EXCLUSIVE: Ruby Rose Wants to Be the Cate Blanchett of Action Movies

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It only takes a minute of talking to Ruby Rose to realize she's different. Rose, one of the breakout stars of Orange Is the New Black, slinks down the red carpet at a recent premiere in an equally slinky gold slip. "It's a little bit more refined, one would say. And a little bit less comfortable," she acknowledges with a laugh. When asked who she is wearing -- as one is wont to do on a red carpet -- Rose falters. "Oh god..." She looks off-camera to her nearby publicist. "Who am I wearing?" Rose not-so-sheepishly grins as she turns back to the interview. "I'm terrible."
It's not just her failure to rattle off canned answers to typical red carpet questions, but the look itself: the Julien MacDonald gown adds a high fem flair to the 30-year-old actress' tableau of tattoos and contrasts with her edgy, metalic lip. "I want to do suits and I want to do dresses," she states matter-of-factly. "I want to keep people guessing."
Rose seems to be applying that same mentality to her career. Although her three movies already released this year -- Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, xXx: Return of Xander Cage and John Wick: Chapter 2 -- all happen to be sequels to action blockbusters, she plays characters we have never seen in these movies before. In the continued adventures of Keanu Reeves' monotonous assassin, she plays a villainous and mute henchman, Ares. The character is androgynous. She doesn't dress sexy or show excess skin. She's no one's love interest.
"I loved that she wasn't a character that needed to use her sexuality to seduce someone or to catch him off guard," she says of signing onto John Wick 2. "She had a suit like everybody else." She smiles a cocky grin and off-handedly deadpans, "Mine were slightly nicer."
She continues on, "I love that she was pragmatic and it made sense. If I was running around in a skirt and heels, I would've not stood a chance. I love being able to be rough and tumble like that. I feel like these are characters that are only coming back through now. There were a few back in the day, but there hasn't been that resurgence yet and now it's kind of coming forward. So, when I see them, I'm like, 'I'll take it! I want that one.'"
Photo: Summit Entertainment
It's also what attracted Rose to the latest xXx sequel, where she plays lesbian sniper Adele Wolff opposite Vin Diesel. You'd be pressed to name another openly LGBTQ character in this type of popcorny action flick, one who isn't fetishized or "flipped" by the leading man. (Though it was a disappointment when Adele didn't end up with Deepika Padukone's character.)
"The gender irrelevant bromance, as Vin calls it," she exclaims. "Which is such a great way to describe it. It's unconditional love. It's an equal relationship. He needs her, maybe more than she needs him. That's special. It's unique. Those relationships exist in life everywhere, but they're not shown in cinema so much."
While Rose's post-Orange Is the New Black projects thus far have skewed toward action -- roles, she says, that came "naturally" to her -- she has ambitions outside the genre. (As for future seasons of OITNB, she says she "highly doubts" she will be back.)
"After doing the three action films, I was like, 'I don't want to get into the action vortex and people think I can't do anything but action,'" she admits. "And so, I did Meg, where I play a scientist, and Pitch Perfect, which is a comedy."

If Rose playing a scientist seems like the exact opposite of typecasting, consider Meg's plot: a giant shark -- err, megalodon -- hunts a team of researchers at the bottom of the Mariana Trench. "She doesn't run around with a gun. There are stunts, but a different kind of stunt," Rose revealed to The Insider. "She's a scientist and she's very smart and everything she said is something that I had to learn." The details of the Pitch Perfect threequel, meanwhile, are being kept tightly under wraps. "I sang in a church choir for like six years, so, I've been working on pitching it down and making it--" she rolls her eyes, "pitch perfect." And then...who knows?
"What's easier for me than choosing a particular role is to choose an actor that I aspire to be like and follow in the footsteps of," Rose explains of shaping her career going forward. "My biggest idol is Cate Blanchett. Watching her keep transforming in everything she does, she's so mesmerizing." So Ruby Rose, too, will keep transforming. And she'll stay different. "And I'm loving that the universe and Hollywood is allowing me to."