What to Know
"Miss Bala" was directed by Catherine Hardwicke.
The film stars Gina Rodriguez, Ismael Cruz-Córdova, Matt Lauria, and Anthony Mackie.
"Miss Bala" is available now on digital and April 30th on Blu-Ray/DVD.
Catherine Hardwicke broke records while helming "Twilight" just over 10 years ago. The film about hot, young vampires made $393 million worldwide and kicked off a decade of Young Adult centric films. Now Hardwicke has stepped behind the camera to direct "Miss Bala", a gritty look at a young woman trapped in the world of the mexican drug cartel.
Gina Rodriguez stars as Gloria. She drives to Tijuana, Mexico to visit her best friend who is competing in the local "Miss Baja" beauty pageant. During a night out, her friend is abducted and Gloria finds herself a pawn in a dangerous game being played by the CIA, the DEA and a charismatic yet ruthless cartel kingpin played by Ismael Cruz-Córdova.
Hardwicke says this story is about a woman finding her inner strength in the face of overwhelming obstacles. She says Rodriguez wanted to be involved in every aspect of the film including trying out her own stunts and proved to be a natural action star.
"Miss Bala" used Tijuana as a backdrop for the story and filmed entirely on location for 5 months. Hardwicke said that was important to her in order to capture the feeling of a border town struggling with the drug cartel crisis.
"We tried to show another side of Mexico that we don't see that often which has a lot of vitality and energy. But it also has the dangerous elements," Hardwicke said.
"Miss Bala" has made just over $15 million so far at the box office and is still playing in select theaters. That's a solid number for a smaller film, but a far cry from the box office smash that put her on the map in "Twilight". That film starring Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson broke records and spawned several sequels, none of which Hardwicke was a part of. She is often asked about the years that followed the success of "Twilight" and why she wasn't offered more films.
"I thought I'd have a three picture deal and get a free car or something," Hardwicke said. But in reality, everything fell flat for a long time. She wasn't offered the same projects that male counterparts were offered. And it seems time has healed some of those wounds because her outlook on that situation, and the industry as a whole is more positive.
"It's exciting that finally there's this spotlight that's being shined on the fact that there aren't very many women and there aren't't very many people of color directing films," Hardwicke said. "And people actually seem to care and are making some kind of effort."
Hardwicke herself has been busy working directing television shows like "This is Us" and "Eyewitness." And she has several film projects in production. But right now, she really wants you to see "Miss Bala."
"For 'Miss Bala' they called me to direct a film with a Latina as the lead. And that's cool! Not many studios have projects like that."
"Miss Bala" is available on digital now, and will be released on Blu-Ray/DVD on April 30th. It stars Gina Rodriguez, Ismael Cruz-Córdova, Matt Lauria, and Anthony Mackie.