We Talk with Michelle Rodriguez on the 'Resident Evil: Retribution' Set


You almost need a scorecard to keep track of the developments on Resident Evil: Retribution. Characters who were dead are miraculously back. There are fresh faces joining Alice in her cause. And former allies are now enemies. Actress Michelle Rodriguez's Rain falls into two of those categories. Missing in action since she was transformed into a zombie and shot in the head in the original Resident Evil, a human Rain currently seems to be in cahoots with the nefarious Umbrella Corporation. It's all very mysterious, so Rodriguez, who was wearing a one-piece black cyber-scanning outfit, decided to set the record straight on what the hell is going on!


How does it feel to be back for this installment after so much time?

I know! 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."

I was going to say, that's not necessarily sci-fi if, you consider the ending of Fast Five.

Yeah, that's Vin's handiwork right there. Love him.

We talked to Oded Fehr a little bit earlier and he was saying how you're playing a dual role in this movie and how you're defying your usual roles and playing that up a bit. Can you talk more about that?

Yeah, that was fun. Well, basically Paul's original idea was a UPS worker as one of the clones. Then we got together and started brainstorming. 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 nice and feminine, Michelle?" And I was like, "Yes, that would be nice before I wrinkle up and can't use it anymore." So, I threw on some high heels, added a nice little hippy twist to the whole thing and the next thing you know, I'm driving a Prius in Zombieland. It was pretty cool.

What are some of the challenges of oscillating back and forth between "Good Rain" and "Bad Rain"?

You know, I find it kind of fun. I've played the same character for so long that it's kind of like 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 is curious. I kind of feel like an audience member playing that character because I'm like, "What the hell is going on here? Why are you dressed like some superhero? Why are there dead people walking the streets?"

Is it played for comedy a bit?

A little bit. I think it's more of the audience's perspective. That's what the character really represents.

What would you say the screen-time ratio is between "Good Rain" and "Bad Rain" then?

More "Bad Rain." She just gets more action, by a mile.

So we're essentially seeing the Raccoon Outbreak through your eyes in some respects.

In some respects, yes, for sure.

I'm trying to piece together the plot.

Ha! Good luck! When I first sat down for lunch with Paul, I had absolutely no idea what the plot line was about. As soon as he came out with the clone thing, I was like "Duh! I can't believe I didn't think of that!" I was like, "That's such a great, great way to bring back as many people as you want."

Did you monitor the fan reaction because as soon as your name was attached to the project, the fan boards lit up.  Did you kind of think "Holy shit, I was just in the first movie; I didn't know Rain was going to be that significant of a character to the fans."

Yeah, I had absolutely no clue. I was completely psyched  to hear that I was coming back and that the fans were down for it.

Coming back to the fifth one, after being away, what strikes you as the biggest differences between being on set for part one and for this one?

It has more of an action movie feel nowadays. Back then, it was way more sci-fi. You could really feel the sci-fi everywhere. (laughs) It just feels more like an action movie than the prior films.  I think that's the direction Paul is going for anyway. It's kind of cool.

The enthusiasm doesn't seem to have waned over the last decade either.

You know what I think it is? 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.

Why do you think that is?

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. I'm like, "Kill the people! They suck! Not the animals, not the kids, but all the adults must die!"  

We get the idea that Alice is jumping around the globe a bit in this movie. Without getting into too much detail, what is the throughline for "Bad Rain" here?

I think for the most part she's pretty much being controlled completely by the Umbrella Corporation. I feel like the epitome of her existence is to protect and serve. She's very mechanical, very straight-forward and very matter-of-fact. There really isn't any human kind of sensibility behind "Bad Rain." She's just a machine.

Is she chasing Alice?

Yeah, she just wants to take her down because that's the order she was given.

We just saw you inject something into your neck on set. What was that?

Yes! Las Plagas! That makes me super-human. Bullets? What are those? Ha ha ha! I eat bullets!

What's your favorite power that happens from the injection?

 Eating 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. 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.

Can we talk about your weapons training? You pretty much have a gun in every movie that you do, which is awesome.

They've got the MP5 in this one. They've got these really awesome guns. I can't believe I forgot the name of it, but they have them in Modern Warfare too. It's a machine gun, but the clip…It's a semi-automatic sub-machine gun. The magazine is on the top of it and you kind of flip it over to the side. They let us shoot that one which was pretty fun. They have the MP5 and the M4 with a grenade launcher. They modified a lot of the guns to make them look cooler too The boys get to shoot a massive Magnum. I remember shooting a .50 caliber Magnum and it gave me this massive bruise here for a week. It was huge! That thing is a cannon. And it's very accurate. I guess it's because it's so big. Sorry. I wouldn't miss a target shooting with that thing, but it hurts like a mofu. Anyway, one of the boys has one.

What about the training?

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 the last four days with a massive fight sequence that has about 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 some ass and taking some names.

At this point in your career, when you go on to another action movie where you're using a lot of firearms, do you have to do gun training?

I have a lot of experience firing weapons; I suck at firing weapons. I'm a really bad aim. I'm much better at taking them apart and putting them back together than actually shooting them.  I don't know why. But yeah, I go to the range myself a lot too, just to goof off because I like to have fun. The majority of the time, I already know my way around the weapons, so it's nothing really that new.

Are you enjoying Modern Warfare 3?

I LOVE that damn game. Jesus Christ, it's so good. But I hear Battlefield 3 is better but I haven't tried it yet.

How does the action in this compare to the stuff you've done on The Fast and the Furious movies and some of the other action films?

You get a lot more moves. You get a lot more action on this one, for sure. I think for the most part, it's because everyone is Cujo and superhuman, kind of, so you get to do all this cool shit and get away with it. In an action movie, the grand majority of the time they give me some action, but I don't get to have any of the real fun. Mostly the stunt doubles do all the cool stuff.  I get the car, I get to hang out on top of the gas tanker at 20 MPH, and my stunt double gets to do it at 40. She has all the fun and I get to look like I did it.

Are there any other film projects coming up that you're excited about?

Yeah, Fast and Furious is pretty much what I've got my sights set on for the next year and if "Res" does well, maybe I'll pop back in for another one. Who knows? I don't know if I'll come back or not, but the possibilities are definitely there. And the same thing with Fast and 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 because they're scared, I guess. The money situation in the States isn't so keen right now. Our dollar is shitty, 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 franchises that want me back.

You said you were chasing Alice in this movie. Is Jill your partner in crime as well?

 Actually, Jill is my boss. She's basically the one who tells me what to do and I just do it. Like a computer, I just register it and do it.