She plays a makeup artist, who becomes embroiled with a Mexican drug cartel after a visit to Tijuana, and for Gina Rodriguez who starred for several years as the title character in the comedy series “Jane the Virgin,” it’s the most empowering role she’s had in a while. Directed by Catherine Hardwicke (“Twilight”), “Miss Bala” is an action film which although feels achingly familiar has a Latina heroine as its star.
The film follows a Los Angeles makeup artist (Rodriguez) who takes a trip back to Tijuana, Mexico to visit her childhood buddy Suzu (Cristina Rodlo), who aspires to win a local beauty pageant. While at a nightclub rubbing elbows with the pageant’s patron, a shootout ensures and although Gloria manages to escape, Suzu is not so lucky. Anxious to locate her friend, Gloria finds herself at the mercy of the gunman Lino (Ismael Cruz Cordova), the charismatic cartel leader who promises to locate Suzu if she performs a favor. It’s a dangerous mission which puts her on the American Drug Enforcement Agency’s radar. Anxious to find her friend and return to Los Angeles, she starts secretly working for both sides, a job which entails dodging bullets and shooting guns all while desperately searching for Suzu.
“Gloria is introverted, smart and focused, and I love that about her,” Rodriguez shares. “She is actively trying to save herself and her family, which is relatable because a lot of women in my life work to keep their families safe and fix unfavorable situations,” she continues. “There’s no woman in my life that just sits back and lets things happen. Women are rarely portrayed as proactively trying to save themselves in action films. It’s very empowering to see these stories,” adds the actress whose film credits include “Annihilation “opposite Natalie Portman and “Deepwater Horizon” opposite Mark Wahlberg.
A remake of the 2011 Mexican film of the same name, “Miss Bala” also stars Anthony Mackie as Jimmy, a mysterious figure Gloria encounters during her drug run for the cartel. There’s also Brian Reich, a DEA agent who uses Gloria as a means to trap Lino and Ricardo Abarca who plays Poyo, Lino’s right-hand man.
“This is a big movie, with a courageous, butt-kicking and new kind of hero, and we were incredibly excited and proud to make it happen,” Rodriguez shares.
Rodriguez recently wrapped production on Miranda July’s independent untitled heist thriller starring opposite Evan Rachel Wood and Richard Jenkins which will be released later this year. She can also be seen in “Someone Great” starring opposite Lakeith Stanfield, Dewanda Wise and Rosario Dawson. This film tells the story of a woman who travels with her two best friends to New York City after a nasty break up.
“Miss Bala” is out in U.S. theaters.
By Samantha Ofole-Prince/Photos courtesy of Sony Pictures & Royalty Images