The sisterhood struck on the London set of « Annihilation » is still strong between Portman, Rodriguez and Thompson, reunited in a suite at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel ahead of the film’s Los Angeles world premiere. Sitting side by side on a couch with their legs curled up, the camaraderie came flooding back in waves of laughter and mutual admiration.
« I feel like [‘Annihilation’] is the kind of movie where if you’ve seen it only once you haven’t seen it, » said Thompson. « One of Alex’s references for this film was [Andrei Tarkovsky’s] ‘Stalker,’ which I watched a couple times in anticipation of making this movie, trying to figure out what that film is, and means. It felt like being inside of a meditation. »
« Ooooh! » gasped Rodriguez. « That’s poetic. It’s like being inside of a meditation. » « But you know what I mean? It’s a very meditative, lyrical film and we don’t have a lot of practice as audience members with that kind of content, particularly in American film, » Thompson continued. « I feel like we reject it quickly too, the way they did with Darren Aronofsky’s ‘mother!,’ which I loved, » added Rodriguez, gesticulating to the sky. « I thought it was Jennifer [Lawrence]’s best performance. It made me think for hours. Art that moves you in any which way, whether it’s positively or negatively — it’s working. » Rodriguez’s character Anya, a paramedic with a physical swagger, has an outgoing personality that masks her own addictive personality and deep-seated fears — a theme that resonates in Rodriguez’s own life. « I didn’t realize how much of my personal draw to the character was her reason for going into The Shimmer, » she admitted. « Her reason for going on a suicide mission was running away from her past and her addictive personality, her addictions, and her fear of mental illness, and her fear of losing control of herself ».
« I’m always battling the idea of mental health, » Rodriguez continued. « My fear of it personally, the history of mental health in my family, and not ever really facing it because in my culture we don’t really talk about mental health. I got to actually enter my own fear as an actor. » Also tantalizing for Rodriguez was the chance to step outside her popular « Jane the Virgin » TV alter ego. « Being able to play this very outwardly unafraid badass … was so dope, » she said. « As an artist you want to transform, you want to be anything, you want to be able to be capable of doing anything, and I felt like Alex was telling me I could. »
There was one caveat: She had to shave her head for the role just three days after wrapping on « Jane the Virgin. » « It was very fun to do and also really awful and scary, » she laughed. « It felt like night and day. They cut all my hair off and I was like, ‘Who am I?’ And then Alex was like, ‘Let’s go on a journey of wondering who we are!’ Oh man, it was crazy. » – « She had beautiful long hair, » Portman said , smiling at Rodriguez. « She was hair commercial-perfect. I shaved my head for ‘V for Vendetta’ and I loved it. The first time you feel rain or a shower on your bare head, it’s so magical. You looked so awesome with it! But it was very brave. » « I was very lucky I had them saying that the whole time, » Rodriguez grinned, pointing to her cast mates, « because I needed to hear it. » Thompson smiled slyly. « And a huge contingent of the internet were convinced that she and I were lovers in the movie. » – « I’m not gonna lie — I kind of wanted this, » Rodriguez teased. (source : LATimes)