Category: Photoshoots

Press/Photos/Videos: The Wrap Interview + Photo Sessions

Evan Rachel Wood, Gina Rodriguez and Other Stars Take Aim at TV’s Patriarchy: ‘There’s No Going Back’
TheWrap Emmy magazine: Zazie Beetz, Alison Brie, Rachel Brosnahan, Claire Foy, Gina Rodriguez, Yara Shahidi and Evan Rachel Wood talk about “laying the truth down”

Video Clips:

Video Clip #1

This story first appeared as the cover story in the Race Begins issue of TheWrap’s Emmy magazine.

It’s a different day for Hollywood, and for our culture. From the time allegations of sexual misbehavior rained down on mogul Harvey Weinstein last October, this business and many others have been rocked by revelations and allegations, and by a sense that the time is long overdue to afford women equal respect and equal opportunities rather than treating them like commodities.

In this climate — with hashtags like #MeToo and organizations like Time’s Up working to affect real change — TheWrap convened seven television actresses to discuss what they’ve experienced in their careers, what they’ve seen in the last nine months and where they’d like things to go from here.

TheWrap’s Sharon Waxman and Beatrice Verhoeven asked the questions; Zazie Beetz from “Atlanta,” Alison Brie from “GLOW,” Rachel Brosnahan from “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” Claire Foy from “The Crown,” Gina Rodriguez from “Jane the Virgin,” Yara Shahidi from “black-ish” and “grown-ish” and Evan Rachel Wood from “Westworld” answered them.

What does it feel like for all of you at this particular moment in time, with everything that has happened over the last eight or nine months? Are you mindful of the politics going on around you in Hollywood and in the wider world?
ALISON BRIE Well, there’s no way to ignore what’s going on in our industry these days. That’s why I feel lucky and grateful to be working on a feminist show where we have female showrunners, so many women on the crew and six out of 10 of our directors are women.

That’s something about “GLOW” that I find really amazing and fascinating: We have a cast of 14 women in Season 1, 15 women in Season 2, of all shapes and sizes and ages and socioeconomic backgrounds. They’re interesting, in-depth characters. Their lives revolve around things other than men and being single.

I was talking yesterday with Gillian Jacobs from “Love” about how different it can be shooting a romantic scene when you’re working with a female director. You’re more involved with the way you’re being commodified on the show, which is helpful.

YARA SHAHIDI It’s extremely powerful and inspiring to turn on the TV and see Issa Rae on the show she created, to see Laverne Cox, to see all these women leading shows. Whether it’s cable or [broadcast] television, I feel like we are seeing a difference, and I think it’s partially because the audience is now expecting it. But we’re not nearly there yet.

We are seeing more shows — like Rachel’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” — about female awakening.
RACHEL BROSNAHAN At its core, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” is a story about a woman finding a voice that she didn’t know she had. And that becomes more and more relevant every single day. We’re seeing so many different groups of people in the country finding their voices.

It’s not something that I was necessarily aware of as we were making it, but it’s a huge gift to play this fully realized, completely three-dimensional, complicated, flawed woman.

SHAHIDI We’re definitely seeing more complex roles. It’s less about saying that a character has to be this beautiful, perfect role model who handles it all. If anything, it’s been about making them realer, more complex or more unique. So rather than saying this woman has to be the universal woman, we can deal in specificity. When we add that layer of detail, you can only gain when you’re talking about human complexity.

BRIE What’s great about what’s happening right now is that these stories for women are being told, and I feel like there’s no going back. If I read a script about a woman who can’t get a man, or two women fighting over a guy, I’m just so bored.

EVAN RACHEL WOOD I think everybody’s a little bored by that.

ZAZIE BEETZ For so many years, people were like, “Everybody can identify with a white man lead.” There wasn’t even a thought of, “Oh, someone can identify with a woman as well and not be a woman?” That’s insane.

Many of your shows now feel increasingly timely and resonant precisely because of what’s happening in Hollywood and in society.
WOOD We started “Westworld” before this movement happened, but when people say, “Oh, it’s so timely now, it’s crazy how synced-up it is,” we always say, “No, it’s timeless.” This has always been an issue, but we’re just paying more attention and listening in a different way now. So it seems more relevant.

