Battle: Los Angeles - Michelle Rodriguez
Battle: Los Angeles - TSgt Elena Santos (Michelle Rodriguez) © 2011 Columbia TriStar

Best known for her role as Ana Lucia on TV’s Lost, Michelle Rodriguez began her career as the star of the independent movie, Girlfight, and went on to appear in The Fast and the Furious, Battle in Seattle, Blue Crush, S.W.A.T., Control, Machete and Avatar.

In her new movie Battle: Los Angeles she portrays Air Force Tech Sergeant Elena Santos, one of the first to see evidence of an alien invasion. Soon she, along with Staff Sergeant Nantz (Aaron Eckhart) and his platoon, are battling with aliens in L.A. for the survival of the planet.

You not only kick butt in this movie, you are the brains in the outfit as the communications officer – was that fun?

Battle: Los Angeles - Michelle Rodriguez
TSgt Elena Santos (Michelle Rodriguez) © 2011 Columbia TriStar

Yeah, it was definitely a lot of work because my character was thrown in at last minute and she’s basically the solution to a story issue of not having anybody explain the actual process or what the hell’s going on with the invasion.

Because of the fact that I got thrown in literally a month before shooting and it was a last minute deal, there was a lot of training I had to ask for; a lot of craziness as far as researching atmospheric interference and electromagnetic frequencies and how this all comes into play with the invasion.

We have some serious monitoring mechanisms worldwide and America is in the forefront.

Did you do any research with any female military officers for this?

Yes, my rep Angelique is from the Air Force. She’s the PR rep over there at Pendleton and she’s awesome and really cool. She’s pretty much my main female contact over at the Air Force.

They’re going to give me a ride on one of those fighter jets, the massive fast ones, dude!

They’re like, ‘Don’t have any plans for the day after, honey. You’re going to be so tired from the G Force.’ I’m like, ‘Yes! Woo hoo!’

Did you have time to go through Boot Camp with the cast?

Battle: Los Angeles - Michelle Rodriguez
A Marine platoon faces off against an alien invasion in Los Angeles © 2011 Columbia TriStar

Yeah, I did the three weeks. That’s where my abs in Machete come from. I trained with them from five o’clock in the morning to five o’clock in the afternoon and it was 110 degrees every day at that time.

We’d run for two miles and do sit-ups and push-ups, take apart guns, put them back together and infiltrate buildings and rehearse.

Did you want to do all the action stunts yourself?

Did the movie’s director, Jonathan Liebesman, discourage you?

Not at all, I think the only real stunt that the stunt double had to double me was the fall off of the garbage truck, and I did a couple of jumps on my own. It’s fun. I love action.

I love to move my body. Any chance I have to do that in my youth, I’ll definitely jump towards it for sure.

How do you feel about alien invasions? Could they be coming?

Battle: Los Angeles - Michelle Rodriguez
An alien invasion in Los Angeles © 2011 Columbia TriStar

I think that if aliens did exist, they would exist at a higher frequency, and being at a higher frequency you would have to be more evolved than what we consider evolved.

Meaning, if there were aliens, I personally believe they would have to resonate at a higher frequency to be able to time travel or to blink in and out of [our] dimension.

I think humans are stupid. We fight and kill each other. I think that’s dumb and aliens would be smarter than that and wouldn’t approach things on that level.

You’ve been acting for about ten years since Girlfight. Do you have a game plan?

Yeah, I’d like to move into comedy. Right now I’m writing. I got into the business in the first place to write and I just didn’t have the balls to do it.

Finally, now, I’m like, ‘If I don’t get all of these crazy, insane ideas out of my brain, I’m going to be schizophrenic.’

It’s really all about manifesting that, so I am at the Girlfight stage. It’s like starting a whole, entirely new career. For me, it’s very scary but beautiful at the same time. It gives me something to look forward to tomorrow.

Is what you’re writing a comedy?

What I’m fifty pages into is more along the lines of a Pulp Fiction-esque kind of vibe. Surrealism is definitely what I’m perusing at the moment.

Do you ever worry about being locked into your kiss ass image?

I don’t mind it because I did manifest my own destiny. It’s my fault because I don’t like weak women and I don’t find it interesting to play them. I’m inspired by them when I see them in dramas.

For instance, Natalie Portman in almost every movie she’s in. It’s awesome that chicks can really go there and it’s beautiful to watch but I don’t think I’m interested in any way, shape or form, in embodying those creatures.

I don’t find it intriguing in any way as far as being in the business and working. It’s not my thing. There’s something about strength that I really admire that I failed to see a lot of when I was growing up and I guess I was so adamant in the last ten years of embodying that, that I lost sight of the big picture, which is versatility.


Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.