Michelle Rodriguez doesn't hold back. The Alpha female of the "Fast and Furious" franchise, Rodriguez is known for her tough-girl exterior and her reputation as one of the most outspoken women in Hollywood.
And in a recent interview with NJ.com, the "Furious 7" actress dropped some major truth bombs about the pervasiveness of sexism in Hollywood.
"I have such a strong sense of self, there are certain lines I just won't cross," Rodriguez said. "I'm really picky about the parts I choose. I can't be the slut. I cannot be just the girlfriend. I can't be the girl who gets empowered because she's been raped. I can't be the girl who gets empowered and then dies."
Rodriguez nearly left the "Fast" franchise when she disagreed with the development of her character Leticia "Letty" Ortiz. An earlier version of the 2001 street racing flick had Letty in a love triangle with Dom (Vin Diesel) and Brian (Paul Walker). The idea was later abandoned, after Rodriguez threatened to quit.
"I just said to myself, look, you're going to just have to create your own archetype, doesn't matter if you go broke doing it," she said. "And I almost did go broke, twice! But people finally got it: OK, Michelle is not malleable, you're not going to influence her by shining fame and money at her, and they stopped offering me that sort of stuff. But you know, it's a Catch-22. It's helped me and it's screwed me. I've stuck to my guns and I'm proud and people get it. But I also haven't carried a movie since 'Girlfight.'"
So how do women in Hollywood subvert these tropes and archetypes? According to Rodriguez, it all starts with the writing.
"I remember this script that came over my desk and it's -- I'm not even going to name it, it'll just get me in more trouble -- but I was reading it and at first I wanted to say no, because she's Latina and she's a drug dealer, and that's like the only time you see Latin-Americans in Hollywood pictures," she said. "But I kept reading and I thought, well, some of it is based on truth, and she's kind of an interesting person. And then I turn the page and they've stuck in this rape scene. Which didn't even happen in real life, they just stuck it in there, this made-up thing and I thought, why? Why it is necessary to take her down like that?"
"I mean, like 'Million Dollar Baby' -- why's she got to die at the end, man?" she added. "I mean, I get the tear-jerking, but would you do that to a male character?... Like 80 percent of the writers out there are men, and of course you're going to write what you know. But it's our fault as women for not penetrating that market, you know? I can't complain about the scripts that are out there until I start writing some myself."
So what are you waiting for, Michelle? We're super effing excited for that all-female version of "Reservoir Dogs" you pitched earlier this year.