Text by Azza Arif
Rosa Salazar does an amazing job of portraying strong complex women characters on screen. She played the ever-present Brenda on The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials, a character who, while not quite at the forefront, is always a major player in whatever is going on. She took on the role of the dauntless Lynn in The Divergent Series: Insurgent, and nabbed a role as Maria in American Horror story: Murder House. In February, you will witness her playing her most exciting role to date in the upcoming manga-inspired sci-fi masterpiece directed by Robert Rodriguez called Alita: Battle Angel. In this, Rosa plays the role of the lead cyborg, Alita, adapted from the cyberpunk manga series Gunnm created by Yukito Kishiro. But it’s not just her impressive resume that drew us in – it was her honesty and fearlessness to speak her mind.
An epic adventure of hope and empowerment, Alita: Battle Angel brings the adaptation of Yukito Kishiro’s graphic novel to life. The incredibly unique plot tells the story of a young woman with an extraordinary past, who wakes up with no memory of who she is. How was the experience of doing an advanced performance capture (the process of recording the movement of an actor to a digital character) to the more traditional method of acting for Rosa, personally? “Well, it is interesting to do a movie where you don’t exactly know 100 what your character will look like in the end. But, you know, it’s not something that is too different from a regular practical movie without any performance capture – you never know what the movie will turn out to be in post editing process. So you are always sort of waiting to see how it will turn out. As an actor, you do your job on set, and then you let it go, there is just no control after the fact,” explains the actress.
“But it was very different working in the performance capture suit. The process in the morning is very different. Instead of coming in to work and getting into hair and makeup, and putting on glam and wardrobe, you come in and put on dots on your face, you put your hair in a du-rag and a helmet 0n. And you put on the suit and you scan into the system. That was a fun, new experience I got when working on Alita.”
She continued with a little insight on her personal experience working with Robert Rodriguez. “Robert has such an amazing and artistic sensibility, that even if you were working on a film that costs two hundred million dollars, it still feels like you are all making a movie together with your hands – everyone has a part in this collaborative process, and it feels like you are making an independent film, but only you are making something much larger. But that’s how it should feel – like we are all in this together. And Robert does that, he adds that value.”
Heroes come in various shapes and sizes, as well as hues and genders and gender fluidities. And although the movie industry seems to be lurching towards real and consistent progress with women producers and directors, and African-American and Asian actors, the problem still remains – Latinos comprise of less than 1o percent of leads in films. But that alone is not the only issue. There is a lack of investment in stories in Hollywood that is targeted to women. A study done by Polygraph shows that the percentage of dialogue allotted to female characters warned after actors hit their 30s and dropped after they hit their 40’s. Rosa Salazar has defied all those odds being a strong, Latina woman in her 30s snagging the lead role of a much-anticipated masterpiece.
“As a Latin woman, in this business to be the lead of a US$200 million dollar sci-fi epic, starring me? That’s huge!” she exclaimed. “And I did it because I kept going, and I kept reminding myself that I have the power to do this, that I believed in myself.”
For the full article purchase a copy of Marie Claire January 2019 issue. For a digital copy click here.