Last year, one of the highlights of the ten days or so I spent at Fantastic Fest was the evening of the Fantastic Feuds. If you haven’t read about them, it’s a series of debates/boxing matches, and the main event this year was between Michelle Rodriguez, the scrappy star of “Girl Fight” and “Avatar,” and Tim League, the founder/owner of the Alamo Drafthouse. Tim spent months smack-talking “Avatar,” and Michelle showed up to make him eat his words.
You see that look on Michelle’s face in the photo that we ran with the story? That’s the look she got on her face the moment I walked into the room for our interview and told her that Tim was ready for a rematch. He’s not. He’s never indicated to me that he wants to get back in the ring with her. But I’m not above stirring the pot a little to get an interview off on the right foot, and in this case, as soon as I got her laughing, Michelle was a delight.
I find it funny that she’s always cast as such a flinty-eyed hardass in movies, because she comes across completely different in person. She’s warm, she’s funny, she seems predisposed to laughter. One day, some filmmaker’s going to capture that side of her on film and we’re going to see a whole new career open up for her. I can’t wait to see that happen, and while our chat was typically short, it was a pure pleasure.
I also sat down with Michael Pena and Bridget Moynahan, who play civilians who get caught up in the action, and talked to them about how it feels to be in a military movie where you’re not asked to do any military training at all. I first interviewed Pena for “Observe and Report,” and I hope Jody Hill casts Michael in everything he ever makes. It sounds like he’s proud of “30 Minutes Or Less,” the comedy he’s in later this year, and it’s always good to see him at a press day because I know I’ll get something genuine out of him.
I’ll have my review of the film up as soon as the embargo is removed, so keep your eyes here. In the meantime, I’m on a plane to Vegas, and it looks like I’ll be spending a night out at Area 51 before I head to Austin for SXSW later this week.
“Battle: Los Angeles” opens everywhere this Friday.