Michelle Rodriguez’s lead role in the 2000 film Girlfight turned her into an overnight star and earned her awards and nominations from the National Board of Review, the Independent Spirit Awards, the Gotham Awards and the Chicago Film Critics Association. But Rodriguez hasn’t had a lead role in a movie since she starred in that film and in a new interview, the Fast 7 star is opening up about why that is.
I have such a strong sense of self, there are certain lines I just wont cross. Im really picky about the parts I choose,” Rodriguez tells NJ.com. “I cant be the slut. I cannot be just the girlfriend. I cant be the girl who gets empowered because shes been raped…I cant be the girl who gets empowered and then dies. So I just said to myself, Look, youre going to just have to create your own archetype, doesnt matter if you go broke doing it.’
The Dominican and Puerto Rican actress still managed to become one of the biggest (and highest paid!) Latina movie stars on the planet by playing badass women in films like Resident Evil (2002), S.W.A.T. (2003), James Cameron’s Avatar (2009) and of course, badass street racer and mechanic Letty Ortiz in The Fast and The Furious franchise — but Rodriguez admits that her decision to pass on sexist roles in Hollywood came at a price.
“I almost did go broke, twice!” she reveals. “But people finally got it: OK, Michelle is not malleable, youre not going to influence her by shining fame and money at her, and they stopped offering me that sort of stuffBut you know, its a Catch-22. Its helped me and its screwed me. Ive stuck to my guns and Im proud and people get it. But I also havent carried a movie since Girlfight, she says.
Rodriguez says the shortage of great roles for women in Hollywood has to do with the fact that there aren’t enough female screenwriters in the industry. “80% of the writers out there are men, and of course youre going to write what you know. But its our fault as women for not penetrating that market, you know? I cant complain about the scripts that are out there until I start writing some myself,” she says.
Furious 7 hits theaters on Friday.
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