And it was strange doing Season 2, because it’s all about the uprising and the reckoning, and the women — even though they’re not technically women, they’re machines — coming into their power and realizing who they are.

CLAIRE FOY I think it’s really interesting, the conversations that people are having. A year ago, would TheWrap be having an all-female cover talking about women being empowered? It’s because of a very few brave people got together and put themselves on the line. And then all of a sudden everybody came out of the woodwork and said, “I just realized I can stand up for myself.”

I have learned so much from other women about what they’ve experienced.

GINA RODRIGUEZ I’d love to jump in on that, because I think Time’s Up was created from the response from the American farmworkers — 700 women got together and wrote a letter to the women in Hollywood. This is such a difficult conversation because there’s no way we can encompass everything: This is hours and months and years and history and hundreds of years of domesticated mentalities.

But I believe that the culture for women, if we’re going to specifically speak about that all over the world, is a social norm. We created it and we can change it. But it would take a collective effort to do that.

WOOD We get pitted against each other sometimes, and I think what we’ve realized, which is part of the theme of today, is that we’re stronger together. It’s a slogan, but it’s also very true.

BROSNAHAN One of the coolest things about doing things like this is that we get to spend time together and know each other as peers, and that makes it easier to lift each other up and be each other’s champions and be on the same team. Because previously, there was usually room for one woman in a group of men.

Now, there has been a shift. I’ve been walking into a lot of rooms recently with both men and women where they’re saying, “Do you want to do other things? Do you want to write? Direct? Produce?” I’d never been asked that question before and I hadn’t thought about it much, but now I’m thinking about it and going, “Yeah, I do want to do all those things!”

RODRIGUEZ I produce my own projects because I really got tired of being told, “They don’t think you are this enough.” And I was like, “Who is they?” I need to be they. So I just made sure that I was the they so that I can tell them, “No, I don’t think that’s correct.”

As a young girl, I knew how affected I was by the lack of color on screen. I knew how much I gravitated towards the little bit that we did have that represented our culture. I understand that the lack of history of Latino culture in schools adds to dropout rates. I love that Claire plays one of the most important women in history, but there are so many more that we haven’t seen yet because people don’t even share it in schools. I’m all about doing my own stuff, making my own projects.

Claire, you were the subject of a real furor recently when it was revealed that you made less money than your co-star Matt Smith in the first season of “The Crown,” even though you had a bigger role. It came as a shock…
FOY It’s that unspoken thing. Actors don’t talk with each other about how much they are paid. But we all knew. And now something good has got to come out of all the shame and the embarrassment and the talking about my worth in comparison to one of my best friends.

WOOD I have never been paid the same as my male counterparts. I’m just now to the point where I’m getting paid the same as my male co-stars [on “Westworld”].

BROSNAHAN Really? I’m mad for you but also happy for you now that you’re there.

WOOD I was married to an actor for years and he always got paid more than me, and I actually worked more. And I was like, “I’ll just take what I can get, I’m just happy to be here.”

BROSNAHAN That’s a huge part of the equal-pay conversation, because women are brought up with this idea that there are 100 more of us who could step in at any given moment. So it’s hard to speak up for yourself, because you feel like you could lose it. And honestly in the past, you could.

RODRIGUEZ They do that to us from the start of our careers. Take our power away. I feel like that’s happened to me from the jump. “That’s fine, we have a bunch of people who could step right in.” You diminish someone’s self worth and it’s up to them to believe it or not. I’ve had that from the beginning.

BEETZ It’s about, are you being valued in the same way? Are they seeing you as an asset in the same way that they are seeing your counterpart?

FOY Our industry works on a quote system. You get a quote for one job and it will be used in your next job. It’s across the board, and it’s relatively fair in that sense.

The way it doesn’t work is because if there aren’t leads of people of different races or different genders, then they’re not going to be given the opportunity to ever get their quote up, because they will never be given that lead. And if they do get that lead and they don’t have the same quote as their counterparts because they haven’t had the opportunity before, then I genuinely believe it’s the responsibility of the people who are in charge of making those decisions to pay that person not according to their quote but according to what their part is. That is the only way it will ever make it right.

