Gina Rodriguez and Evan Rachel Wood star in the queer love story Kajillionaire. The film is written and directed by Miranda July and is her first feature in nearly a decade. According to Entertainment Tonight the movie “is a heist film about the cult-like nature of family that follows a character named Old Dolio (played by Evan Rachel Wood) as she embarks on a series of low-stakes grifts with her parents. When an attractive outsider, Melanie (Gina Rodriguez), joins the scheming trio, Old Dolio‘s entire life is turned upside down.” Kajillionaire premiered at Sundance earlier this year and is set to release Friday September 25th. “I feel like the foundation of this film is love,” Rodriguez told ET, “How we find it, seek it, desire it, long for it and seeing the way each character‘s relationship with love develops and evolves... You see that we all need that. We all need love, first and foremost.”
ET spoke with July to talk about her process creating, the story, and the two leading ladies. July called Evan a “shapeshifter” and recalled, “Evan is such a shapeshifter. I remember clawing through Google Image search trying to find pictures of her without makeup. Or [being] like, ‘Oh, look. She‘s wearing kind of a big shirt there.’ And then finally having dinner with her and still looking for some kind of signal -- because she’s such a good actress that it’s really hard to know, if it even matters, who is the real Evan. I maybe still don’t know.” The question of “who is the real Evan” came to play when July discovered that Woods has been disguising her real voice. When July found out, she asked her to use her real voice for the film. July explained, “I never would have been bold enough to ask an actor to do a different voice for a whole movie. Like, I’m just not that confident. [Laughs] But she suddenly dropped her voice down one day and said, ‘This is my natural register.’ Like, ‘This is my original voice. I got vocal nodes, so a vocal coach trained my voice up like this.’ It was a total trip to me. I was like, ‘Wait a sec. You’re saying that other voice is the one you started out with? Do you think you could do that for the whole movie?“ And she’s like, ‘Oh, no problem.’ I was like, ‘Oh my goodness. Have you ever done this before for a movie?’ This just seemed like free gold to me, and it also helped her drop down into Old Dolio instantly.”
As for filling the queer roles with queen actresses, July explained “I knew they both were bisexual. That was important to me, that they both had had relationships with women and that wasn‘t going to be some reach for them. I don’t want to speak for them, but I would just say we had intimate conversations right off the bat. I remember with both of them, in our first meetings, talking about our intimacies that we’d had with women.” As for Rodriguez, Woods put the idea in her head about playing the character. Woods explained, “In the case of Gina, I had told Lena about the script early and told her about this beautiful Latina woman, and she was like, ‘Who will be Gina Rodriguez, right?’ I was like, ‘Oh wow.’ And from that point on, I became obsessed with her and really began writing for her, and when the time came, I was like, ‘Please introduce us. I think the script is ready for her.” Gina told ET, “What drew me to the project was that I’d never read this script and that was such a rare thing in this age of remakes and franchises and sequels. It reminded me of the golden era of independent film, where there were these tragic comedies told through this artful medium that was slightly surreal but very much rooted in reality and real emotion.“
Woods and Rodriguez did an “ask each other anything” over FaceTime for IMDB that was posted Thursday. The duo talked about that time Rodriguez danced with Britney Spears for “Jane the Virgin,” their time working with powerful women directors and shared some fun stories on set. Woods said Kajillionaire was the first time she had ever danced for a movie. Rodriguez recounted filming that scene in a truly “aw omg” way and said, “I remember seeing that and not having to act while watching you and very much falling in love with you.” They both smiled at each other and laughed.