Michelle Rodriguez German Interview on
Avatar, Fast & Furious
Interview by Steve Gatjen
Avatar related interview content transcribed by AMZ. . .
Steve: Let's talk about your future because there are two projects on the horizon. One is Avatar by James Cameron.
Michelle: Love that guy, what a freaking genius.
Steve: Could you say anything about that project?
Michelle: Because I saw some of the footage, I'd say it's equivalant to me - the introduction of color in a really good movie to the world the first time. Like when we transitioned from black & white to color. If you go back in film history and you see the first movie that was actually made in color, it wasn't that great.
But if you look at like West Side Story, and you're like wow, color! You know what I mean? It's like that. He took the time out to make a quality film using this new technology that was - innovative by his team and himself. And took it to a whole other level. The Spielberg's and the Peter Jackson's of the world are going to have like a new toy.
A new ability to reach the audience. What I like about James Cameron is that he has this old school - Joseph Campbell like - understanding of human integrity, of what people really care about, and he uses mythology transformed into contemporary science fiction to really get at people, at the core.
He can tell you an amazing story that you look around, and you're like, wait, that happens here on Planet Earth. But you're like in outer space and you're just like - wait a minute, are you talking about reality? And it's beautiful, it's great.
March 2009 Michelle Rodgriguez Interview
Really just more of the same we have already seen in previous interviews from the cast in this March 2009 interview. With the Avatar cast in such a tight disclosure contract, it would be unfair to expect any of the actors or actresses to discuss info privvy only to them.
Michelle Rodriguez, who co-stars in James Cameron's secretive sci-fi film Avatar, told a group of reporters that the breadth of Cameron's direction was exhausting. "He thinks in 12 dimensions at all times, and that's what I love about him," Rodriguez said in a group interview on Friday in Hollywood, where she was promoting Fast & Furious.
Avatar combines new motion capture, animation and three-dimensional filming technology. Cameron has screened footage for select audiences in the 3-D industry.
The following Q&A features edited excerpts of our interview with the outspoken Rodriguez.
SciFiWire: What kind of character do you play in Avatar?
Michelle Rodriguez: I'm basically a pilot, a pilot in another planet.
How did you hook up with James Cameron?
James saw me in Girlfight. It's that movie. It's the only movie I was ever a lead in, and I guess I did a good job because people watched it and liked it.
What sort of direction does Cameron give you?
Are you kidding me? That guy is so amazing. You could sit there and you could talk for hours about the advancements in molecular science or you could sit there and you can talk about mythology and story building, character building. You could talk about cameras, the history of film, history of Russia.
You could talk about flying to another planet, you could talk about space research. You could talk about underwater adventures. You could talk about how he constructed special technology for underwater adventures. Or you could sit there and talk to him about how he developed his own fricking cameras with his brother. I mean, like, this guy is a genius..
How does the footage look?
It's amazing. It's hardcore. I can't even imagine anything bigger. This is the beauty of working with that technology. You just go there and you see what you're interacting with right there because it's a mixture of live 3-D footage, the props on the set and the virtual world that he spent God knows how long creating.
"I think people are really going to welcome this experience with open arms. And I have to call it an experience because it's not like just going to watch a movie. You're actually going to experience it." . . . Michelle Rodriguez on Avatar.
Michelle Rodriguez says 'Avatar' was 'like working on
'Star Wars' -- the first one'
Less than two weeks remain until moviegoers open a cinematic box called Pandora. One of the characters that gets to explore that distant moon with the troubling name is helicopter pilot Trudy Chacon. Hero Complex's Jevon Phillips got to talk to the actress who plays her, Michelle Rodriguez, who has shaped a career from strong, tough roles in films such as "Girlfight," "Resident Evil" and "The Fast & the Furious."
JP: Last time I saw you, you were playing a video game at the premiere of "The Chronicles of Riddick." Are you a gamer?
MR: Yeah, I'm a total gamer. I love games -- they rock. They consume a lot of your time nowadays so I play a lot less cause I just turned 30 and I have got to be a responsible adult, but I definitely have my vices. Right now, Call of Duty 2: Modern Warfare consumes about 15% of my day.
JP: So, talking "Avatar," you probably got into all of the technical aspects of the film?
MR: Yeah. I was definitely overwhelmed ... I mean you're talking about a guy [James Cameron] who's a freaking genius. He's thought about the realistic aspects of everything that he imagined in the film. I definitely spent a lot of time geeking out with him and figuring out what he thinks the future is going to look like in real life! He's got a lot of theories that are based on scientific fact, so it was cool to watch him implement this kind of stuff into his imaginary world in "Avatar."
JP: Explain a bit about who Trudy Chacon is and why she's important to "Avatar."
MR: Trudy Chacon is a helicopter pilot. A futuristic helicopter pilot, though it's never specific on exactly what time period we're in. But it's definitely the future because cryogenics is a big part of the technology that exists, and God knows we're really far from that now. She's a character that decided to work on another planet, and as far as I know -- as far as Jim explained to me -- has been there on Pandora for a couple of years before the movie started. Just a pilot that loves to fly on another planet. And how she's important? You'll have to watch it and see.
JP: Got it. You went from one foresty, tropical place in "Lost" to another for "Avatar." Did you work with all CGI, or was the vegetation kind of another character that you had to deal with?
