Talk about a rough couple of weeks. On April 25 Michelle Rodriguez who was slapped with a DUI in Hawaii in December opted to go to jail rather than perform 240 hours of community service. (She was released after serving four days of her five-day sentence.) Then, on May 3, her Lost alter ego, ex-cop Ana Lucia, was gunned down by Michael in a where-did-that-come-from twist. Just days after getting sprung from jail, the free-spirited Rodriguez called TV Guide to spill on leaving ABC's hit series and doing time.
TV Guide: Producers swear to me that the only way you'd sign on to Lost was if they agreed it was just for a year. True?
Michelle Rodriguez: Yeah, that was the deal from the beginning.
TV Guide: Why?
Rodriguez: The biggest fear for me is being in one place for too long. I'm a gypsy. If I stay somewhere too long, it's trouble, as you can see from what happened. [Laughs] And for what I want to do in my career... it'll be harder for me to get an independent film. Artsy-fartsy directors don't want to work with a famous TV actress. They want somebody who's not in the limelight all the time.
TV Guide: How did you feel when you read the script in which Ana Lucia dies?
Rodriguez: Well, the boys [executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse] kept their promise they made sure I went out with a bang. But it was pretty wild. Every time I go to Hawaii, I have a spiritual experience. That place is just amazing. I got into tip-top shape, I stopped smoking, and then boom! Time to go.
TV Guide: So you had started having second thoughts about leaving?
Rodriguez: Yeah. That's exactly what happened. Story of my life!
TV Guide: Did the cast offer support?
Rodriguez: Oh, we partied our butts off! We had so much fun. I didn't know Josh [Holloway, who plays Sawyer] could play the guitar the way he does. He's got a good voice on him, too. Hey, I'm here to play. And learn. Life's a big, giant school. I could be staring down the barrel of a gun and I'm like, "Oh, I wonder what I'm supposed to learn from this." [Laughs]
TV Guide: And what did you learn from your arrest?
Rodriguez: It was stupid to drive [drunk]. But it's something I did because I honestly believe I was agitated from the steroids. [Rodriguez had been taking steroids for allergies since arriving in Hawaii.] And I did a lot of stupid stuff that didn't involve just drinking. I was very "energetic" put it that way. [Laughs] That's a big lesson: Think twice before taking your steroids!
TV Guide: A lot of fans didn't like Ana Lucia. Did that surprise you?
Rodriguez: Not at all. When producers [decided to have Ana Lucia kill Shannon], I was like, "What are you doing? They're gonna hate me!" But in the middle of the season, the fan mail started to pour in and it was all positive. People were like,"OK, you're not such a bitch. Can I have your autograph?"
TV Guide: Did you opt for jail because you knew you wouldn't be sticking around Hawaii long enough to do all that community service?
Rodriguez: That's a decision I would've made even if I did have to be back on the show.
TV Guide: Why?
Rodriguez: Because if I'm gonna do something for the community, I need to do that on my own accord. I don't like being told to do things for the community. I'd rather be in jail for a few days than be told what to do for a month.
TV Guide: What was jail like?
Rodriguez: It was so cool! [Laughs] I love people, and it was a primal crew. The only thing that keeps them going is fighting for salt and making dice out of soap. It was an amazing experience. I wouldn't take it back for anything.
TV Guide: Weren't you even a little scared?
Rodriguez: At the end of my day, I have a really good belief in destiny. It's, like, if I'm gonna be killed in there, I'm gonna be killed in there. But people were cool. I represent the people, you know what I mean? If somebody picks on me, they'll get what's coming.
TV Guide: Did somebody pick on you?
Rodriguez: I didn't have to handle myself is what I'm saying. I had love in there. People got where I'm coming from.
TV Guide: How did you spend your time?
Rodriguez: Drawing pictures for everybody on their shirts. Writing poetry. And singing show tunes with the girls. [Sings] "It's a hard-knock life... for us." I'm not surprised they kicked me out early. [Laughs]
TV Guide: You were having too much fun?
TV Guide: So, you're out of jail and out of a job. What now?
Rodriguez: I'm going to start a clothing line. I thought it'd be a good idea because I can't rely on a paycheck from Hollywood. I don't want to have to do some sci-fi movie that I think is really awful. I'm tired of that. So I'm gonna go make my own money and then decide whether I want to do something in Hollywood, instead of doing it because I need to.