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Michelle Rodriguez talks movies, female empowerment, and sex: 'I don't talk about what I do with my vagina'

Michelle Rodriguez has been outside the hotel for only 90 seconds when she gets stopped on the street. “Uh, excuse me? Hi, I swear I’m not a crazy stalker,” says a tall and impressively muscled black man on the crowded New York City sidewalk. “But I am your biggest fan.” He holds up his phone for a picture. Rodriguez lifts her chin up. “Oh, hell yeah,” she says, smiling. “C’mon, let’s do it.” She squeezes one of his massive biceps: “Yo, man, where’d you get these?” The fan’s giddy grin stretches even wider, and his very patient girlfriend takes the picture.

In person Rodriguez is smaller than you’d think — barely 5’5″ in the flat-heeled black boots she’s wearing on this sunny Saturday afternoon. You’d assume she’d loom larger. After all, she’s forged a career playing tough-gal characters, from her astonishing 2000 debut as a boxer in the Sundance darling Girlfight to her roles in Lost, Avatar, the Fast & Furious franchise, and the upcoming Machete Kills (rated R, out Oct. 11). She is arguably the most iconic actress in the action genre, as well as one of the most visible Latinas in Hollywood. She has also amassed some jaw-dropping box office: The cumulative global gross of her films is $5.2 billion. That Rodriguez, 35, is a delicate-boned beauty doesn’t mean she’s any less of a badass, of course. In her downtime she likes to race cars, fire guns, and jump out of planes. Even her lunch order is kinda out-there: salad, bone marrow, and chocolate cake.

But she’s also unexpectedly sweet and warm. Her mind moves quickly, pinging brightly among topics: neurolinguistics, Hinduism, diversifying her financial portfolio (she recently invested in Twitter), and why she was disappointed by Million Dollar Baby (“I was excited to see it. I was like, ‘Great, now we have a commercial version of Girlfight.’ And I watch the movie and I’m like, ‘F— you, f— you. Why does she have to die?!’”) as well as by The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (“Why does she have to get raped — raped! — before taking vengeance? Why do the stakes have to be so much higher for a woman than a man? You wouldn’t do that to Pacino”).

Rodriguez, needless to say, speaks her mind. She doesn’t shy away from addressing her fraught early days in Hollywood (“I was loud, obnoxious, crazy”) or even her sexuality. “I don’t talk about what I do with my vagina, and they’re all intrigued,” she says of the media. “I’ve never walked the carpet with anyone, so they wonder: What does she do with her vagina? Plus, I play a butchy girl all the time, so they assume I’m a lesbo.” When EW points out that that’s not a fair assumption, Rodriguez laughs. “Eh, they’re not too far off,” she says. “I’ve gone both ways. I do as I please. I am too f—ing curious to sit here and not try when I can. Men are intriguing. So are chicks.” She shrugs.

Michelle Rodriguez is back (with her eye patch!) in 'Machete Kills' preview -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

“It takes a bitch to make a bitch,” Michelle Rodriguez snarls (among a few other, taco-related one-liners) in this exclusive sizzle reel from the upcoming Machete Kills.

Rodriguez’s Shé is the perfect female counterpart to Danny Trejo’s Machete, and the leather-clad duo are back to kick some more ass — in seriously over-the-top, campy fashion — in the sequel to 2010’s Machete (which was, in itself, an adaptation of Robert Rodriguez’s fake trailer from 2007’s Grindhouse … got all that?). Michelle, complete with badass eye patch, keeps her underlings in check (“Keep fighting, goddammit!”) and, just like every other character the actress has played, she isn’t afraid of a girl fight.

And this video is just the latest example of why Michelle Rodriguez will be part of Entertainment Weekly’s Women Who Kick Ass panel at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday, alongside Orphan Black‘s Tatiana Maslany and The Walking Dead‘s Danai Gurira, kicking off at 2:55 p.m. in Hall H.

Check out Michelle’s 30 seconds of mayhem below:

CinemaCon: Fast & Furious 7 set for 2014 release

The Fast and the Furious franchise is still picking up speed: Vin Diesel says the Universal Pictures series will return July 11, 2014, with a seventh film.

