Actress Martha Higareda never had the opportunity to play a character like the one offered to her in “Smokin’ Aces 2: Assassins’ Ball,” a prequel to the action movie released in 2006. In the film, which was just released on DVD and Blu-ray Jan. 19, Higareda plays Ariella Martínez, a seductive female assassin who uses her sex appeal to try and kill an employee of the FBI.
Higareda, who is originally from Tabasco, México, started her professional acting career in 2002 in a number of small Mexican projects before landing a role in David Ayers’ 2008 crime drama “Street Kings” opposite Keanu Reeves.
During an interview with me, Higareda, 26, talked about taking on her first action role and how she managed to match the heavy testosterone from her male co-stars while on the set.
How fun was it to play a character that basically kicked butt?
I was really excited about being in this movie because I have never played an action character in my career. Usually, you will see me in a drama playing the good girl. I was really excited to learn how to shoot and to do all the things I did in the movie. I really enjoyed killing people. It was a lot of fun.
Did you surprise yourself on any aspect while you were making this movie since it is such a high-energy role?
I never thought I was going to be able to shoot a gun. For me this was a whole new aspect of being an actress. I ended up liking it a lot. We had such an incredible crew that was behind us all the time. The guy who was teaching us how to use [a] gun had trained Angelina Jolie in some of her movies.
And you were doing all of this in high heels, right?
Yeah, running around in heels and a mini skirt and trying to be sexy at the same time. I never thought I was going to be able to do that in my life. I liked the first “Smokin’ Aces” and this one really blew my mind. I can’t wait to do my next action project.
Since you don’t have a lot of experience with action movies, what did you think about the violence?
I’ve always enjoyed going to the theater to watch action movies. With “Smokin’ Aces 2” there is comedy and sarcasm to it. I like action movies where you can laugh at something that you wouldn’t laugh at in a normal situation. Watching this movie, I was like, “Oh! I can’t believe I just saw that and I can’t believe I’m laughing!”
You’re a petite girl at only 5’3. Did you ever feel intimidated on the set around all these big guys, especially someone like actor Vinnie Jones?
Vinnie Jones is super tall! When I first met him I thought to myself, “Wow, how are we going to do these scenes?” Then I thought, “Well, there’s nothing an apple box can’t fix.” So, it worked out.
So, you and actress Autumn Reeser didn’t have too much trouble adding a little femininity to all that testosterone on set?
The women brought a lot to the movie because we were strong. I did feel that testosterone. We would have contests on set to see who had the biggest guns.
What about the biggest bruises? Did you get hurt at all?
I got so many bruises on my knees! There were things blowing up all the time around us. I was falling all over the place. We would compare bruises with each other every day.
The sex appeal of your character is evident with some of the revealing clothes you wear in this movie. When did you feel the sexiest on set?
I felt the most when I was wearing this leather bikini. I looked at myself in my trailer and I thought, “Oh no, my dad is going to kill me!” But I just thought I would have fun with it.