'Run All Night' actress Genesis Rodriguez on Liam Neeson, her first Oscars and bold moves paying off

By Erica Cupido

Run All Night actress Genesis Rodriguez was born in Miami, but New York City will always have a special place in her heart. For one thing, it’s where she studied acting as a teenager. But more recently, it’s where she returned to shoot the thriller.

“New York is where it all started for me!” the actress tells Hello! Canada, as she reflects on the gig that brought her back to the Big Apple and the success she’s found in Hollywood. “I would’ve never imagined this happening."

Photo: © Getty Images

In her new movie – a fast-paced action flick that’s a far cry from her last film, the animated Big Hero 6 – she plays a pregnant mother of two whose husband (Joel Kinnaman) and father-in-law (Liam Neeson) are the city’s most wanted men.

Here, she tells us about fighting for the role, her fondness for the New York and what it’s like to attend the Academy Awards.

Were you already a fan of Liam Neeson’s when you were cast in Run All Night?
This has been a really wonderful experience because I’ve been watching his movies forever. I really admire Liam Neeson. As an actor and a person, he’s just a really cool guy.

Did you enjoy any downtime while shooting the movie in New York?
I always enjoy downtime in New York. There’s always something to do. No matter how late we end or how early, there’s always a little diner [where] you can go get something. It was the perfect time because [we shot Run All Night as] winter was just starting, so [I’d make] any excuse to get a hot chocolate, a soup or a glass of wine.

How did you land the part?
I was in L.A. when I read the script and I told my agent I was just going to buy myself a ticket and read for the director in New York. I wanted to take that chance. Nothing’s a sure bet, but it is kind of bold when an actor flies themselves out. But I really wanted it. I wanted to do something different, something that challenged me as an actress and makes me better. Every single time I do a movie I try to show a different facet of myself as a woman and an actress. That way, no one can put me in a box. Nobody can say, “Oh, that’s the girl from all the action movies” or “all the comedies.” You can’t really say that about me because every movie I make is different from the last one.

You wear very little makeup in this movie. Off-camera, do you enjoy getting dressed up and playing with your look?
I grew up in Miami, the girls out there really like to dress up. When I was 15-20 I would always love to dress up and get decked out. As I get older, I realize it takes so much work and is unnecessary. Beauty is within. It’s about how you carry yourself.

When you were growing up, did you always want to perform?
I was pretty shy. I was the daughter of a very famous singer and I didn’t really know if I wanted to be part of that world. I took a drama class and realized that I didn’t have to be his daughter when I was acting. So that was an escape for me, I could be whoever I wanted to be. It was awesome. I realized how much I loved it and how much I wanted to do that with my life at such an early age.

Photo: © Getty Images

Did your parents ever warn you against getting into show business?
My goodness, yes! My mother, my poor mother! She did not want me to be part of this world. For her it must’ve been difficult, living with two artists couldn’t have been easy. I’ve made a good career for myself, so my mom’s really proud of me now.

Big Hero 6 won an Academy Award this year and you were there. What was that like?
I know! That was crazy! The Oscars is a beautiful celebration, everyone is so happy. I had the best time ever. It was a lovely experience and I’m so happy I got to share that experience with a beautiful movie with a sweet message. I wouldn’t have done it any other way. It was a perfect first time. I got a taste of it, so now I’ve got to go back.

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