One of my friends is an Indian actress, and she’s never going to get a high enough quote because when has there been a lead part for an Indian actress? It just has to happen by someone making the decision. It has to be a directive, it has to be something that people just do. Because you want to be paid equally for the work that you do, and for your investment in that which will make a lot of other people very wealthy.

So it’s time to be outspoken and stand up for yourself.
FOY It’s not even about being outspoken. It’s just about saying, “These are the facts!”

RODRIGUEZ That’s what it is. It’s like, a woman does it and she’s being craaaaazy. A man does it, it’s logic. We gotta stop talking about it that way. It’s not about being outspoken, it’s about laying the truth down.

WOOD I’ve been working for 25 years, and the people with money are still men. You’re pitching projects about women to a room full of older white men with money who aren’t necessarily creative types. Those rooms need to change. They need to be more diverse and have more women, more people of color, more everything.

BROSNAHAN It’s hard when there’s one group at the top making all the decisions and controlling all the money. People in positions of power need to look like what the world looks like, so that the art we’re making reflects the world we live in and the world we aspire to live in.

Press/Photos: SXSW – Gina Rodriguez Bringing Together the Girl Gang

Ahead of delivering the keynote speech for Create & Cultivate’s Austin conference, the Golden Globe winner talked family, Time’s Up and her “Movement Mondays” series.

Though there were many films premiering at SXSW, Gina Rodriguez was not in town for any of them.

The day after speaking on a panel for Bumble, the Golden Globe winner was the keynote speaker at the Austin conference for Fossil and Create & Cultivate, the online platform and conference series for women “who want to create and cultivate the career of their dreams,” as the company says.

Given her noted passion for female empowerment and advocacy for representation of women and minorities in the film industry, Rodriguez seemed a no-brainer choice.

“Both of the panels I chose to do at SXSW are female empowering, female-led, female entrepreneurs, and that what I’m about,” Rodriguez says, ahead of her address. “I love the idea of dialogue, period. It’s where I’ve always gotten my inspiration from: hearing other women speak, their journeys and their paths.”

Growing up, she didn’t have to look further than her own household to find women who inspired her.

“I was raised by incredible women. My two older sisters, my mother, my grandmother: I was in a house filled with women. My father was the odd man out. And he definitely always empowered us and was an ally of female empowerment and feminism — and back then those weren’t the terms that they used,” she says. “But those women. Those are definitely the women who stand out the most, when I think about the way in which I want to live my life, the way in which I made steps and decisions in my life.”

Rodriguez has long used Instagram as a platform for spreading positivity; she does a weekly series called “Movement Mondays” where she profiles an inspirational figure for her followers.

“I’ve been trying to expose under representation with minority groups. So it’s nice to start fueling the energy into new environments that want to do the same,” she says. “I think that what’s great about what’s happening in our climate right now is that everybody is participating and it just allows you to not only be uplifted by everybody’s excitement and their desire for change for gender role change, for these conversations to be happening, for you to do the same. With Time’s Up, I finally had a space where you can feel all the energy, all the excitement, all that energy for change. It’s really lovely to see that crab in a barrel social norm go away: everybody clawing at each other to get to the top, because for so long there was only one seat at the table for a woman.”

“The beautiful opening of education and knowledge showed us that there is more than one seat, and we are stronger when we work together,” she continued. “And that the reason that the boys’ club happened was because they had one. So we need a f–king girls’ club, and a girl gang. It’s just lovely to see everybody rise up and utilize their power for positivity. Because it doesn’t hurt anybody; on the contrary, it just helps everyone.”

Press/Photos: Photo Sessions, Jane The Virgin, Scans, and More

Lots of updates done today in the backend of the gallery. I’ve started replacing the small Jane the Virgin episode stills with hiqh quality ones as well as adding missing episode stills, promotional images, posters and cover art, and on the set photos. I’ve also added high definition screencaptures of Gina from all of season 4’s episodes. On top of that, I’ve replaced many low quality photo sessions of Gina throughout the years with high quality ones as well as a couple scans. I have lots more photos to add in all 3 categories: Jane the Virgin, Photo Sessions, and Magazine Scans, so be sure to check back. Big thanks to my friend Kayla for her help with getting the Jane the Virgin screencaptures. Check out the updated categories below as listing them all would take ages. Enjoy!

