If I had to guess what Michelle Rodriguez’s professional reputation was, I might say: “Well, she seems prone to choosing films with the words fast and/or furious in the title.” As it turns out, some people in Hollywood think Michelle is difficult to work with. Director Steve McQueen wanted to cast Michelle in his latest film Widows, and he didn’t care how many times he was told not to hire allegedly-difficult Michelle.
Steve spoke to Uproxx about Widows, which premiered at TIFF last Saturday. While talking about how much he loved the actors he chose for Widows, he confessed that he really wanted Michelle Rodriguez for the role of Linda Perelli, the widow of a robber who is killed in an attempted heist. Steve says that upon telling people he wanted to cast her, he was told that if he wanted to avoid the directorial headache from Hell, he might want to pick another actress named Michelle.
“Because she’s ‘difficult.’ She’s this and that. ‘Don’t work with her. No, no don’t work with her.’ But people say that about me. If you’re a white director, they call you a perfectionist. Me, they call difficult. So I didn’t pay any mind to what people say about Michelle, because I had to find out for myself. I offered her the role.”
When Steve offered her the role, she turned it down, because the character was “beholden to a man.” So Steve continued to audition, and eventually he asked Michelle to meet with him in an attempt to convince her to take the part. They met up, and Steve says he immediately realized why people might categorize her as difficult. Basically, Michelle asked questions.
“She is just amazing as an intellect and what she’s interested in, she’s so curious and so tenacious as a human being. When I met her, I thought, ‘Oh, I understand what they mean by difficult.’ She’s always asking questions to herself, difficult questions. And trying to answer them…I have the same reputation so it’s nonsense. Again, when people say things about people, one has to find out themselves. That’s it. That’s what it is.”
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard of someone in Hollywood playing keep-away in casting by describing an actress as difficult. Last year, Peter Jackson confessed that he had wanted to hire Mira Sorvino and Ashley Judd for the Lord of the Rings films, but that Harvey and Bob Weinstein allegedly advised him not to, because both were “a nightmare” to work with.
I am sort of curious as to exactly how Michelle is “difficult.” The obvious answer is to say she’s probably not a doormat on set. But part of me is wishing she requires her facial-firming ice to be hand-chipped from a miniature glacier imported from Italy, and her trailer’s temperature to read exactly 64.89 degrees. My interest in Michelle Rodriguez would grow by about 300% if I were to learn she’s actually a secret old-school Hollywood diva.