A chat with Paul Walker (“Hours”)

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In “Hours” (available in select theaters and on VOD December 13th), Paul Walker portrays Nolan Hayes, a man who has to deal with the consequences of Hurricane Katrina while facing a personal tragedy surrounding the birth of his daughter. The film contains elements of action, thriller and caused the actor to encounter a personal attachment to the movie. Prior to his tragic death, Walker sat down to discuss the challenges and satisfaction in taking on such a unique role, as well as his relationships with his “Fast and the Furious” castmates.

With the clock ticking away, what did you tap into as an actor to relay that urgency?

PAUL WALKER: We were probably about two-thirds of the way into the movie and it hit me what the significance of this project was to me. It was weird the way it happened. Just by page value, I was like, “Wow, this is pretty powerful.” I was crying and upset and yelling at him. I was feeling all these emotions. I realized it wasn’t about Nolan and a baby, and this beautiful girl. This is life and this machine is just this crazy thing I’ve been running for I don’t know how long. I’m just spinning it for what reason? I’m just juggling all these balls. You’re trying to make sense of it and it hit me when I was a kid. I started doing this in my early twenties. I was like, “I’m a science guy. I’m a geek. I’m into science and botany and marine sciences. I’m supposed to be outdoors and hiking. Maybe I’m supposed to be a professional guide.” I fought this for years and years and years, but at the same time, I wasn’t stupid. I was like, “I just had a child out of wedlock. It’s a good thing I’m making another movie. I’m going into “Varsity Blues,” just before I thought about leaving. I could put a roof over my baby’s head and then I could figure out my stuff. I’m in this movie and it speaks to me in a very pure and truthful level. What I didn’t realize is that this is my life. This is all of our friggin’ lives. We’re running around and cranking this stupid machine and we get flat-backed and something crazy happens to us and you look inside the box and go, “Holy shit.” So, I was about two-thirds into the movie and thought, “Oh my god, this is so therapeutic.”

How much of a physical toll was doing this movie?

PAUL WALKER: It was a walk in the park. (Laughs) It had a good balance, the physicality and the emotional component. I remember it being around midday and going, “Holy hell, I’ve got six hours left to go,” but at the end of the day…let me go back. My father was a contractor. He made me learn a different trade every summer going through high school. All of his buddies were tradesmen. My dad was like, “They can never take skill sets away from you. That’s something you’ll always have, so you’ll always be worth something, because you’ll always be able to provide a certain service.” He’s smart like that. My grandfather’s like that, too. At the end of the day, you can go, “Wow, look what I did.” Movies don’t have that. A film goes off in a canister or on a digital chip. There’s nothing to show for it. I said some things and I was trying to be cool, but that’s about it. (Laughs) That’s all you have. On this one, at the end of the day, I was like, “I experienced some stuff today. I felt some things.” I connected with Genesis. I loved that girl, working off her. I fell in love with her. It was reinvigorating. At the end of the day, I was like, “There might not be anything to show for it, but there’s something to feel for it.” So, when it came to work and getting up the next day, I was like, “Hell yeah!” I was ready to go.

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Movie Review: “Fast & Furious 6″

Starring
Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Luke Evans, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Sung Kang, Gal Gadot, Gina Garano
Director
Justin Lin

The “Fast and Furious” franchise is like popcorn movie kryptonite – it’s my only weakness. (Okay, maybe not my only weakness.) But for as cheesy, soapy and utterly preposterous as the movies can get at times, they’re also incredibly entertaining, especially following director Justin Lin’s retooling of the series. Though the sixth installment doesn’t quite live up to 2011’s “Fast Five,” which took the franchise to new heights in more ways than one, it still delivers everything that fans have come to expect over the years. Bigger and dumber but still tons of fun, “Fast & Furious 6” may have you rolling your eyes even more than usual, but that’s part of what make the series so great.

Picking up several months after the events of “Fast Five,” the movie finds Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) laying low in Spain when he’s visited by DSS agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) with some interesting news: his old flame, Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), isn’t quite as dead as previously believed. In fact, she’s working with a British soldier turned criminal named Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) who’s planning on stealing a top secret computer chip worth billions, and Hobbs needs Dom’s help to catch him. With the promise of full pardons for everyone involved, and the added incentive of finding out what happened to Letty, Dom enlists the rest of the crew (save for Puerto Rican jokesters Tego and Rico) and heads to London to face off against Shaw and his own team of street racing criminals.

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5 Questions with Génesis Rodríguez of “Casa de mi Padre”

Be sure to check out our interview with the “Casa de mi Padre” cast and crew, including Will Farrell, Diego Luna, Génesis Rodríguez, Nick Offerman, and writer Andrew Steele!

If you’re a regular viewer of Telemundo telenovelas such as “Prisionera,” “Dame Chocolate” and “Doña Bárbara,” it’s a bit odd you’re reading an online men’s magazine. If you have watched them, however, odds are you are already a fan of the beautiful young woman whose full name is Génesis Rodríguez Pérez. A second generation Latin American TV star — her father is Venezuelan legend José Luis Rodríguez, aka “el Puma” — Ms. Rodríguez (“La Pumita”) is Miami born and bred. She is, to say the least, equally loquacious in both Spanish and English and, in the nicest possible way, just a bit wacky in her approach to chatting up the press. So much so, in fact, we expect her to conquer Hollywood shortly.

