. It was my defense against being considered that sexy person that the guys would try to lay. So, instead, they just considered me one of the guys." - Rodriguez quoted in Time Out New York, Sept. 28, 2000|
|"We had to work on calming her face and relaxing her. She got to a point where she reached that quietness on her own pretty quickly. She's got the goods to be a truly great actress." - "Girlfight" director Karyn Kusama quoted in USA Today, Oct. 19, 2000|
|"If I'm a sex symbol, than so are half the people in Jersey." - Rodriguez quoted in E! online's "Sizzling Sixteen," January 2001|
|In March 2002, Rodriguez was arrested for allegedly attacking her female roommate. She pleaded innocent to charges of assault and harassment, and posted $2500 bail.|
|In June 2004, due to dangerous driving and a DUI, Rodriguez was sentenced to several hours in jail and took part in a community service program at two local hospitals. She was also required to attend a three-month alcohol program and get involved with Mothers Against Drunk Driving.|
|On Nov. 30, 2005, Rodriguez was arrested and taken into custody on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol in Oahu, HI. Rodriguez opted for jail time and a $500 fine rather than 240 hours of community service. In April 2006, she surrendered and began a five-day jail sentence.|
|On Oct. 11, 2007, Rodriguez was sentenced to six months in jail for failing to complete community service and alcohol monitoring as part of her probation from the previous drunk driving incident.|
|Raised as a Jehovah's Witness, but stopped practicing at age 13|
Interview with Michelle Rodriguez of "Blue Crush." Michelle Rodriguez talks to Hollywood.com about huge swells, girl power and soaking up the Hawaiian rays in her new summer movie Blue Crush. Reported by Kit Bowen Edited by Shane Miller Produced by Kit Bowen
From classic movie palaces to the state-of-the-art IMAX screens.