As much as I love seeing a single person knock their work out of the park, one of the most exciting qualities of an excellent feature film is when you can feel the cast members feeding off of each other and elevating their work in the process. That’s what you can see happening on screen in Miranda July’s Kajillionaire.
The movie stars Evan Rachel Wood as Old Dolio, the daughter of two con-artists. Old Dolio is busy living life as her parents taught her, pulling off small scams and cons wherever possible, but she starts to doubt their day-to-day when they bring someone new into the fold, Gina Rodriguez’s Melanie. She meets Old Dolio’s family on a flight from New York to Los Angeles, having an extensive chat with her parents (Richard Jenkins and Debra Winger). When Melanie comes to learn that they’re right in the middle of a heist, she’s immediately taken by their way of life.
You can’t take yours eyes off of this ensemble from start to finish, but the chemistry between Wood and Rodriguez really takes off when Old Dolio starts to feel that urge to diverge from her parents and their routine. Those are the moments when you can feel that next-level collaboration. Wood and Rodriguez both deliver big, but also bring the absolute most out of each other in the process, and Rodriguez basically described it as such when she spoke about working with Wood:
“I’ve been trying to vocalize how she allows me to be the best version of myself, but it’s been hard to do that so that question is perfect! She makes me feel confident, comfortable, powerful. She creates this brave space where you just feel like you can do anything, and that she’s not gonna find you silly or goofy. You know, there’s no judgment. It’s like, fly! And she’s just flying next to you. And she really does empower you to be the best version of yourself, which is a testament to how confident she is as an artist. She wants everybody to be great around her and I admire that so much because that is how you make a good project; we want everybody to rise!”
If you’d like to hear more about Rodriguez experience working with Wood, how she knows July is really feeling a take, and if Rodriguez is as chatty on planes as her character in the movie is, check out our full conversation at the top of this article! After that, if you’d like even more Kajillionaire content, click here for my chat with Wood and here for the interview with July.
Kajillionaire is now playing in select theaters.
- Is Rodriguez as friendly as her Kajillionaire character on planes?
- What makes Evan Rachel Wood an ideal scene partner?
- What it was like working with Miranda July and what Rodriguez learned from July that she’ll take with her to her own directing projects.
- How does Rodriguez know July is loving a take?
- Rodriguez discusses her upcoming live-action Carmen Sandiego movie.