Dressed to kill

It's pretty clear Michelle Rodriguez loves to fight - whether it is on the big screen or for better female roles in Hollywood.

But while she admits she is a tomboy, that didn't stop her from leaping at the chance to doll up her character Leticia "Letty" Ortiz in Fast & Furious 7.

The film's scriptwriters reportedly caved in to her whining, so the 36-year-old US actress gets to appear in a sexy red satin dress for her fight sequence set amid an opulent party in Abu Dhabi.

In it, Letty trades blows with UFC champion Ronda Rousey's character Kara, who dons a gold Herve Leger gown.

Even though the frocks looked more like potential wardrobe malfunctions than attire fit for hand-to-hand combat, that was far from the case.

Rodriguez, who made her movie debut in the 2000 sports drama Girlfight, told M in a separate interview: "We developed the wardrobe around the fight. Ronda basically took into mind that she was going to be doing stunts and she found something that was really comfortable for her. "For me, the wardrobe designer for the film just came up with this amazing dress. "I was like, 'I want it to be 1940s and I want it to look really elegant, but we need to be able to fight in these things.'"

While the dress allowed for easier movement and what Rodriguez described as an evolution for Letty's character, there was a painful trade-off.

"It was designed for a fight, but it wasn't designed for the stunt person to be protected in the back. "My stunt double, Heidi Moneymaker, was really pissed off because there was no place for any back protection and she had to fly through a wall. "At the end of the day though, she was really, really thankful I looked beautiful."

Rousey is Rodriguez's second MMA-trained opponent in the franchise, having taken on Gina Carano in Fast & Furious 6.


While most actresses might have winced at the thought of the assignment, this gutsy babe wouldn't have it any other way.

Asked if she found it tough to keep up with professional fighters, she said: "I love it. I would prefer them over actresses because a grand majority of the time, an actress doesn't care that much about action sequences.

"It's hard to find actresses that do and it's hard to get them to do extraordinary things. For me, since I'm a girl, I feel this pressure to push harder and harder to make something better and bigger.

"I feel that someone from an MMA or UFC background... will bring some inspiration to the stunt coordinator to make it the best fight ever.

"He knows he has me because I'm always pushing the line, but to have professionals come in and bring their own taste and their own talent to it really makes the stunt coordinator's eyes sparkle."

This article was first published on April 1, 2015.
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