Last time we checked in with Natalie Martinez, she was slaving away playing Mark Wahlberg’s girlfriend in 2013’s political drama Broken City. These days, she’s dealing with another hardship as Madeline, the wife of Ryan Reynolds, in the futuristic thriller Self/Less, out Friday. We’re joking, of course. As far as gigs go, this one is pretty sweet. But Martinez won’t bite — or dish — on her handsome costar.
“He’s very sweet, and very experienced,” she would allow of the father of one who is happily married to Blake Lively. “I mean, he’s been in how many movies? Ryan started when he was so young.” Martinez, who was born in Miami and graduated from St. Brendan High School, had only glowing reviews of everyone involved in the movie, about a wealthy terminally ill tycoon (Ben Kingsley) who undergoes a high-tech procedure called “shedding,” to switch bodies, but not souls, with a healthy young man (Reynolds).
“I mean, it’s Sir Ben Kingsley! He is just so grand,” says Martinez. “Also the director, Tarsem Singh, is very visionary. He did The Cell with Jennifer Lopez. He lends that dreamlike quality to this movie as well. He’s so creative.” The former telenovela actress doesn’t see Self/Less as completely science fiction fare.
“There’s suspense, drama, mystery, romance. I think it’s one of those movies where you leave the theater with something,” she says. “It’s good table talk because the concept is not so far fetched. It’s going to make you think and ask questions like, ‘Would you want to live forever?’ ‘What would you do?’”
She also likes the fact that her character is a strong woman. “Madeline is fighting for her family. She wants to get to the bottom of what happened to her husband. She wants her family back together.” In fact, playing fierce females is right in Martinez’s wheelhouse. She was recently cast as a regular on the upcoming second season of DirecTV’s mixed martial arts drama Kingdom. To say she’s in good shape would be an understatement. “Aside from hiking and spinning, MMA keeps me really fit,” says the current Los Angeles resident.
“This trip to Miami is messing me up because as soon as I see my family all I do is eat!” A must-stop restaurant as soon as she gets to town isn’t anywhere fancy: It’s Chicken Kitchen, “because they don’t exist in L.A.” Yep, it’s good to be home. “As soon as I’m done with interviews I’m running into the ocean,” she says from the Soho Beach House. “I come back here often. Holidays and whenever I am able. Mom’s in Kendall and dad’s in Westchester, and I have friends still in Cutler Ridge, where I grew up.”