Press/Video/Photos: Gina Rodriguez on Hashimoto’s, Equal Pay, and Learning to Fight For Herself

The actress is taking on Hollywood, taking over her health, and taking it one day at a time.

When I spoke to Gina Rodriguez on a recent Wednesday night, I was still pumped from attending a press screening of her latest movie, Annihilation, earlier that day (a fact that Rodriguez met with delighted laughter, admitting that even she hadn’t seen it yet). I have very high standards for sci-fi and horror films—I expect to startle and gasp and cover my eyes—and this movie didn’t just clear my very high bar; it vaulted over it. But to be honest, even if it had failed to register on my scare-o-meter, I would have loved it for what it is at its heart: in Rodriguez’s words, “a human story and…bad bitches going into action.”

In the film, which lands in theaters nationwide on Friday, February 23, Rodriguez plays Anya Thorensen, a paramedic who has volunteered to explore The Shimmer, a mystifying, dangerous, ever-expanding territory. Those who go into The Shimmer often don’t return.

Venturing into the force field alongside Anya are women toting guns, ammo, and advanced degrees in STEM: biologist Lena (Natalie Portman), physicist Josie (Tessa Thompson), geologist Cass (Tuva Novotny), and psychologist Dr. Ventress (Jennifer Jason Leigh). Together, they’re determined to do what practically no one else has: enter The Shimmer, discover what it is, and return unscathed.

The role fit Rodriguez like Anya’s well-worn fatigues. “The classic roles that are afforded to me—here, Gina, this is what you’re capable of doing—are usually roles I don’t even relate to,” she says, explaining that she identifies more with layered parts like the main character in Lady Bird than with parts inscribed by one-dimensional Latina stereotypes. Playing Anya? “It felt like butter.”

When I spoke to Gina Rodriguez on a recent Wednesday night, I was still pumped from attending a press screening of her latest movie, Annihilation, earlier that day (a fact that Rodriguez met with delighted laughter, admitting that even she hadn’t seen it yet). I have very high standards for sci-fi and horror films—I expect to startle and gasp and cover my eyes—and this movie didn’t just clear my very high bar; it vaulted over it. But to be honest, even if it had failed to register on my scare-o-meter, I would have loved it for what it is at its heart: in Rodriguez’s words, “a human story and…bad bitches going into action.”

In the film, which lands in theaters nationwide on Friday, February 23, Rodriguez plays Anya Thorensen, a paramedic who has volunteered to explore The Shimmer, a mystifying, dangerous, ever-expanding territory. Those who go into The Shimmer often don’t return.

Venturing into the force field alongside Anya are women toting guns, ammo, and advanced degrees in STEM: biologist Lena (Natalie Portman), physicist Josie (Tessa Thompson), geologist Cass (Tuva Novotny), and psychologist Dr. Ventress (Jennifer Jason Leigh). Together, they’re determined to do what practically no one else has: enter The Shimmer, discover what it is, and return unscathed.

The role fit Rodriguez like Anya’s well-worn fatigues. “The classic roles that are afforded to me—here, Gina, this is what you’re capable of doing—are usually roles I don’t even relate to,” she says, explaining that she identifies more with layered parts like the main character in Lady Bird than with parts inscribed by one-dimensional Latina stereotypes. Playing Anya? “It felt like butter.”

At first, Rodriguez says, Hashimoto’s felt like “the curse of a lifetime,” especially in an industry that places so much emphasis on size. The disease, though treatable, has no cure. For years after being diagnosed with hypothyroidism at 19 and Hashimoto’s at 26, and putting on weight that wouldn’t budge, Rodriguez preferred to deny what she was going through rather than focus her efforts on doing whatever she could to feel better. “To the core of my being, I know what it’s like to feel like there is no way I can win this, so where do I even begin,” she reflects.

