Truth: Everything is better with Michelle Rodriguez.
The producers of the Resident Evil had an obvious on their hands when conjuring up a fifth entry in the franchise—the actress appeared (and was subsequently killed off) in the first entry of the series—but how do you bring back a dead character to a franchise that’s more alive than ever before.
C’mon, this is Resident Evil. Where there’s imagination, there’s a way!
We don’t know exactly how franchise mastermind Paul W.S. Anderson and star Milla Jovovich figured out how to bring Rodriguez’s Rain back in to continuity, we’re just glad they did. I had a chance to sit down with the star on the set of the next installment, Resident Evil: Retribution to learn more about the new-and-improved Rain, the differences between her RE experiences and what’s coming up in the future for the star:
On returning to the series:
Michelle Rodriguez: It's pretty damn cool—you've got to love sci-fi, man. For a long time I was kind of pissed off they kept on killing me off. I was like, ‘what am I doing wrong? Just because I'm not ripping off my clothes, how long do I have to endure this before people start appreciating me?’ [Laughs] And then they started bringing me back so I was like ‘cool.’
On playing duel roles:
MR: Yeah, that was fun. Well, basically Paul [W.S. Anderson's] original idea was that a UPS worker would be one of the clones and then we got together and we started to brainstorm and we came up with this juxtaposition of me playing a tomboy all the time and he said, ‘wouldn't it be nice to see you feminine, Michelle?’ And I was like, ‘yes, that would be nice before it all wrinkles up and I can't use it anymore.’ So I figured I'd might as well do it. I threw on some high heels, added a nice little 'hippy twist' to the whole thing and before you know it, I'm driving a Prius in zombie-land. It was pretty cool.
I find it kind of fun because I've played the same character for so long that it's kind of like I am always an exaggerated version of my angry side. I'm so comfortable with her that it was kind of cool and fun to play something awkward and different- someone who is quirky and doesn't know how to handle a gun and someone who is curious. I kind of feel like an audience member while playing that character because I'm like "what the hell is going on here? Why are you dressed like a superhero? How come there are dead people walking around on the streets?"
The differences between her experience on the first movie and Retribution:
MR: It has more of an action movie feel now. Back then, it was way more sci-fi. You could really feel the sci-fi; it was everywhere. [Laughs] But now it's action- it just feels like an action movie and I think more so than any of the other movies. I think that's the direction Paul is wanting this to go in anyway. It's kind of cool.
On the popularity of the series:
MR: I think it's that people love destroying mankind, for some strange reason. You make a movie about mankind's destruction, you're going to fill those seats. People just love the idea. For a couple thousand years now, we've been dreaming up how we're all going to disappear and fade away from this planet, so I think it's because people have a love/hate relationship with being human on this planet. [Laughs] I know I do—I know that's why I love those kinds of movies.
Explaining “Bad Rain” and the on set scene where she injects herself with a mysterious liquid:
MR: Yes! Las Plagas! That makes me super-human. Bullets? What are those? I eat bullets! I have always wanted to eat bullets. I always had this really cool idea ever since I was a kid of a human being that was able to control all the elements they're made up of. For instance, we have minerals and stuff in our system and I always thought it would be cool to go into this deep state of meditation and be able to consolidate all the metal in your body and shoot through your fingers.
On the weaponry:
MR: They've got the MP5 in this one and they've got these really awesome guns- they have them in Modern Warfare too, but I forget the name of them right now. It's a semi-automatic sub-machine gun but the magazine for it is on the top and you kind of flip it over to the side. They let us shoot that one which was pretty fun. They have the M4 and the M4 with a grenade launcher. They've also modified a lot of the guns to make them look pretty cool too that the boys get to shoot- a massive Magnum.
I didn't get a lot of gun training for this just because I kind of jumped into it last minute and everyone's been incredibly busy with the massive fight sequences in this one. I just literally got drilled myself for the last four days with a massive fight sequence that has like 70 moves. I hope I remember those moves because I do them this week in fact. But you can definitely expect a lot of kicking, a lot of punching, a lot of swinging, a lot of throwing and a lot of wire work in this movie. And of course, Milla kicking ass and taking some names.
I have a lot of experience firing weapons but I also suck at firing weapons. I'm a really bad aim; I'm much better at taking them apart and putting them back together. But yeah, I go to the range a lot myself, too just to goof off because I like to have fun. I already know my way around the grand majority of weapons so it's nothing really that new.
On her upcoming projects:
MR: A: Yeah, pretty much Fast & Furious is what I've got my sights set on for the next year and if Res does well, maybe I'll get to pop back in for the next one. Who knows- but the possibility is definitely there. And pretty much the same with Fast & Furious, too. Basically, right now, Hollywood is a giant factory of remakes because everyone is pussying out and they don't want to try anything new. They're scared, I guess, and the money situation in the States isn't so keen right now. The dollar is shit right now so I can understand why the studios are doing the guaranteed hit-off movies; I'm banking on that and I'm proud to be part of such great franchises that want me back.
[Returning to Fast & Furious] been something that Vin's been pushing for, for a while now and it was just a matter of time before they buckled. You know what I mean? [Laughs] He was like ‘I want my girl back’ so eventually Neal [H. Moritz] said "she's a cool chick so let's bring her back." I was kind of surprised they buckled, but then again, with all the sequels you kind of run out of things to do. After a while, you're like ‘let's just bring some people back, why not?’ [Laughs].
I have a kids' movie in the works too and these are all ideas I've had in my head ever since I was like 15 years-old and I was like, ‘I want to get into the business so I can write!’ So then I became an actress and I got into trouble and grew up; then all the hard knocks knocked me down. Now, I'm a woman and time's running out so I better get to it. So I'm buckling down, and the first script that is going to be completed is called Sedated and it's about drugs and the party world, which is something I know very well. [Laughs] It's basically about this guy who sells drugs in gummy bear form. It's a nice way to travel. You could ship it anywhere and not get into trouble. I hope I don't give anybody any ideas. [Laughs] I have to package things to be able to sell them.