In “The Last Stand,” actress Genesis Rodriguez (“Casa de mi padre”), 25, stars as Ellen Richards, a special agent caught up in the escape of a dangerous drug dealer who is trying to escape into Mexico. The film marks action star Arnold Schwarzenegger’s’ first lead role since the 2003 sequel “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.” During an interview with me, Rodriguez, who is Cuban and Venezuelan, talked about earning roles based on her heritage and what makes Schwarzenegger such a star.
How did you get involved in “The Last Stand?”
Luckily, I had worked before with one of the producers on “Man on a Ledge,” so it was an easier process. I went in knowing they knew what I could do. The audition was pressure free. I felt really comfortable and got the part.
What did you like about your character Agent Ellen Richards?
What drew me to the part was I love the fact that she was a mainstream character with an American name. She didn’t have a Lopez or Rodriguez attached to her.
Why is it important to you to play characters that are not necessarily Latina?
I’m bicultural and everyone sees me as a Latina, but in my head I see myself as both Latina and American. It’s very important to me that people see I am an American and I was born in the states. I love my [Latino] roots and customs, but I’m here to represent an new generation of Latinos who were born in the states, are bilingual and consider themselves as mainstream as anyone else. I hope when Latinos see me playing a mainstream character, they’re proud of that.
How did Arnold do in his first lead role since 2003?
He is so awesome, man! I’m a huge fan of Arnold. This is a high-octane, stunt-driven movie. There is a lot of action and brilliant camerawork by [director] Kim Jee-woon. It’s an action movie for everyone. It’s not just for the boys. This is exactly the way I want to see him come back to films. I was very exciting to be a part of it.
At 65, do you still see Arnold as an action star or does there have to be an evolution that comes with his age?
Well, I know in “The Last Stand” he is kind of poking fun at himself. I find that humor so sweet and endearing. Obviously, he’s in a different stage in his life so he’s going to come out with an action film that is in a different light. But he’s still a badass. He should still be seen as the biggest action star out there. I see him as that no matter what.