She tried to rebel against what she knew her body needed by not taking her medicine on time, eating foods that she knew would make her feel terrible (looking at you, dairy), or deciding working out wasn’t worth it if it wouldn’t change her body. Eventually, she realized something had to give: “[Hashimoto’s] affects so many aspects of your life. I’ve had it for so many years…that rebellion of not taking care of myself can’t exist anymore.”

Over the years, she started taking her treatments seriously, changing her diet, and working out for health instead of weight loss. Though weight comes off naturally as a result of all her efforts combined, it’s also complicated by what roles she’s working on at a given time. To prepare for her intensely physical role in Annihilation, she weight trained and went vegan, so naturally, her body changed. When she spends 16-hour days on-set playing the titular character in the CW series Jane the Virgin—a role for which she’s determined not to lose weight—she’s at what she calls her “comfortable” weight, which she can maintain without an intense workout regimen and diet changes.

“I’m OK in both of those,” she says. “I’m not less than because I’m 10, 15, 20 pounds more.” On the flip side, she knows it’s not inherently better—that she’s not inherently better—when she happens to weigh less, and that her handling of weight doesn’t say anything about her other than that she’s human.

Five months ago, Rodriguez started working with “a great new nutritionist,” who identified a bunch of common foods that were getting in the way of her health. When she stays away from them, she says, “so many of my ailments are gone. It feels like freedom. This is new. I’m 33. It’s taken me a while.”

She qualifies: “I can’t say I’m on point, always on it, because, man, I’m flawed.” A raft of most-craved foods rolls off her tongue with ease. “I want the burger and the ice cream and the red velvet cupcakes. I want the croissant with my coffee, even though gluten doesn’t do me justice.” But it helps to remember it’s all about baby steps, about making healthy living a daily, or even hourly, decision. “When you say, just today, I’m going to choose this because I know it’s going to make me feel better, that’s not such a crazy Mount Everest.”

Her boyfriend of one and a half years, Joe LoCicero, has been a cornerstone of the network of friends and family supporting her as she navigates the choppy waters of chronic illness. An actor and martial artist who practices Muay Thai (Thai boxing), LoCicero traveled to Thailand with Rodriguez in late 2016 so they could train in the sport together.

“[He] has really helped me have a healthier perspective on [weight], that stupid number that can destroy us and feel like it’s equivalent to our self-worth,” she says. “This love is so easy,” she adds, describing her relationship with LoCicero as one of “respect and kindness, and generosity, and compromise, and sacrifice.”

It bothers her that another symptom of Hashimoto’s—memory troubles—can make it seem like she doesn’t always appreciate the little details that make their relationship so great. While she says that her forgetfulness hasn’t interfered with memorizing lines, an important part of her job, “I can’t remember maybe a sweet thing my boyfriend has said to me a week ago. Or what we ate yesterday,” she laments. “It makes me feel shame. I don’t want him to think that I’m not remembering our special moments together. And that stinks.”

Rodriguez rose to fame in 2014 on Jane the Virgin (where she and LoCicero met). The show introduced enthusiastic swaths of America to the delicious drama of Latin American soap operas known as telenovelas. It has everything: murder, romance, and Jane’s accidental artificial insemination as a virgin, to boot. After its first season, the series won a People’s Choice Award and a Peabody, and Rodriguez took home a Golden Globe for best actress in a TV comedy or musical.

“Jane is just the greatest thing that ever happened to me,” Rodriguez says. But she is quick to point out that she works her ass off to help it—and herself—succeed.

“I didn’t know my worth [at the start of my career] because the industry had such a specific perspective on what it should be as a brown woman,” Rodriguez says. “I had to start saying, ‘Well, I know if I work hard, I can show my worth,’ and I have been doing nothing but that.”

Rodriguez, who studied film at NYU, recently directed her first episode of the show, now in its fourth season. She also started a production company, I Can And I Will Productions, through which she is developing multiple projects with CBS Studios that portray the Latino experience. Stepping behind the camera, she realized it wasn’t some immutable force deciding what she was capable of and what she deserved. It was just other people. That knowledge primed her to advocate for herself. “Especially women, and especially women of color, really have to fight for equal pay,” she says. “My white sisters definitely have a higher starting point, my black sisters as well. Latinos really do live in the lower end of pay.”

