In ‘Grindhouse,’ Freddy Rodriguez morphs into one fiery little torpedo
He went from playing a befuddled undertaker’s assistant in the cable hit Six Feet Under to slowly becoming a memorable presence on the big screen. His name is Freddy Rodriguez and after watching Grindhouse, the cinematic double whammy from directing titans Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez, you bound to remember him. Last seen playing a compassionate busboy in the critical hit Bobby—he also turned heads playing a struggling immigrant in Fast Food Nation—Rodriguez warp speeds past his typically “Mr. Nice” demeanor to fully embody a machine-gun totin’ wild man opposite sexy siren Rose McGowan in Rodriguez’s segment of Grindhouse. In a round table interview with journalists, Rodriguez bares all.
Q: Were you jealous at all of Rose McGowan’s machine gun leg?
A: Who wouldn’t be jealous of that leg man? That is the coolest thing. No, you know, I was proud of Rose to land a role like that and to get to play such a cool character, you know. I think that’s the one cool thing about Robert and Quentin’s films always is they always have really strong female characters in their films. And so and they always make the females in their films look like such bad asses, you know. And so and I just always have admired that in films so that was cool.
Q: McGowen has a machine gun for a leg. What special powers does your character have?
A: My special power is the power to be a bad ass, you know? You know, he’s just a bare-knuckle bad ass.
Q: I know this movie has kind of an Escape from New York early gritty John Carpenter feel. What your approach was to taking on this character?
A: Well, that’s a good analogy comparing it to Escape from New York because that was definitely one of the films that I watched. That was one of the films that Robert recommended everybody to watch because he wanted to create that tone in this film.
Q: Can you talk about what it was like working with Rodriguez and Tarantino?
A: But what’s so great is they’re so egoless with each other and it’s also kind of this fantastic collaboration and cross pollination. Robert is much more of a visualist and he is obviously extremely cutting edge in terms of his technology. He likes to create at the speed of thought, which is actually something he said to us before. And, you know, the minute we would shoot a scene we would run back to the monitor and he’d already be cutting it together and laying in music and he had a color timing mechanism so that we could see how it would look once they made the movie look like a bad print from the 1970s. He would literally show us what we had just done and direct us and adjust us by literally pointing out what we were doing on the monitor. So, as an actor, you sort of have to get over ourselves in any sort of self-consciousness pretty quickly which I really enjoyed.
Q: And Quentin?
A: Quentin is very old school and, you know, he prefers to shoot on film. He doesn’t even have a monitor. He stands next to the camera and watches the scenes with his naked eye and even much more verbal person. You know, Robert is a man of few words and prefers to just show you things and Quentin likes to talk about it. But I love both.
Q: Well what personally was that transition like for you?
A: Well I played an action hero in this film. And I’ve never done that before in my life. So whereas in Bobby it was, you know, he was kind of a subtle character with a lot of heart. In Grindhouse, the characters and action heroes are badass. You know I had months of training for it and, you know, with guns and knives and fight choreography and physical training. So it was just a completely opposite experience.”
Q: And I got to ask you’re from Chicago so Sox or Cubs?
A: Cubs, man, Cubs.
Q: So, how do you fire a machine gun that’s attached to your leg?
A: It’s Grindhouse man, you know?
Learn more about Greg Archer at gregarcher.com.