Entertainment

10.08.13

Lady Gaga’s Kick-Ass Movie Debut As A Sexy Assassin In ‘Machete Kills’

Pop superstar Lady Gaga makes her acting debut as a glamorous assassin in Robert Rodriguez’s gonzo action flick ‘Machete Kills.’ The director spoke to Marlow Stern about the pop star’s acting chops.

Robert Rodriguez, the acclaimed filmmaker behind movies like El Mariachi, Desperado, and Sin City, has a knack for discovering talent.

Back in the mid-‘90s, he gave ER star George Clooney his first acting break in movies, casting him as a badass, tattooed criminal-cum-vampire slayer in the 1996 film From Dusk Till Dawn. Clooney won an MTV Movie Award for “Best Breakthrough Performance,” and, well, the rest is history.

“People figure [Clooney’s] always been around, but he literally couldn’t get a movie role because he was so good at playing a nice doctor on TV that nobody wanted to cast him in anything else,” says Rodriguez.

Now, the seasoned filmmaker has paved the way for a new acting talent: pop diva Lady Gaga. In Machete Kills, Rodriguez’s bloody-insane exploitation flick, the songstress plays La Chameleón -- one guise of a shape-shifting assassin that is also played by Walter Goggins, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Antonio Banderas. After a $10 million bounty is placed on the head of ex-Federale Machete (Danny Trejo), the assassin -- along with every other killer along the Mexico-America border -- is after him.

According to Rodriguez, Gaga had made comments in the press following the release of the film series’s first installment, Machete, that she wished her song, “Americano,” could have been featured in it. So, the director called her up to gauge her interest in appearing in the film’s sequel, and she replied, “It’s been a dream of mine to work in a film of yours or Quentin Tarantino’s!”

I have so much footage of her chasing Machete and I have to figure out how to use it!

“She told me she studied acting and started out as an actor, but music took over,” says Rodriguez. “So I said, ‘Well, I’ll write you a part -- a real part -- and not just as Lady Gaga, but you’ll play a character and have dialogue.’ I wanted to create something that was memorable, but also small enough that she could do it while on tour."

Gaga paid a visit to Rodriguez’s office and rehearsed some scenes with another actor. Immediately, he knew she was “the real deal.”

“She wasn’t nervous at all,” he says. “I was like, ‘We’ll have fun on Machete Kills, but I’m already thinking about ten things we can do after.’ She was confident, wanted to work with the director and wanted direction, but also brought her own thing.”

La Chameleón makes her first appearance about forty minutes into Machete Kills. After El Chameleón 2, played by Gooding Jr., disposes of a group of tourists at a gas station, as well as a garage attendant, he rips off his mask and reveals himself to be Gaga. Sporting strawberry blonde hair, a red, strapless leotard, cape, and a handgun with a silencer, she saunters down the street towards her next kill.

Video screenshot

“Every single take was perfect,” says Rodriguez. “I told her, ‘I’ve never said this to anyone before: the first take is just to warm up, but you nailed it on the first take, so let’s just do five or six more takes just because -- even though we already got it.’”

Later on, Gaga is in a VW bus chasing down Machete. “Hola, motherfucker!” she screams, before ramming the bus into his customized muscle car and shooting at him. But due to Machete’s maneuvering on the road, Gaga’s vehicle flips and skids to a halt.

When we next see Gaga, she’s strutting on the side of the road with a wolf fur draped over her shoulder. She slowly aims her gun as a poor passerby: “Straight up, or with a little flare,” she says, cocking her gun to the side. Bang.

“I wrote her some extra dialogue and some of it isn’t in the movie and will be in the extras,” says Rodriguez. “She was being so inventive in the car, so I had to reorganize the entire sequence around it. I have so much footage of her chasing Machete and I have to figure out how to use it!”

At the end of Machete Kills, a fake trailer is shown for a sequel to the film called Machete Kills Again… In Space! Gaga's featured in it, looking glam and wielding her weapon of choice: a handgun with a silencer. Whether or not this is the last we’ll hear of La Chameleón remains a mystery.