A vocal advocate of the Me Too and Time’s Up movements, Rodriguez is harnessing her power to help fight for women not just in her industry, but in all of them. “It’s empowering and encouraging and viscerally stimulating to be a part and lend the little voice I have to this giant cause of beautiful change towards a more fair world, a more fair environment,” Rodriguez says. “It doesn’t take away from anyone or anything. It just makes everything easier and clearer and kinder and makes room for more possibility.”

When I ask about her biggest professional goals, she doesn’t hesitate. “I’m ready to do my movie,” she says, meaning that she wants to direct a feature she’s “been mulling over for a while.” “Whether that means success or failure, I’m ready to go for it.” Other items on the list: producing more, along with creating more positions—both in front of and behind the camera—for women and Latino people, a cause she takes particularly seriously amidst today’s political tensions.

“Obviously I come from a very specific lens and a very specific perspective,” she says. “I of course would love to see Latino communities uplifted and celebrated in a positive light, because our administration loves to show us in such a negative light. That’s going to be a part of my fight.”

Whatever she’s fighting for (or against)—whether it’s better representation in media, chronic illness, fair treatment for women in low-wage service jobs, or a terrifying evil force swallowing people and cities and mutating the world as we know it—Rodriguez is learning that you’ve gotta look out for number one, too.

“I’ve just recently started getting really debilitating panic attacks and anxiety,” she tells me. At various times, she’s pinned them on first-time-director nerves and the pressure to strike the right tone in her show, on stress and life changes, on “balancing reality with fiction, and reality with the bullshit of social media, the kind of psychological change that’s happening in our climate, period.” But she also realized she was taking too much thyroid medication, which was causing heart palpitations that spiraled into anxiety attacks. She lowered her dosage, and the attacks went away.

“It is really important for us to be super self-aware,” she says. “I wasn’t banking on that. I wasn’t like, hey, yeah, let me get a disease that makes me have to be super aware. I don’t want to be super aware of myself all of the time.”

After our call, I think about how Rodriguez describes Anya: “She was that person, the one that pays the bills and gets shit done and fixes the car and fixes the leak.” I think about bad bitches going into action, both on and off the screen. But most of all, I think about Rodriguez’s reminder that every woman determined to make things happen—herself and Anya included—is really just a human, after all.

Press/Photos: Natalie Portman, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson and the sci-fi sisterhood behind ‘Annihilation’

Onscreen in the sci-fi odyssey “Annihilation,” an expedition ventures deep into a foreboding terrain known only as Area X, carrying guns and harboring mounting suspicions about one another.

These soldiers — a psychologist (Jennifer Jason Leigh), a biologist (Natalie Portman), a paramedic (Gina Rodriguez), a physicist (Tessa Thompson) and an anthropologist (Tuva Novotny) — enter what is about to become a living, breathing nightmare, an environmental disaster zone without scientific explanation, as filtered through the mind of “Ex Machina” director Alex Garland, adapting the first book in Jeff VanderMeer’s “Southern Reach” trilogy.

The fact that they’re all complex and dimensional female characters is at once trailblazing and, refreshingly, perfectly normalized.

“Each of the women have their own destructive behavior,” said Portman, who brings steely intensity to the role of Lena, the biologist with her own reasons for volunteering for the dangerous mission, in the Feb. 23 release. “I find that so beautiful. That’s the greatest science fiction, when the psychological becomes externalized.

“And to have five women at the center of this expedition — we’re so used to seeing five men going and doing something together, it’s not even questioned why it’s always all men. To give that same kind of attitude to five women is really unique.”

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.”

Part philosophical sci-fi, part psychedelic-existential fever dream, “Annihilation” pulses with the looming unease of the unknown. That unknown lurks in the darkness of the vast swamplands and marshes of the Southern Reach, marked by the beauty and horrors of nature run amok, and perhaps more disturbingly in the disquiet of confronting those same mysteries within oneself.

Self-destruction is in our DNA, the film posits. Its approach, however, is one of empathy. And the journeys the three stars went on in search of their characters, expanded in collaboration with Garland from the sparsely detailed counterparts in VanderMeer’s book, had profound and lasting effects.

