Génesis Rodríguez – Big Hero 6

November 7, 2014 by  
Filed under Chaléwood, Interviews

As the quirky chemistry whiz Honey Lemon, one of the six superheroes at the center of the new Walt Disney animated film “Big Hero 6,” actress Génesis Rodríguez is excited to be a part of the Marvel Universe. In the film, Honey Lemon joins up with a team of university student scientists – and a fluffy robot named Baymax – to uncover the identity of a supervillain threatening the city of San Fransokyo. During an interview with me at the Walt Disney Animation Studios in Hollywood a few weeks ago, I spoke with Rodríguez about the inspiration for her character and the sort of “Big Hero 6” collectables she’s hoping to get her hands on very soon.

Genesis Rodriguez – Tusk

September 19, 2014 by  
Filed under Chaléwood, Interviews

In filmmaker Kevin Smith’s new horror/comedy “Tusk,” actress Genesis Rodriguez plays Ally Leon, the girlfriend of an insensitive podcaster named Wallace (Justin Long), who finds himself in a dire situation when he goes missing during a work trip to Canada. When Ally and podcast co-host Teddy (Haley Joel Osment) receive a phone message from a terrified Wallace, they try to track him down with the help of Guy LaPointe (Johnny Depp), an eccentric private investigator on the trail of a serial killer.

During an interview with me last week, Rodriguez, 27, who recently starred in such films as “Identity Thief” and “The Last Stand,” talked about why she became so obsessed with Kevin Smith’s screenplay and why she couldn’t look actor Justin Long in the face during certain scenes of the movie.

“Tusk” and Kevin Smith’s last film “Red State” are so different from what his fans are used to seeing from him in the last 20 years. Were you excited to see what he could do with a film like this?

Yeah, I mean, this is like the Renaissance of Kevin Smith. This is a complete rebirth. I really fell in love with this movie. It’s just the most bizarre, creative, original, incredible story. Kevin is the best boss anyone could have. It’s just so much fun to be a part of Kevin Smith’s world.

When you first read the script, what kind of reactions did you have? Did you laugh? Were you in shock?

I was laughing. I was in shock. I became obsessed with it. I had so many different feelings. The awful thing about it is that I read the script at midnight and couldn’t go to sleep. But, yeah, I became obsessed with this movie! I started writing emails to my manager saying, “I need to be in this effin’ movie right now!” My manager sent that over to the producer and they gave me the part. It’s been mindblowing to be a part of something I think is going to be a cult favorite. It’s just so different and odd and wonderful.

And pretty original, I have to say. I mean, it did remind me of a few other films, but then the movie goes completely insane.

Yeah, this is definitely not a remake or anything like that. I am very proud of that. This is what making movies is all about. It’s not about retelling the same story. It was inspiring for me to be a part of this. I’m excited for people to go see this movie in the theater because they’re going to have an experience.

You have a really emotionally revealing monologue in the film where you’re looking into the camera and apologizing for some of your character’s indiscretions. I’m assuming that had to be your most challenging scene, yes?

It was challenging, but it wasn’t hard to get to the emotion. The words fed me the emotion. I was so nervous that day. I was given that monologue the day of shooting. I had no idea I was going to do that scene. They put it at the end of the day so I could memorize it. It seems so planned out, but it wasn’t.

What message do you think a film like this is trying to say about human nature and how someone can evolve and change over the years? Or maybe you think it’s saying something else.

I think the message is about how man and animal are so alike. I think another message is that having success and fame spontaneously can come back and get you. I mean, Justin’s character is a podcaster who makes a living making fun of people. Karma got back to him in a very awful way. There is a message about how we can really lose ourselves and lose our humanity in our day to day life.

Would a podcast like the one Justin’s character hosts be something you’d listen to in real life?

The podcasts I listen to are like the SModcast that Kevin does. Those are my favorite. I also like The Nerdist and Neil deGrasse’s podcast and the Tech Talk podcast. I like to learn about things. I don’t think I could listen to someone bashing other people. That’s not my type of humor. It’s so cruel.

Talk about working with Johnny Depp and the scenes you share with him. His character Guy Lapointe is something else.

Oh my God. That was so awesome. I feel like Guy Lapointe lives and breathes and actually exists. He is so real and strange and different. He gave that character so much life. It was just so great to see him work and transform into this other being. The way he looks and talks and everything he does was so well thought out.

How were you able to interact with Justin during the scenes when he was transformed?

It was really, really hard to because it was so disturbing. I really couldn’t talk to him that much. I felt really bad for him. I felt really, really bad.

