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“It’s like, have you ever been to the ghetto, homie?
And in the process, I’ve stereotyped myself.”She pauses, breaking into another smile.I had to put my foot down.”“I basically cried and said, I’m going to quit and, ‘Don’t sue me, please—I’m sorry, but I can’t do this in front of millions of people,’” she continued. ”I dream about being the girl who throws a monster right hook when shit goes down at Race Wars, I answer, earning a high-five.“I fought for that one too!“My whole point in being an actress is that I thought I got to live a dream. I fought for the punch, because they didn’t think a girl would ever get involved,” she said.Michelle Rodriguez might have been a doctor if her family had their way.Instead, the high school dropout from Jersey City turned to acting, broke out as a brooding boxer in Girlfight, and made her Hollywood debut in a B-movie actioner opposite Vin Diesel and Paul Walker, becoming the alpha female of one of the tightest familias in movie history.But when the studio and filmmakers floated the idea of bringing the gang back together as the franchise was rebirthed under director Justin Lin, Letty Ortiz gave fans two of their biggest surprises—a shocking offscreen demise in 2009’s Fast & Furious, and a cathartic return from the dead in the closing moments of 2011’s Fast Five.
She credits Diesel for fighting to keep the core Fast & Furious family together onscreen.
“To love somebody like that, and to be introduced to this game with somebody so genuine, who really lives it… That motherfucker was always complaining about blue screen or any time he smelled something that wasn’t real, because he loved that world. After a tumultuous few years, crafting her own projects and finally stepping out of her comfort zone is a priority.“It’s been 14 years since I’ve been the lead in a movie, since I’ve carried a movie on my own,” she said.
If he was going to shoot a gun in a movie, he learned how to be a sniper. “I’ve just been so shocked by life in the last two years. I’ve kind of made myself a carcass of safety and I’ve protected myself against playing the ‘girlfriend’ or ‘the girl who gets raped and THEN gets empowered,’ ‘the girl who gets empowered and then dies’…
“My brother was just happy that I had a life outside of the ghetto.
He was just happy I wasn’t in jail.” Raised a Jehovah’s Witness, the religion didn’t stick, but the mindset did.
“They just followed the format without thinking about the reality of it.