Interview: Ramon Rodriguez
Fri, 26 Jun 2009 09:20:16
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Videos
Ramon Rodriguez is a true Transformers fan. That's instantly apparent from hanging out with him for even five minutes.
In Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, he plays the hilarious and enigmatic Leo Spitz—one-half dorm room entrepreneur and one-half smooth talking hustler. Ramon brings a lot of heart to the role, and he's got the perfect sense of humor too, providing some of the film's biggest laughs.
Sitting in a restaurant on the Paramount lot, Ramon's excitement over Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is genuine and infectious. However, even though it's opening day of the summer's hottest action movie, he couldn't be cooler or friendlier. Ramon talked to ARTISTdirect.com in this exclusive interview about Leo, classic action heroes and the Transformer in his backpack.
Since Leo runs The Real Effing Deal.com in the film, Did you spend a lot of time looking at those conspiracy sites and videos online?
Yeah, I got into it! It's really deep, and people truly immerse themselves in it. They're always trying to uncover things. They're searching for things and waiting for sightings. I couldn't believe how big it was. It's a whole big world. People post things all the time on The Real Effing Deal. They mention different sightings. All of that stuff is crazy!
Your character isn't just a web mogul, he's a hustler too.
He's got all of these short cuts in life, and he's always trying to get things done. He starts off selling kitten calendars and he dreams of becoming a baby billionaire [Laughs]. He sets up the dorm room with the "Hot Freshmen 55." We had a whole thing going on [Laughs]. I love it because people come up to me, and they're like, "We hated your character at first, and then we loved you!"
Having grown up a Transformers fan was there any moment that you just couldn't believe when you were on set?
The whole thing was like that! From getting the part to the first day on the set to trying to maintain focus at the same time and be professional. I kept a little Transformer with me the whole time. It was Starscream only because he was the smallest one. So I had this little Starscream with me the whole time. Fortunately, my mom saved some of my toys, and it just so happened that eight of them were Transformers. So when I got the part, I went back and literally rummaged through this garbage bag of toys trying to find them. I went through He-Man, G.I. Joe and then, boom, I was like, "Oh my God!" I found eight Transformers, and it was like hitting the jackpot. I was cleaning them, and I said, "You guys are coming back to life!" [Laughs]
Where did you keep Starscream on set?
In my book bag…I had this Nike book bag with me the whole time and Starscream was in it. One day on set, I went up to Michael Bay, and I showed him. I was like, "Mike, I'm a true fan, bro! Just so you know!" [Laughs]
Did you look up to any action heroes as a kid?
Schwarzenegger, man! Commando, Conan and Terminator! Commando was amazing. In the opening sequence, he's carrying a tree trunk. It was just so badass. That movie was huge! Terminator and Terminator 2 are so epic.
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen feels like an '80s action movie.
It's a fun ride! That's one of the things that attracted me to the role. I knew this movie was going to be a lot of explosions and a lot of action. I felt like the comedy was going to be what would actually connect the audience and bring them back from everything that's going on. We know it's rough times, and there's a recession, but people want to escape. Michael knows comedy, and he loves incorporating it into all of his movies. I'm just lucky I got to be the butt of some jokes [Laughs].
Now that you've done Transformers, what are some other dream projects?
I always love a challenge something different! A really cool drama piece would be great. I love Guillermo Del Toro's work. If I could do a Scorsese joint, that'd be cool!