Michelle Rodriguez, who co-stars in James Cameron's secretive sci-fi film Avatar, told a group of reporters that the breadth of Cameron's direction was exhausting. "He thinks in 12 dimensions at all times, and that's what I love about him," Rodriguez said in a group interview on Friday in Hollywood, where she was promoting Fast & Furious.
Avatar combines new motion capture, animation and three-dimensional filming technology. Cameron has screened footage for select audiences in the 3-D industry.
The following Q&A features edited excerpts of our interview with the outspoken Rodriguez. Avatar is due in theaters Dec. 18, 2009.
What kind of character do you play in Avatar?
Rodriguez: I'm basically a pilot, a pilot in another planet.
How did you hook up with James Cameron?
Rodriguez: James saw me in Girlfight. It's that movie. It's the only movie I was ever a lead in, and I guess I did a good job, because people watched it and liked it.
What sort of direction does Cameron give you?
Rodriguez: Are you f--king kidding me? That guy is so amazing. You could sit there and you could talk for hours about the advancements in molecular science, or you could sit there and you can talk about mythology and story building, character building. You could talk about cameras, the history of film, history of Russia. You could talk about flying to another planet, you could talk about space research. You could talk about underwater adventures. You could talk about how he constructed special technology for underwater adventures. Or you could sit there and talk to him about how he developed his own fricking cameras with his brother. I mean, like, this guy is a genius.
How does the footage look?
Rodriguez: It's f--king amazing. It's hardcore. I can't even imagine anything bigger. This is the beauty of working with that technology. You just go there and you see what you're interacting with right there, because it's a mixture of live 3-D footage, the props on the set and the virtual world that he spent God knows how long creating.
How would you deal with the high expectations for this film?
Rodriguez: I don't give a rat's ass how people receive whatever we did. I am just incredibly honored to have been seen by him and for him to, like, keep me in mind for a project that he's had for the last, what, eight years? To call me up and say, "Hey, I want you to be a part of this," because everybody was talking so much smack about me [for a DUI arrest in Hawaii, where she was filming Lost], and it's so hard to get a job when all these people are talking s--t about you in the press, just because you're growing up. You know, I used to poop in my pants, too, and I learned how to use the bathroom eventually. People were so hard on me, so it's really important for me to have individuals that get it, that know, that can see in my eyes or see me on screen and know what I'm capable of and not be scared to hire me because of some commercial hoopla that people are saying. That was very important.