And now she's in the middle of the big-budget action thriller Eagle Eye, opposite Shia LaBeouf, as a government agent trying to unmask a mysterious female who's using technology to control her victims' every move.
Q: In Eagle Eye, everyone's privacy is at risk. Have you ever been a little obsessive about protecting your own?
A: Totally. It's freaky, but I was never been able to keep diary as a child because I was always afraid that someone was going to read it. I remember I used to write stuff down that I really thought I should remember. But I would write it in code. And then I'd try to read what I wrote and I couldn't. I'm going, 'Oh, this just sucks.' But I always had this weird feeling that someone could invade my privacy.
Q: I guess Eagle Eye is a reminder that we're even more vulnerable in the electronic world in which we live.
A: It seems like everything from your e-mails to cell phone calls get recorded and there are video cameras everywhere. You go online to shop and a web site tells you, 'This is what you bought last week so this is what you would like this week.' It's scary where we're going.
Q: Speaking of scary, you were in the middle of some awesome action in this film.
A: The real challenge was the wardrobe. I'd show up in like jeans and a t-shirt in the morning and then I'd have to put on this tailored suit. It was weird having to do stunts in it especially when I got soaking wet. And we found out that if you're an agent in the Office of Special Investigations they have a dress code — your watch strap has to be a certain length, your earrings can't be too large, and you have to keep your hair in a bun. D.J. Caruso, the director, said, 'I really want your hair down.' I'm like, 'That would be a violation of policy.'
Q: You're constantly at odds with Billy Bob Thornton, who plays an FBI agent with his own agenda. How did the two of you get along between takes?
A: Well, he found out that even though I was a New Yorker, I'd lived in Austin, which I guess sort of makes me a Texas girl. Then my mother brought some home-cooked Southern style meals to the set and that clinched it. Billy Bob was like, 'Your mom understands that boys from the South like collard greens.'
Q: Eagle Eye not only has plenty of action, there's also violence. How do you feel about putting that on the screen?
A: I'm just tired of all the movies like Saw where women are the objects of brutality. We're at war right now. And it's really interesting that it seems like such a male-dominant thing. But there are a lot of women who are a part of the fight in Iraq, and people don't ever really think about that.
Q: After a memorable role in Kevin Smith's Clerks 2, you passed on Zack and Miri Make A Porno. Were you worried about over-pushing the envelope?
A: Absolutely not. It was strictly about scheduling. I think Kevin does a brave thing by really exposing people's true thoughts. Like when you're sitting around with people you like who are just kind of bitching and moaning. That's when you can get passionate and say something in the most outrageous way you possibly can because you're with your friends. With your friends, there are no filters.
Q: Does that reflect your own life?
A: Especially with my family. I have five uncles, and they're all about charley horses and trying to make each other puke. My grandfather will tell you crazy dirty jokes that you wouldn't possibly believe.
Q: What about your grandmother?
A: At 71, she's like, 'I did so many things and I could have done so many more things, but you know, I'm happy with the life that I've had.' And I want to be able to be in that same position when I get older. I got into acting kind of by accident so I don't have that feeling of being driven to succeed. I definitely come from a working family where you learned that you work to survive. But I have the ability now to work to live and I'm think I'm starting to do that.
Source: Rosario Dawson Online