Screen Rant sat down with Gina Rodriguez and Tessa Thompson to discuss Alex Garland’s big screen adaptation of Jeff VanderMeer’s book, Annihilation. They discuss the importance of diverse women getting well written roles and what it means to them and their vision of our future.
Screen Rant: Amazing, amazing film, I like sci-fi movies that make you think, like when they’re done, I think that’s when sci-fi’s right.
Tessa Thompson: Same.
Screen Rant: So what did you guys connect with the most in this story, personally?
Tessa Thompson: I can answer the so many things. . .
Gina Rodriguez: That was, I felt exactly the same way. I was like there’s so many elements. . .
Tessa Thompson: So many things, that the film is part of it is and meditation on and how we as humans deal with the fact that we are not forever and truthfully that’s something that I take for granted, I don’t sit and consider my mortality because the type of the most fun thing to consider, but it’s important to remember, it’s important to go through life knowing that, you know, it’s not unlimited.
Screen Rant: Sure.
Tessa Thompson: I think it effects, you know, the way that you move through space, in a positive way really, I think . . . so that our relationship to our environment that we have to be careful, we can’t mistreat it, you know, because we might lead to it’s destruction, to an extent that exceeds our ability to fix it with technology and that’s an important thing to really remember, like, you know, recycle.
Screen Rant: Definitely.
Gina Rodriguez: Being able to work with Alex Garland, being able to transform into a character that you aren’t always given the opportunity to play, being able to be among such talented artists that you know are going to uplift and challenge you, those were, you know . . .
Screen Rant: Right. Now, you know, one of the coolest things that I liked about this movie was that there’s strong female characters that aren’t defined by their gender, but more by their capabilities . . .
Tessa and Gina: Mmmhmm.
Screen Rant: What do you guys think that means for what. . .how important is that in this in Hollywood right now . . .
Gina Rodriguez: In our climate?
Screen Rant: Yeah, exactly.
Gina Rodriguez: It’s a reflection of I think what we want to see, I think it’s a reflection of reality, which is that we are storytellers first and foremost, we aren’t defined by our gender and we aren’t defined by our culture or our skin color, we can tell a human story like anyone else can. So um, I don’t even remember what I was saying. . .
Tessa Thompson: I also think it’s important in terms of combating a bias that people have. . .
Gina Rodriguez: Yes.
Tessa Thompson: I think there’s . . . it’s why it’s important in our media to have that is because if the vast majority of the time that you see a scientist on screen or paramedic on screen you see them as a man, then it creates a culture in which that’s what people think of when they hear the word doctor, when they hear the word paramedic, and so young people then have a limited scope of what they’re capable of, of what they can do and so we need to see women in in all walks of life, in all professions on film, so that young women can see themselves as anything. As doctors, as lawyers, as paramedics, as marine biologists. . .
Gina Rodriguez: That was 100% my upbringing also, aiming for Latinos and the lack of representation on screen, I have two older sisters, one is a CEO of a private equity firm, the other one’s a doctor, somebody’s going to tell me that those people don’t exist and of Latino descent? You’re wrong.
Screen Rant: Absolutely.
Gina Rodriguez: I grew up in that environment, so I know that that’s true. So that preceded these conversations and for me I’ve always been in search of a space where I can be an artist first and foremost and not limited by that my skin color.
Screen Rant: Amazing.
Gina Rodriguez: And I think that, (to Tessa) like you said, young kids are going to see themselves in lots of different areas and know that their abilities are large, their opportunities are large, and they are not capped or limited to anything.
Tessa Thompson: Yeah.
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