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)
Gina Rodriguez, who stars as Anya in Annihilation, talks about how her goal as an artist has always been to play other characters that will allow her to stretch her wings. She talks about the dynamic between the women in the film and the friendships forged with her co-stars. She reveals how much she learned from Natalie Portman and also dishes on the conversations that will begin as a result of this female-led sci-fi film.