You’re explaining how hard it was for you, so I can’t even imagine how difficult it was for him, even to physically be able to perform in the state he was in.

Yeah, I mean, he can do so much with his eyes. I saw him during those scenes as fearful and animalistic. He was really in the zone. It was hard to look at him when he was in that zone because I felt so bad. It really was a hard job to be a walrus.

Genesis Rodriguez – Identity Thief

February 8, 2013 by  
Filed under Chaléwood, Interviews

It’s been a busy first half of the year for actress Genesis Rodriguez. Along with her role in “The Last Stand” last month, Rodriguez, 25, stars in the new February film “Identity Thief” with Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy. In the comedy, Rodriguez plays Marisol, a crime associate who tracks down McCarthy’s character after she scams her boss.

Who are most of your scenes with?

Most of my scenes are with [actor] T.I. (Tip Harris). He’s my partner in crime. I took it upon myself to be the chief. I think it was smart for his character not to mess with the feisty Latina.

Did the chemistry with T.I. have to be present from the beginning?

Yeah, [the chemistry] just happened. He’s just such a likeable guy. He’s a great actor and so willing to work. You just need actors like that to give the best of themselves. Fortunately, both of us got to work with Jason and Melissa quite a bit. It was absolutely wonderful to be a part of this movie.

This is your third comedy since last year. Is the genre starting to feel natural to you?

Nothing will feel natural to me, especially when I play a badass. I’m not a badass at all. But I do like to challenge myself. This is all a part of acting. Playing someone that you’re not and doing things you’re not necessarily comfortable with.

Would you say you have a sense of humor?

I do have a silly and goofy sense of humor. I don’t take myself seriously. I never will. I think people who take themselves too serious are not living their life to the fullest. If you can laugh at yourself, then you can enjoy life so much more.

Because this is your third comedy, do you have a better sense of comedic timing and what makes scenes funny?

Definitely. You go in and see these great comedians work and do their craft. It’s wonderful to be able to study them. For me, it’s all about the timing and rhythm and not overselling the joke. You have to be natural with it.

Why do you think it was a good idea to turn something as serious as identity theft into something more lighthearted and comedic?

I think taking a subject like this will make more people aware of it, even if it is in a funny way. I think it’s good to bring this awareness out.

What would you do if someone was pretending to be Genesis Rodríguez?

Well, I actually had a little bit of a scare a couple of months ago. I got an email from Best Buy saying I bought a computer and a TV. Basically it was charged to my account. There was another Genesis Rodríguez in Sacramento who made the purchase. It freaked me out. I had to call the company and tell them it wasn’t me. They rectified it and charged it to the right person. Something like that can happen to anybody.

I read that you are a huge “Star Wars” fan. Now that we know J.J. Abrams is going to be directing the next installment, what part would you like to play in the movie if given the opportunity?

Oh my God. We have to start a campaign to get me into this movie. I’m so excited! I do not care. I would take anything. I don’t care if I’m green or a Jedi or even if I have to wear a suit. I just want to be in it.

So playing a Storm Trooper would be fine with you?

Oh my god, yes!

The Last Stand

January 19, 2013 by  
Filed under Cody, Reviews

Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Forest Whitaker, Johnny Knoxville
Directed by: Kim Ji-Woon (“I Saw The Devil”)
Written by: Andrew Knauer (debut)

After spending eight years as the Governor of California, action-star Arnold Schwarzenegger returns to the big screen in “The Last Stand.” When a dangerous druglord escapes the custody of the FBI during transportation, he devises a plot to escape to the US/Mexico border through the quiet, small town of Summerton Junction. When former LAPD cop and current Sherriff Ray Owens (Schwarzenegger) finds out, he decides to round up a small team and do everything he can to stop the dangerous criminal.

Schwarzenegger returns to the screen with the type of charisma that made him a bonafide action star in the 80s and 90s. Of course, with that comes unintelligible lines and some very poorly acted scenes, but that is ultimately part of the package and really the charm of his performances. The cast is rounded out with a few comedic actors to wedge between the violence. Luis Guzman and Johnny Knoxville both get a few decent one-liners out but don’t really add much to the film overall.

In his previous Korean films, most notably in “The Good, the Bad, the Weird,” director Kim Ji-Woon has shown a great knack for constructing unique and exceedingly entertaining action sequences. In his American debut, Ji-Woon sticks mostly to car chases, flying bullets and blood spray. While a few scenes of excessive violence are amusing, the amount of action and pure fun never quite reaches the levels seen in previous films. In fact, the mayhem is pretty standard fare when compared to his other projects.

