In celebration of the March 31st release of Godzilla vs. Kong, we’ve got Eiza González joining us for an episode of Collider Ladies Night! Some of the conversation does focus on her experience working on the set of Adam Wingard’s massive monster mash, but as always, Ladies Night also takes the time to look back and revisit the steps one took in their career that helped pave the way to their latest accomplishments. For González, joining the cast of Baby Driver was a big one.
The 2017 Edgar Wright release featured González as Darling, Buddy’s (Jon Hamm) wife and an all-around intense and kick-ass member of the heist crew. Despite facing off against blockbuster-sized competition on July 4th weekend, Baby Driver wound up becoming a box office smash, ultimately accumulating $226.9 million worldwide on a $34 million production budget. Being part of a hit like that is bound to boost someone’s star power and it proved to be a significant nudge forward for González in Hollywood. The thing is though, it almost didn’t happen. González might not have been able to do Baby Driver at all had it not been for her From Dusk till Dawn: The Series creator Robert Rodriguez.
While visiting Los Angeles, González wound up auditioning for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Clearly that didn’t pan out, but Rodriguez wound up catching her audition and ultimately cast her in From Dusk till Dawn, which aired on El Rey Network in the US and Latin America, and was made available as a Netflix original elsewhere. The Baby Driver opportunity popped up as the team was gearing up for Season 3 of the show. Here’s how González described the situation:
“A good note is I was not gonna be able to do Baby Driver because I was locked into the series, on the third series of Netflix, and Robert knew that it was so important to me that he re-wrote the third season to get me out of the third season more so I could go do that movie. So honestly, what I keep on saying is that Robert Rodriguez is just a legend. He is the best. If it wouldn’t have been for him, it wouldn’t have happened probably. In every shape or form. He brought me here, he believed in me, he allowed me and enabled me to go do that job.”
After prioritizing Baby Driver, González was able to reunite with Rodriguez for Alita: Battle Angel to play the cyborg assassin, Nyssiana. But even then, it didn’t seem like something that would wind up working in her favor. After spending so much time with Rodriguez on From Dusk till Dawn, she was very aware of Alita but never imagined there would be a role for her:
“So then Alita: Battle Angel came around, but I knew about Alita for a long time because I had been working with him for so long. He was so excited, he kept on showing us all about Alita. We heard when James [Cameron] had just let him know that he was gonna do Alita. We were there, you know? We were a family. We worked three years together. I heard a lot about Alita, but I never thought there was something for me. I was also an unknown actress and the cast was really massive. And I remember he called me, he said, ‘I have this very small role in Alita: Battle Angel, but it’s really cool and I think you would do such a good job.’ And he’s like, ‘But here’s the gist, you have to audition for it. James does not let anyone be in a movie unless they get auditioned and he sees them.’”
While one might imagine there’s loads of excitement in being flat-out offered a role, González embraced the chance to audition for Alita – and to audition in general, for that matter.
“I’m always game to audition. I love auditioning. I’ve learned to love it because it also allows me to feel like I earned something. It’s nice to get offers, but it’s game, you know? It’s game time for me. And so I did, and I auditioned and James eventually liked it and he gave me his seal of approval and I went to set, and then James tried to make my role bigger because he really liked what we had done. So we tried to stretch it as much as possible.”
And all along the way, González never stopped geeking out over the opportunity:
“I was like, ‘I’m with Christoph Waltz. What’s happening? I’m licking Christoph Waltz’s face! What is happening?’ [Laughs] It was so crazy! And it was so fun to do that job because it was also the rise of Rosa Salazar at the moment and I was so excited to see her. She’s so hardworking and such a strong woman with a vision and a clarity and such a good actress, and she tackled this so beautifully.”
If you’re looking for more on González’s experience working on Baby Driver and what it was like auditioning for James Cameron, you’re going to want to keep an eye on Collider on Wednesday, March 31st because that’s when her full Ladies Night conversation will hit the site, just in time for the release of Godzilla vs. Kong.
The star-studded, stop-motion short is part of the campaign to ban animal testing.
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