Michelle Rodriguez on Picking Her Roles: ‘I Can’t Be the Slut’ or Girl Who’s ‘Been Raped’

Despite the impact it may have had on her career, holding her back from bigger opportunities, Michelle Rodriguez won’t settle for just any role. In fact, the Fast and the Furious star has a long list of characters she refuses to play on-screen.

Michelle Rodriguez on Paul Walker's Death
Michelle Rodriguez opens up about laugher after Paul Walker's death.

In an interview with NJ.com, Rodriguez chats about Furious 7, Paul Walker and her fluctuating career.

“I’m really picky about the parts I choose.” the 36-year-old reveals. “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.”

She says so many of the roles for actresses wouldn’t cut it for men. “I mean, I get the tear-jerking, but would you do that to a male character?” she continues, referring to women dying at the end of a film. “I mean like 80% 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.”

However, that doesn’t mean she’ll still accept the role. Instead, she’s created her own archetype.

“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 recalled. “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.”

She adds, “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.”

Rodriguez did land an important role with a cast she now calls her family — including the late Paul Walker, a death she still has a hard time dealing with. So when she found out they were going to continue filming Furious 7, she wasn’t sure how things would go.

“Once we went forward, I was really, really surprised at the class that everybody showed, and the dedication that everybody showed, and the way it really became about the maintenance of a legacy,” she revealed. “But everyone came at this like, ‘This is the last time we’ll see this guy on the screen and this is going to be in every way dedicated to him.’ And when I finally saw the movie, I gave like this big breath of relief, and I was really proud, because it really did turn into this homage.”