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INT: Natalie Martinez


When I first watched DEATH RACE, I had no idea who Natalie Martinez was. But while I was watching the hour and a half of car explosions and Statham, I found myself enjoying this girl who seems quite comfortable being the tough chick. No wonder she seems to be placed in such testosterone heavy movies like Death Race.

I had the chance to talk with her one on one about making the film and of course, working with Statham. She also opened up about her spending a couple months in Peru shooting a movie with Shane West. Natalie doesn’t seem to be terribly affected by Hollywood at the moment. She is a very down to earth girl that would prefer to spend New Years with her family instead of some club. I appreciate the fact that such an attractive girl seems to really have her priorities straight. I expect big things for Natalie. And you can check her out in Death Race, available now on Blu-Ray and DVD.

Natalie Martinez

So I saw DEATH RACE last night…

Yeah? What did you think?

You know, I saw the original, and I was surprised at how serious it was.

Yeah, it is, huh? [Laughing]

But yeah, I had a good time with it. What was it like for you to play opposite Jason Statham in a picture this big?

It was kind of… especially when you first think about it, it’s like a big budget, Universal film. You know, I had the experience with “Fashion House“ and “Saints and Sinners”, but they weren’t big budgets at all. So there was actually a little bit more excitement. And once I got there and met Jason, Tyrese [Gibson] and Jacob Vargas and Ian McShane and everybody, they were like, just so welcoming and really cool. It made it really, really easy for me to kind of just jump in there, you know.

Well what surprised me about the film, is having someone like Joan Allen there, and it is just awesome seeing her in that role.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, she is. She is definitely good in that role.

It’s weird, I had always heard that she was really over the top in it, but I thought she was perfect in it.

I didn’t think she was over the top at all.

No, I didn’t think so either. I was just really surprised at the serious tone of the film in all aspects.

You know, it’s funny because, it is but I was kind of surprised by how many funny parts there were [Laughing]. I saw it, reading it, I guess when Jacob Vargas, you know when he is talking to Ian McShane and Tyrese comes up and he’s making these jokes. It was really kind of funny and even Jason has a little bit of humor in it too. It’s kind of like everybody who watches it, I think that is what’s good about it… the movie is for everyone. It’s got a lot of action, but its also got that humor where I can find it funny, it has a little bit of everything.

And you get to have some fun. How much did they let you do stunt wise?

I tried to do as much as I could because I love doing all kinds of stunts. But you know, obviously some things weren’t safe for me. I mean, I was in the passenger seat and they had the camera in the driver seat with a stunt driver on top, and they were actually crashing into me. Like when Pachenko, I think it was the Buick, it just slammed into me at like forty miles per hour. I did three sixties in the car. When I got ejected out on the seat, I was actually in an ejector seat, they ejected me.

Wow. That’s cool.

Yeah, so I did a few stunts. Like on the DVD, they are gonna have this scene… I did a scene too, where I got out of a car as the car is moving and people are shooting at me to fix a jam in the gun.

Yes, that is in the film. That’s an awesome scene where you are trying to un-jam the gun and you’re like smacking it around…?


That’s in the film.

Oh wow. ‘Cause that didn’t happen in the movie.

Okay, cool. Its in the unrated version.

Oh, that was one of my favorite… that was so much fun.

Had you seen the original film?

I didn’t watch it, but I saw pieces of it on like YouTube and things like that. But I never got around to actually seeing the whole, complete film. But I know of it, and watching some of it was hilarious… like in the beginning when they say, ‘In the year 2000...’ and here we are in 2008.

Well I thought it was an interesting thing about this one is when it claims that it is 2012 and there is a recession and what have you… it’s kind of terrifying.

I know huh, like two years away. You know what I think it is too with the movie, I feel like DEATH RACE is kind of like a prequel of DEATH RACE 2000. Just because, when you think about it, how do you get to a point where you are running around killing people for points? So maybe this is kind of like how people have taken entertainment this far and it kind of escalated to Death Race 2000.

Now what about working with Paul? He’s got his fans and he’s got his, you know, not so much fans. What was it like working with him as a director, especially this being your first major film? How supportive was he for you?

He was basically the reason I got hired. So he was really supportive of me being in there. He’s a really a good director, you know, I had a really good time with him. He was really easy to get along with. And this was like his baby. He was really excited doing this film and with that, he made it a really good work environment because he’s so excited about it.

Do you feel that you got a lot of negative press because it is a remake? Were you a little nervous about how fans would react?

Ah, no because it’s a remake but it is a different movie. I didn’t think there was as much pressure just because there were so many different things being done. And at least we didn’t turn it into some glamorous, you know, FAST AND THE FURIOUS kind of thing. We kept it kind of, MAD MAX and stuff like that and I think we did a pretty good job. I think a lot of the fans too, like it.

Again, I had fun with it, even though it wasn’t what I expected. You know, you think Roger Corman and you think something completely different. Are you a fan of genre films in general such as horror and sci-fi action?

Not too much. Not that I don’t… I do watch them. But it is not something that I am a huge fan of. I don’t really delve into that kind of area.

What do you prefer?

I like drama a lot. I definitely love comedies and I like period pieces. I’m kind of all over the board with what I like, that’s why I can’t say that I am or I am not a fan of sci-fi and horror. I do like horror films too, I do get scared, you know… one of those. But I’m not connected to any kind of genre really.

Obviously with the DVD release of Death Race it must be kind of strange to be coming back and doing press all over again.

You know, it’s just that it was like a year ago that we did this.

It seems like it would be bizarre.

Yeah, just kind of talking about things, it kind of makes me want to go call people again. Like, ‘Hey, I was just talking about you.’

I know it wasn’t a huge success in the theatre but most likely it will do really well on DVD. And it looks as though the Blu-Ray is pretty awesome…

Yeah, I just got back home, I was away for two months, but I’m going to go buy a Blu-Ray DVD player.

Good for you… where were you?

I was in Peru.

Shooting a film?

Yeah, I was doing an independent out there. For two months I’ve been in Peru.

What film?

It’s called El Dorado for now, I think it’s a working title. It’s a treasure hunting movie, where they are trying to find a lost city of gold and… it’s kind of Indiana Jones-ish. So it was fun.

Who else is in the cast?

Shane West, I play opposite him. And Luke Goss, he was in HELLBOY 2: THE GOLDEN ARMY…

You seem to do a lot of testosterone fuelled movies.

I know, I am [Laughing]. I’m kind of used to it too, because I’m kind of like a “guy’s girl” like a tomboy and stuff like that, but it’s funny because in this film, again, I was the only girl in the cast. In Death Race we had Joan Allen but in this one, I’m the only girl. It’s kind of fun.

It’s something you like…

Yeah, I don’t mind it because people have been really cool and I’m really grateful for the people I’ve worked with have been really respectful. They just kind of take me in, which is nice because we all become friends. I can definitely hang with the boys.

It seems like they might get very protective of you.

Oh yeah, definitely.

Let me know what you think. Send questions and/or comments to [email protected]



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