The introduction of the “escaped fugitive” plot is where the film begins to lose steam. What is supposed to be a captivating creative action sequence is actually quite boring. From here, the film begins to become stale. Bad plots, (complete with massive holes), bad dialogue, and even a few scenes of shoehorned and inauthentic emotion plague most of the movie. The final showdown of the film, while the best part of the movie, is also ultimately a let down.

With his rising age and lack of acting chops, it will be interesting to see where Schwarzenegger’s career will go from here. “The Last Stand” wears out it’s jokes at the expense of Arnold’s age, so any forthcoming reference in other films will be immediately passé. While “The Last Stand” delivers on its promise of gunfire and explosions, it does so in unimpressive and unmemorable fashion. While Schwarzenegger’s presence is entertaining, the story just isn’t interesting enough.

Genesis Rodriguez – The Last Stand

January 19, 2013 by  
Filed under Chaléwood, Interviews

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.

Génesis Rodríguez – Casa de mi Padre

March 16, 2012 by  
Filed under Chaléwood, Interviews

As exaggerated as some telenovelas are, actress Génesis Rodríguez is a big fan of the genre. Not only did she start her career on TV shows like “Prisionera” and “Doña Barbara,” her experience working on these types of series has prepared her for her role in “Casa de mi Padre,” a Spanish-language comedy starring Will Ferrell (“Step Brothers”).

“In novelas, sometimes you get the most ridiculous situations, but you make the best of it,” Rodríguez, 24, told me during an interview last week. “But novelas are a very special genre. That’s why they’re still alive today. When you see some of that drama happening, you just want to sit down and watch.”

In “Casa de mi Padre,” Rodríguez plays Sonia, the love interest of Armando Álvarez (Ferrell), who is caught in the middle of a drug war between her fiancé Raul (Diego Luna) and drug lord Onza (Gael García Bernal).

During our interview, Rodríguez, who is of Cuban and Venezuelan heritage, talked about tapping into the humor of a scene by taking it extremely serious, and shared what she thinks is the most macho thing about Will Ferrell.

Did you feel like there were some obvious similarities with “Casa de mi Padre” and some of the Spanish-language novelas you starred in at the beginning of your career?

Well, the situations and characters were very different. My character in “Casa de mi Padre” is an ambitious woman. I had never played that kind of character before. I knew what kind of genre “Casa de mi Padre” was going for. But my character, specifically, I think is very real. There are a lot of extravagant characters in the movie and I think Sonia is the anchor for all of them.

A lot of people would say novelas are made to be overly dramatic and exaggerated. Do you think that’s what “Casa de mi Padre” was trying to do?

I think what we were trying to do is be extremely serious and let that extreme seriousness come off as funny. It might be ridiculous dialogue, but if you say it extremely serious that’s what makes it so funny. I think what we were trying to do is play the actors who act in telenovelas. Those actors go for it and take it serious.

The movie poster for “Casa de mi Padre” is epic – you thrust into the arms of Will Ferrell. What did you think when you first saw it?

It was a surreal moment for me. It’s the first movie I ever did and I’m Will Ferrell leading lady! I couldn’t be more honored. Will is an incredible human being and an incredible actor. I was a huge fan before I ever got to work with him.

Did you feel safe in the arms of someone so manly?

(Laughs) Absolutely. I think anyone who sees that poster can feel the macho through the paper.

So, what is the most macho thing about Will Ferrell?

He knows how to use a gun and ride fake horses! And he can woo you by singing.

What impressed you the most about him learning how to speak Spanish for his role?

He took it so seriously! He wasn’t messing around. He wanted to be the most authentic Mexican possible. He didn’t want to be an American speaking Spanish with an American accent. He wanted to have a Mexican accent. That’s what was the most impressive to me. To see someone who doesn’t know the language well dominate that cadence was very impressive and incredible.

Did you get to help him with any of his lines?

He would ask me, “Hey, why is this word feminine and this word masculine?” He wanted to learn more about the language. He wanted to learn all these little things because he would improvise his lines on us. We were sticking to the script and he would add to it and it would blow us out of the water.

You started in Spanish-language TV but have since moved to American TV and movies. Was it a goal of yours as a working actress to make it to Hollywood?

For me it was always a dream to be in the mainstream market. But I grew up bicultural and bilingual. I remember as a kid watching [the telenovela] “Luz Clarita” and wanting to be in it. But I would also watch a movie like “E.T.” and wanted to be Drew Barrymore, too. I wanted the best of both worlds.