Portman, who moved her family near the Pinewood Studios production during filming, responded to the melancholic interrogation Lena embarks on as she pushes farther into Area X while reflecting on a broken marriage (Oscar Isaac, reuniting with “Ex Machina” helmer Garland, plays her husband).

“Alex brought the [idea of] self-destructive behavior, and defining the destruction of a marriage as part of that,” she said. “You could call it moralistic, but I found it very moving — that it is destructive, hurting someone that you love very deeply.”

The physicality of the shoot demanded Portman know her way around a military-issue machine gun and train with visionary dancer Bobbi Jene, whom Garland hired on Isaac’s recommendation to choreograph a memorable third-act sequence of movement.

“She would give me directions like, ‘Feel like you’re like an octopus stuck to the wall,'” raved Portman. “I wish someone was always giving me that kind of physical imagery. It was really cool.”

Thompson found a deep connection to her character Josie’s growing link with the mutations the group encounters as they get closer to the inexplicable veil of energy known as “The Shimmer.”

“There was something in it that I was really struck by in the destruction of the Earth, of how we treat the other things that are not human — the planet,” she said. “At a certain point with the destruction that we do, we will not have the technology to undo it or to even understand it.”

The project, she added, also forced her to consider her own mortality. “I don’t spend a lot of time contending with the fact that time is not endless,” she said . “I really live in that fallacy, personally. I’m getting older, my parents are getting older… I actually looked forward to spending some time thinking about that.”

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.

“There are at least 15 tickets being sold because they think Gina and I are in a lesbian relationship,” added Thompson.

Rodriguez: “More than 15!”

Portman, laughing: “I’d buy tickets to that!”

It was almost two years ago that the cast of “Annihilation” assembled in London to shoot the ambitious and heady film. Their lushly immersive sets commandeered one corner of the historic Pinewood Studios as another sci-fi flick, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” shot on neighboring stages.

The material was physically and mentally demanding, and Garland’s decision to film chronologically meant that the longer production went on, the more exhausting it became.

When it came time to shoot one of the film’s most harrowing scenes, the feeling on set was palpable. With three of the cast tied to chairs inside a dimly lighted abandoned house and Garland himself operating a massive animatronic bear head menacing his stars, the scene felt real.

“In that moment it was about truly facing our mortality, and because we shot the film in sequence, by then we were tired and had lived in this for a little bit,” said Thompson. “By then we really had this bond.”

They formed that bond under tents in the rain between takes, by going out to sushi dinners and becoming friends. Thompson and Portman tease Rodriguez, then newly out of what she describes as a “nail-in-the-coffin” relationship, about how she went full-on “Eat, Pray, Love” on their weekends off.

“I was jealous because you had fun adventures,” Thompson said, turning to her. “I’d be like, ‘Where are you?’ because we were neighbors and we lived one flight away from each other, when I was bored or wanted a sandwich, and she’d be like, ‘I’m on a yacht!’ She was ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ every weekend and I was training for ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ doing sword work.”

A group night out at a Radiohead concert arranged by Portman was, Rodriguez said, “the gift of the century.”

“Whatever,” Portman demurred. “It was because I was with you guys! We were like, ‘This is normal! I’m not a suburban mom of two! I’m, like, a cool person!’ ”

The trio found themselves linking up again after “Annihilation” with a very different goal: Combating sexual harassment across industries, including their own, as founding signatories of the Time’s Up movement this year.

“I feel like it’s a continuation of the sisterhood we started on this movie,” Portman said of her friendship with Thompson and Rodriguez. “It was really awesome to get to experience each other in a new light; as colleagues, and then friends, and then fellow activists.”

Thompson has been heartened to see Time’s Up take hold in the culture, and by the importance her peers have placed on intersectional activism.

“Any measure of success that Time’s Up specifically has had has to be connected to what’s outside of our industry,” she said. “It began with a call to arms from the Farm Workers’ Alliance, from the women who literally put food on our table, to say, ‘We stand with you because we understand what we’re going through, and it happens in our industry.’ So it’s bigger than us.

