Gina Rodriguez is no stranger to a fight. Inside the boxing ring, she’s trained in muay Thai. Outside the boxing ring, she’s a Latina in Hollywood who’s been fighting for inclusivity for as long as she can remember. And with her next film, Miss Bala, she’ll combine both of those skills to become an action star.
“I had been dying to do action for so long, and it’s very difficult because people of color don’t have as many opportunities,” the actress tells EW. “And that’s not even like a ‘Woe is me.’ That’s just a reality, and that’s okay. That has been a reality of mine for many, many, many years. [With Miss Bala], Sony made a big-budget action film with a 95 percent Latinx cast and 95 percent Latinx production crew. It’s revolutionary. It’s just really great to live in these spaces that for so long I didn’t have the opportunity to.”
The Jane the Virgin star plays Gloria in Miss Bala — for which EW has the exclusive trailer and first-look photos — a remake of the 2011 film, in which Rodriguez’s character travels to Tijuana after the death of her parents. There, she’s forced to work for a crime boss after witnessing a murder. And to make matters worse, the crime boss also kidnaps Gloria’s best friend. So not only does Gloria have to figure out how to save herself, but she also has to figure out how to save the one person she considers her family.
“It’s a reconceptualizing of the original film, and it’s more modern,” Rodriguez says. “[Gloria is] someone that’s actively trying to save herself and her family. I think that’s really amazing because a lot of the women in my life, they actively work toward keeping their families safe, and they actively try to fix situations. There’s no woman I know in my life that just sits back. Women aren’t necessarily always portrayed as proactively trying to save ourselves in action films. It’s very empowering to see those stories because I know that’s what the women in my life do.”
The remake is directed by Catherine Hardwicke and follows Gloria as she fights to free herself (and her best friend) from an extremely dangerous situation. The result is what Rodriguez calls a “classic action roller coaster,” but despite the title translating to “Miss Bullet,” Gloria uses more than just guns to get herself out of the aforementioned situation.
“It’s a very realistic protecting of herself,” Rodriguez says of Gloria. “She uses her smarts, she uses her savvy. She uses many tools, and I feel like that is so what women do. We have so many different tools. We use it all — the illogical and the logical, the emotional and the rational. And it’s really incredible that we are capable of that.”
Rodriguez knows what it’s like to use many different tools to win a fight, and as far as her career is concerned, Miss Bala represents more than just her chance to be an action hero. “The opportunity to make this with my fellow Latinos and Latinas was next-level,” she says. “I’m like, ‘They’re going to let us do this?! They’re going to let us be in front of and behind the camera and they’re going to give us money to make this?!’ This is inclusivity. This is what I’m talking about.”
Watch the full trailer for Miss Bala, which hits theaters Feb. 1, and check out the film’s poster.