A seasoned veteran with plenty of onscreen gravitas at the shockingly young age of 24, she makes a entirely credible romantically conflicted leading lady opposite budding Latin American leading man Will Ferrell (pronounced “Wheel Fer-all”) in the over-the-top Spanish language Mexploitation/telenovela spoof, “Casa de mi Padre.” “Casa” however, is not Ms. Rodríguez’s only recent brush with the big time. After a relatively small part as one of Turtle’s bevy of attractive drivers on “Entourage,” she has also appeared in her first really big American movie as Jamie Bell’s girlfriend in the hit thriller, “Man On a Ledge.” The high profile production also gave her a scene with thespian living legend Ed Harris (see a photo from the film below, before question #4). Her next gig is “Hours,” an intense drama set during Hurricane Katrina and co-starring Paul Walker.

Clearly, Génesis Rodríguez is more than holding her own in the world of Yanqui entertainment. She certainly gave much better than she got when it was time for us to ask her five questions.

1. Who’s more intimidating, Ed Harris or Will Ferrell?

Ed Harris, because Will Ferrell’s a teddy bear. Will Ferrell’s the sweetest individual you could ever come across. Ed Harris is very method, so if he plays a villain, good God. You’re going to be scared. You’re going to be very scared.

2. You obviously did just fine in the movie, but since this was your first big, funny movie with some pretty major comedy talent, are we going to see your cracking up all over the “Casa de mi Padre” Blu-ray?

I really tried to keep it together. There were moments. I don’t take myself very seriously, as you can see; I’m kind of a goofball. I kind of get nervous when people are extremely intense. So I tend to crack. I just start laughing for no reason. If someone has an accidental fall or something, and they’re hurt, I can’t help it. It just happens out of nervousness. So, I really had to learn how to keep it together. I didn’t want to be that jerk that Will hired that’s a newbie that can’t hang around the comedy people.

I had to say different, random things in my head, like, “This isn’t funny, Génesis, why don’t you just come on?” “He’s not funny.” “This is not funny, come on.” I would think about my grandmother and what I was going to eat later and just random things to keep my mind occupied — as well as thinking about my acting. It’s a very complicated thing to do!

3. Since this is for an online men’s magazine, I am forced to ask you about “Entourage.” What was the best thing and what was the worst thing about your stint there?

The best thing was just the people who do “Entourage.” They’re so very respectful. They’re a very nice group of guys to hang out with on set.

The worst thing about it is that I was hired to be a driver and I didn’t know how to drive. I had to drive the car and I didn’t know how to do that. They said, “Hey, Gen, this is a $500,000 car. Are you okay with this?”

And I said, “No, see, I don’t know how to drive.” So, they had to get a stunt [person] for my little part in “Entourage,” which I find to be very ridiculous.

4. And what’s the best and the worst thing about being a telenovela superstar?

Telenovelas have a stigma to them but it’s part of our culture. People don’t know how hard it is to be in a telenovela. It’s 18 hour workdays, Monday through Saturday, for eleven to [16] months straight. No breaks. We only had Sunday off. We really became vegetables by the end of it. It was extreme hard work.

The good thing about it was the audience that we got. We were on the air five days a week and we were in prime time. People were watching us when they were cooking, or putting the kids to bed, or eating dinner. You really became a part of their home. When people recognize me, they hug me, they kiss me, and they love you because you’re part of their family.

The same thing. When I see someone from a telenovela that I love, I kind of melt. I kind of melt because I adore them. You don’t even know the person but you feel like you love them. That’s the beauty of a soap opera; it’s a very special fan, a very special audience.

5. Speaking of your telenovela work, Will Ferrell has publicly marveled at your ability to cry on cue. What’s the secret?

This is something you learn doing a soap opera. It’s something that you automatically know that you just have to do. People get scared when they hear that, especially men. They’re like, “Ohhh — this one; she knows how to cry on command. This is kind of scary.” But you kind of can tell when I’m faking it.

You can tell because when I really cry, my face just completely distorts and morphs into another ugly, ugly face. My chin starts trembling and that’s when it really hurts to cry. The tears thing — it’s just technique. It’s just like anything else, for me. Which is a gift, I know. I know, it’s a gift. Do you want me to do it right now?

[We were initially startled, but of course we did!]

You don’t have a camera, but you’ll see.

[At this point, Ms. Rodríguez took a gulp of water. An intense, but not particularly disturbed, look crossed her face as she began the tearing up process. Her voice got noticeably more quiet, but she continued talking.]

It’s coming…You get glassy. You just start getting watery. I’m not thinking about absolutely anything. It’s coming. You see it? You can’t see it yet? It’s going to happen.

[And sure enough, the waterworks flow. Very impressive.]

It’s nothing. I could talk about cupcakes and dogs. I can talk about happy things and rainbows.

  

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