“Having worked in the industry for as long as I have and particularly as a young woman of color, it’s hard to gain access — even when you gain a measure of a platform to really get your voices heard,” she added. “It’s important to have sisters to make sure your voice is as vital.”

Both Thompson and Rodriguez cheer Portman’s Golden Globes moment this year when, presenting the director category during the live telecast, she went off script to point out the absence of any female directing nominees

“I’ve got a video of it, girl!” said Rodriguez.

But Portman downplayed her onstage gesture as just one of the many ways the hundreds of members of the Time’s Up movement are trying to effect change: “If you look around the room and everyone looks like you, there’s a problem and not only should it feel weird, but you need to do something about it.

“I think a lot of us have had our eyes opened,” she added. “I speak for myself; I haven’t always had my eyes open. And it’s an amazing, energizing, incredible feeling to be awakened to this, even though it’s a lot of ugly truths to try to change — to change myself first and try to be part of this cultural shift.”

All three women have used their successes to advocate for various causes important to them. But Time’s Up has given many of Hollywood’s artists a focus to pool their platforms with Voltron-esque force.

Rodriguez has for years pushed for greater Latino representation in entertainment. “What you end up realizing is that things don’t get done alone,” she said. “To know that I finally have somewhere to funnel my energy with the power and the strength of these ladies … you just don’t feel alone anymore.”

Last week Rodriguez added directing to her arsenal by helming her first episode of “Jane the Virgin,” joining Portman, who made her feature directing debut in 2015’s “A Tale of Love and Darkness,” behind the camera. This week Thompson announced that she will produce a film about jewelry thief Doris Payne, which she will also star in for Codeblack Films and Lionsgate — and says she’s working up to one day directing, as well.

After the female-led “Annihilation,” Portman, Rodriguez and Thompson hope more films will follow suit as Hollywood sees long overdue change in the way stories are told.

One vital next step, Rodriguez notes, will be getting more underrepresented voices hired behind the camera, and more diverse projects backed, in a Hollywood that remains risk-averse when it comes to making inclusive choices.

“In so many of these meetings I feel like I’m trying to sell a story about oranges to people who have never had oranges before,” said Rodriguez, notes of hope and frustration in her voice. “They know it’s profitable-ish, but they’re afraid of it because they don’t understand it.

“It’s exciting and discouraging at the same time. I celebrate the fact that I’m in that room. Hopefully at one point it’s going to work — and I’m going to be able to get even more people in the room.”

Gina Cover Shape Magazine

Gina is gracing the cover of the October issue of Shape magazine. She looks absolutely phenomenal on the cover and outtakes. Be sure to check out part of the interview below as well as the video that was shot during the shoot. Shape will be on newsstands September 12!

“I’m the strongest I’ve ever been,” says Gina, 33. “Doing Muay Thai taught me so much about my body. Now I view it as an engine that keeps me active and healthy.”

This way of thinking has been a revelation for Gina, who was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease—an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks the thyroid and causes symptoms such as fatigue and muscle pain—right after she filmed the pilot for Jane. Once she started practicing Muay Thai regularly, however, “I felt very stealthy and quick,” Gina says. “It was an amazing transformation.”

The extra energy she gets from pushing her body is powering up the rest of her life too. In addition to working on Jane, Gina is shooting a movie in Mexico and is the voice of Una in the animated film Ferdinand, which is out in December. Add to that the role of CEO and president of her own production company. “I’m living my dream,” she says. “I want to say to women who are reading this story, try anything you want. You’re strong and durable.”

Here’s how Gina taps into her grit and how you can too.

Find what drives you.
“My go-to workout has always been a form of fight training. My father was a boxing referee. He taught my sisters and me how to box at a very young age, which was fantastic for our confidence, athleticism, and discipline. This past year, I learned how to do Muay Thai. I went to Thailand with my boyfriend, Joe, for a month, and we trained with champions. To do Muay Thai, you have to build up your strength and stamina. It’s mind over matter; you’re pushing yourself. What I like best about it is the sense of inner strength it gives me. Knowing I can protect myself is a powerful feeling.” (Gina‘s on our list of badass celebrities who will inspire you to take up martial arts.)
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