Giselle Itie plays the General’s daughter in this weekends surprise blockbuster The Expendables. And her character is not messing around: she leads an underground rebel movement against her father. The Mexico City-born Itie, whose mom is Brazilian and father is French-Mexican, started her career in Brazilian theater and telenovelas. The Expendables is the 28-year-old’s first Hollywood film. Here's what she had to say about the experience:
What was it like being the only woman on set with these enormous men?
There was a lot of testosterone! But most of my friends are men, so I felt really comfortable. I started warning people, ‘You do something to me, I’m calling the Expendables.’
What do you like about your character, Sandra?
It was very important that my first role in Hollywood be a Latina that didn’t have to be sexy. Sandra is not sexy at all. She’s very human; she fights for her people. I loved her power and strength.
Were you bummed that Sandra and Stallone’s character, Barney Ross, don’t even share a kiss?
No, I loved that the movie wasn’t about a relationship between a man and a woman; it was person to person. It was very much about respecting humanity. He was worried about Sandra and returns to the island to help her, but what he was really doing was saving himself. It was precious.
There’s a scene in which you get tortured—waterboarded—by the bad guys. What was that like?
When I got on set, [director Sylvester Stallone] was like, you’ll have a stunt double in this scene. And I was like, 'No! Please. I really want to do it.' After about 30 minutes of begging, I convinced him.
It was incredible. All those big guys were really impressed. They started clapping. They had to realize that they were watching a strong woman. As the only girl, I had to show that women are stronger than men.
Having said that, are you surprised that Sandra never carries a gun?
There was a scene in which I was going to get a gun. But we decided that she didn’t need it. She had the strength of el pueblo. She was the symbol of all people who suffer that terrible dictatorship, the desire to have freedom. That’s stronger than any gun.
Which Latin American women do you admire?
Frida Kahlo. She was a strong woman, free. She lives on in her paintings, in the souls of people who enjoy her work, her words, her strength, her struggles, her fight for people. She always followed her essence. Whatever she did and wherever she went, she was Mexican, she was a Latina.