The gravel-voiced action star made the announcement on stage at CinemaCon — a Las Vegas convention of movie exhibitors — while flanked by costars, among them Michelle Rodriguez, Paul Walker, and Tyrese Gibson, who took turns expressing their gratitude to be part of a film series that has defied even their own expectations with its box office horsepower.

The sixth film arrives May 24 and, according to Universal Pictures, the the fan interest being tracked by social media and marketing research shows the brand is getting bigger as racks up more mileage. Insidious director James Wan is slated to direct, taking over from Justin Lin.

'Fast and Furious' star Paul Walker on Michelle Rodriguez's return to the franchise and his becoming a full-time dad

Paul Walker enjoyed his first-ever film-festival experience last night when his high-stakes Daddy drama Hours world premiered at SXSW. In the stripped-down movie, written and directed by Eric Heisserer (The Thing), Walker plays a man who loses his wife during childbirth and then must singlehandedly keep his newborn daughter alive after the hospital is evacuated during Hurricane Katrina.

Walker, 39, tells EW that the role was a departure for him after years grinding away on the Fast franchise. “I was scared because I’ve applied myself in the past but never really,” he says. “I’ve always been one foot in, one foot out of this game because I’m not comfortable with being on the pedestal or the poster. That’s just not who I am. I’m more like the grunt. I want to be the guy behind the guy.”

(Behind every Vin Diesel there must be a willing Paul Walker.)

“I’m not comfortable with attention,” he says. “What’s nice is Hours is small. People who are going to see it are going to see it, people that don’t, don’t and it doesn’t really matter. It’s not a big studio movie [where] you got to be the star and do the red carpet and all the crap that comes with it.”

As for Fast & Furious 6 (in theaters May 24), Walker praises the studio’s decision to resurrect Michelle Rodriguez’s character Letty, who, based on the trailer, has apparently been sucked into the dark side. READ FULL STORY

Open Road Films to distribute Robert Rodriguez's saucy sequel 'Machete Kills' -- NEW PHOTO

If the lap dance in the newly released photo above is any indication, the Machete sequel Machete Kills, both directed by Robert Rodriguez, will be yet another sassy, violent romp starring perennial tough guy Danny Trejo.

Open Road Films announced Thursday it’s distributing the film, out in wide release in 2013. The second movie in the trilogy, about Trejo as craggy faced ex-Federale agent Machete, hails from a screenplay by Kyle Ward, based on a story by Marcel Rodriguez and Robert Rodriguez. Besides Trejo, the movie stars a long list of known names, including pop diva Lady Gaga, making her acting debut, as well as Oscar nominee Demian Bichir, Sofia Vergara, Amber Heard, Charlie Sheen, Antonio Banderas, Jessica Alba, Alexa Vega, Vanessa Hudgens, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Mel Gibson.  READ FULL STORY

Casting Net: Michelle Rodriguez back for 'Fast and Furious' 6 and 'Machete Kills.' Plus: Pierce Brosnan, Steve Coogan, Sharlto Copley

Pierce Brosnan is joining Owen Wilson in the international thriller The Coup, about an American family living through a bloody revolt in a Southeast Asian country. John Erick Dowdle (Devil) is directing. [Variety]

• Steve Coogan will lend his distinctive voice for an unspecified role in Despicable Me 2. Steve Carell, Russell Brand, Miranda Cosgrove, and Kristen Wiig are all reprising their roles; Al Pacino will play the heavy. [THR]

District 9 star Sharlto Copley will star in the grisly thriller Open Grave, about a man who wakens to find himself in a literal open grave filled with corpses. Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego (Apollo 18) will direct. Copley also officially signed up to play the main villain in Spike Lee‘s English-language remake of Oldboy. [Deadline]

Read more:
Casting Net: Emma Watson, Jason Segel to face the ‘End of the World.’ Plus: Bernadette Peters, Sandra Oh
Casting Net: Vera Farmiga and Andy Garcia to romance in ‘Admissions.’ Plus: Denzel Washington, Will Smith, Emile Hirsch
Casting Net: Rooney Mara replacing Carey Mulligan in Spike Jonze film

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