Aliens: Jenette Goldstein plays Vasquez: Audition

leading from  

a) Arriving at the audition
She came in to the audition wearing a little silk sleeveless blouse because it was an unusually really hot day, a pair of slacks, high heels and lots of makeup, and she had waist-length hair.  
She noticed that other auditioners who had advanced notice from their agents, were decked out in military fatigues, and this became the first inkling that she would be reading the role as a marine and she was slightly taken aback.

Gayle-Anne Hurd the producer was there and she said to her "Oh, you know, it's about marines"

"Oh shit, I'm dressed so inappropriately" she replied

b) Revealing that she had done som bodybuilding

She told the casting director present that she had done some bodybuilding, and then because she wore a sleeveless blouse she was able to show off the muscles of her biceps so that they could see her buffed up arms

Gayle-Anne Hurd responded "ooh"

They asked her to return for a second look, Gayle-Anne Hurd had started thinking about using her in a smaller part. 
This time, she came prepared, scraping her hair back and scrounging up a pair of army boots.  
Though she wasn't auditioning particularly for the role of Vazquez , the producers liked what they saw.  
c)  A woman previously cast as Vasquez left the production
It turned out that an actress who had been cast as Vasquez already was a born-again christian and went to the producers to tell them that she didn't feel right about the character using bad language and wanted them to tone it down and so they gave the part to Jenette instead. 
At this time the role was of a Latin girl and if he were filming in LA, James Cameron would have hired a Latin girl, but they were in England and the American contingent of the British Equity acting union didn't have many options for Latin actresses. 

d) Eyeing Goldstein for the role of Vasquez

Of course Goldstein  was a women with reddish-brown curly hair down to her waist, a super pale peaches-and-cream complexion, and red freckles. 
As far as Jim cameron could say about it, she was an Irish-looking Jewish girl from L.A. playing a dark-complected Latin girl, and of course in the twentyfirst century when the issue of whitewashing became an issue they would be crucified for doing that.

It took Cameron two weeks to convince Fox, who had their doubts about Goldstein, and he had to go back to them and say, 'No no, this is who I want".
But they were telling him "No, she's never done a film."
And he told them back "Yes, I know, yes, I know, I know, I don't care."

  1. How’d you get your start in acting? I trained at Circle in the Square Theater School in New York and then Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. I stayed in London and worked in theater for a couple years.  
    How did you get the role of Vasquez?  
    Vasquez had already been cast, then the stars aligned and I got the part. I had assumed from the title, Aliens, that the film was about foreigners – resident aliens – so I showed up dressed in regular interview clothes. The day was uncharacteristically hot, so I was wearing a sleeveless blouse. Since I was a struggling actress I had many days free and was spending them at Hyam’s Gym on the edge of Hackney. When producer, Gale Ann Hurd saw my arms, which were superb if I do say so myself, she started thinking seriously about using me in a smaller part. Then the gal with the part, who was a born-again Christian, went to the producers and told them she didn’t feel right about the character using bad language and wanted them to tone it down. That was it, I got the part. Thank you, Jesus  (
  2. Interviewer: And is it true that you went in with heels and a skirt or something like that  
    Jenette Goldstein: I did and I went in, you know it was a first meeting,
    Interviewer: Uhuh 
    Jenette Goldstein:  And I didn't have an agent, so I had no idea what was going on and so yeah, no, I dressed up. I wore you know, erm, heels, I had a, it was a pair of slacks and actually the lucky thing was, it was an unusually really hot day and so I had er, a sort of little silk sleeveless blouse on  
    Interviewer: Uhuh  
    Jenette Goldstein: Which when, she said, and I had makeup and you know the whole thing, and when, you know, when Gayle have mentioned about, "Oh you know, it's about Marines" and I you know, thought "Oh shit, i'm so dressed inappropriately" , you know, um, but then you know I made the I made this little sort of bicep kind of kind of thing you know, and she said "ooh"
    Interviewer: Cause, were you doing some body building at the time  
    Jenette Goldstein: Yuh, I was, I was erm, I was how many years out of, I was about two years out of drama school
    Interviewer: Mmhmm  
    Jenette Goldstein: I went to drama school in London, and I was er, unemployed, a resting as they say in England, it's so nice, I'm just resting
    Interviewer Resting. Or redundant when you're fired  
    Jenette Goldstein: Exactly  
    Interviewer A most amazing euphamism  
    Jenette Goldstein: That's fantastic yes, so I was resting and I was sort of yes, fitfully and I was really, I was really really frustrated obviously and I was like running and erm, there was a gymn. I lived in East London and there was like an old fashioned boxing gymn and Mr Britain trained there. So I went there and I started lifting weights which I used to do as a kid, I, you know, I was kind of a tomboy and I just got really really into it, that whole subculture of you know, body building and I, it was just fun
    Interviewer: Wow  
    Jenette Goldstein: Yuh  
    ("I was there too" podcast, 17th March 2015) 
  3. Goldstein: I wore a sleeveless blouse to audition for a bit part in a movie I thought was about immigrants without papers, and it was my buffed arms that got me the chance to try out for Vasquez. What Jim Cameron did with female action in ALIENS that was really groundbreaking is that he treated it as perfectly normal, as though there had already been 20 movies about tough-girl Marines blasting monsters. You know you've really been empowered when it's not worth mentioning anymore. (
  4. toofab: What sticks out most about this movie is how much of a badass you and Sigourney's characters are. James Cameron loves putting strong women in his films. Can you believe that now, even thirty years later, we're still talking about the lack of strong female characters in films?
    Jenette: Yeah, I guess whatever powers that be that are out there are you know, afraid. You know, it's, "If she’s not pretty, no one's gonna [see the film]" and "Oh, if someone doesn't like her, they're not gonna" … you know, that never just seems to go away.
    I just think it comes from someone writing a great character. James Cameron wrote these badass women. He didn't comment on it. Nobody was like, "Ooh, look at you! You're a woman" you know, he didn't comment on it, didn't patronize them. And he was able to get the film made because he’s a badass, and has steel cajones. And when you think about it, what age he was when he went back to them and said, "This is who I want to cast. This is the script. This is how I think - " you know. He gets a reputation for good and for bad, because he doesn't know? And there's not that many people that can get out there and that's what you gotta do. And yeah. It is kinda rough. It is kind of shocking that, you know, this hasn't changed enormously, but that's the way it is. (
  5. Jim Cameron: Not only was I designing the Smartgun, I was also designing the Vasquez character's look. I wanted her to be this super tough bodybuilder, a Latin girl with cropped hair. She's not more than five foot four, but she's got this huge fucking gun. I think at the point we had already cast Jenette Goldstein in the role, because the illustration looks a lot like Jenette as the character. When Jenette came in she had reddish-brown curly hair down to her waist, a super pale peaches-and-cream complexion, and red freckles. She was an Irish-looking Jewish girl from L.A. playing a dark-complected Latin girl, and, quite rightly, we'd get crucified for doing that today. If we had shot the movie in L.A. I would have absolutely cast a Latin girl, but we were in England, and the American contingent of the British Equity acting union didn't have many options for Latin actresses. So we went with Jenette.(Tech Noir: The Art of James Cameron)  

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