MR: It was so cool! I worked on some sets where I get out of the chopper and I am in the Pandoran terrain, and it was really cool. You know, there's not one detail that [Cameron] misses. If I am looking at a green screen on a scene, he's gonna show me -- on a screen -- exactly what I should be seeing, which is amazing. Usually when you work with green screen you act and then somebody tells you, "Yeah, we're gonna put this in post and such and such," but he got that out of the way. Whenever I'm looking at something or have a question about something, he shows it to me. As far as the foliage goes and the protrusions from the planet itself, I got to see a lot of that live cause they actually created it for the set. Most of the stuff that I was working with were mechanical creatures that are actual props.
JP: Did you have the sense that you were working on something historic? A lot of people view the film as a key moment in special-effects film, at least in its ambitions.
MR: To me, it was like working on "Star Wars" -- the first one. You know how now you watch "Star Wars" ["Episode I" in 1999] and you're like "I could've rented or bought the video game then I'd be in control of what's happening' -- because everything's so digital and it doesn't feel real. But you watch the first one ["Episode IV" in 1977] and I don't know how you feel, but I wonder, 'Why does this feel so much greater than the digitized world he [George Lucas] created now?' And I realize it's because of the props. And that's the kind of live-action world that Jim created.
JP: That's very cool.
MR: It is! Especially when you see these big giant robot things that the military has. Those things are cool, man! The actor that played the captain guy literally had to climb on a ladder to get into these things.
JP: When you signed up to do this, did you expect to see and do the types of things that you do working on this movie?
MR: I expected nothing less. I've always been a big fan of Jim Cameron. He's the first director that I've loved for a lot of years and actually got to work with. And I'm surprised cause I'm known to be a crazy wild card, a maverick of sorts.
JP: Crazy wild card, huh. You are the action woman. Are those the roles that come to you at this point or are those the roles you still actively seek?
MR: I love action. You could tell, if you grew up with me, because I wanted to join the Army at one point and it was for no other reason than to have some action. My dad talked me out of it. Yeah, I like to get into physical stuff. It's fun. I'm not into disciplined sports. I have no patience to sit there for years and learn a trade like race car driving or plane jumping, so acting is perfect for me. I get a crash course on everything I want to do and I have fun doing it and then if I really really like it, then I'll get into it on my time off. As long as I'm young, I'll definitely have my hands on doing something that involves putting your life on the line in some way.
JP: So what kind of training did you have to do for this?
MR: Helicopter flight training. That was really cool. In six months, if you have the discipline for it, you can learn how to fly a chopper. You can get a license to do such a thing -- and I think that is awesome. That's definitely something that I'm gonna look into once I get some time. The slightest movement is amazing. You just tap that thing, and it's so sensitive. You can do the most complicated movements with basically the pressure of a pinky ... I find that intriguing, especially those fighter pilot guys that fly the choppers in Afghanistan. I know that my character was inspired by a flight that Jim had in someplace cold like Antarctica or something like that. She just lifted the chopper and dumped it right off of a massive glacier, and as he was [making a mess] in his pants, he thought: 'This would make a great character." I thought that was really cool. He's got a license for it.
JP: James Cameron has a license to fly helicopters?
MR: Oh yeah. What doesn't that guy do?
JP: This film is so many years in the making. Has it been hard waiting to see the finished product and the reaction to it?
MR: Exhausting! It's been very exhausting. I mean, as a fan alone, even if I wasn't in the movie I'd still be exhausted by this massive wait. I've always loved everything that [Cameron] does ... You just don't want people's words and expectations to get in the way of your spirit, so it's been pretty frustrating. I just want to see it already.
JP: You described yourself as a "nomadic spirit" in terms of projects, but you did the "Fast & Furious" sequel, so if "Avatar 2" talk starts up, are you game?
MR: I think that would be amazing. If that guy calls me up to be his assistant to serve him coffee for a year, I'm on. He's definitely the type of person that I want to learn from in any aspect. He knows. For anything, I'm there.
Thanks to AMZ Forum Member Furious for contributing this link.
Interview: Michelle Rodriguez on Cameron's Avatar
by Heather Newgen
At the Louis Carreon art exhibit on Friday night in Hollywood, Michelle Rodriguez - a friend of the artist - stopped by to support his latest collection, "New Filth." She was only there a short time, but was cool enough to answer a few questions about her upcoming films Avatar, from director James Cameron, and The Fast and the Furious 4.
ComingSoon.net: How is "Avatar" going?
Michelle Rodriguez: We finished shooting and now they're going to go into post for about a year.
Have you seen any of the footage?
Our audience is really excited about it, so anything you can tell me would be great.
I've seen raw stuff that hasn't even been touched up. It's not even in its second phase of all of the computer post-production that they've got to do, and it looks phenomenal.
How in awe were you of James Cameron?
Let's just put it this way, if my bills weren't so expensive on a monthly basis, I would beg him to become his assistant. I would literally beg him.
How incredible was your experience on the film and with Cameron?
I think he's an amazing guy. I look forward to watching and being a part of anything in his future.
What was the process of shooting on the set like?
Just being surrounded by geniuses. In between cuts we'd just be talking about science. He's an encyclopedia that guy and I love him for it. I just get fed information which is great.
How do you think fans are going to react when they see "Avatar"?
They're going to react the same way they did when people saw their first colored film. I'm so proud to be a part of it.
When do you start shooting "The Fast and the Furious 4"?
I don't know yet. Sometime near the end of the month we'll get on that.
Where is the story going to pick up from?
I'm not sure how much I'm allowed to talk about it so I'm just going to shut up about it.
Do you still watch "Lost"?
I loved being a part of that show. It was great. I've watched a couple of episodes afterwards. I've been pretty busy and I don't really have time to watch TV.