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Eiza González on how Ambulance role is a ‘love letter’ to EMTs

Ambulance star Eiza González spoke to the Digital Fix about the importance of her role as EMT Cam and how her character pushed boundaries in a new interview

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If Eiza González had a nickel for every time she played a role in an action movie involving a getaway driver, she’d have two nickels: which isn’t a lot, but it’s weird it happened twice. Before stepping into the EMT uniform of the hostage Cam Thompson in Ambulance, González was on the other side of the gun’s barrel as Darling in The Baby Driver.

As the wife of trigger-happy Buddy (Jon Hamm) in the 2017 heist film, the pair operated an underground robbery ring and were behind much of the bloodshed, danger, and destruction in the movie. Meanwhile, as Cam, González was quite literally trying to stop the bloodshed, knowing that the survival of a wounded police officer and fellow hostage Officer Zach (Jackson White) was crucial for her survival after two bank robbers hijacked her ambulance.

As she balances this battle to survive with the battle to save Zach’s life (and a battle of wits with Jake Gyllenhaal’s Danny Sharp), the audience learns more about the complex Cam Thompson. She’s a quick-thinking and sharp-tongued medical marvel with a few secrets and demons of her own — and if one thing’s for sure, she is not your average female lead. To find out more about Cam’s story and how she brought that to life, The Digital Fix spoke to the one and only Eiza González.

The Digital Fix: Hi, Eiza! It’s great to meet you. We really loved watching Ambulance. Firstly, we’d love to ask your thoughts on what drew you to Cam as a character?

It’s rare to get scripts where if you’re not the leading role, especially when the roles are some of the men or the leading men, the female character is not a love interest, or sort of following whatever the guys are doing because it’s the right thing to do. She’s like, you know, or for their for the male gaze, and especially in action. I feel like her autonomy was what really made me so inspired. It was a woman with agency.

But I thought, ‘wow’, it’s cool to see a female character in this world, that she just is completely who she is. And she’s not like trying to appease anyone. She’s not obliging to sort of the standard of what they want. She’s a badass; she’s vulnerable. She’s talented, she’s gifted, he’s selfless. She dedicated her life to others. She’s young, she’s definitely, obviously, I’m a Latina, and I get to play a role without being an archetype or stereotype of what a Latino community is. 

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So it was all really positive things. And then it was wrapped up in an amazing script with an amazing cast. And with the king of action, so it was like, I was definitely begging more for it to be mine than them begging me, you know?

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TDF: Cam is a paramedic, former med student, and at one point, she performs surgery. How did you prepare for this role, and especially technical moments like the surgery scene, to ensure that your portrayal of an EMT was as realistic as possible?

EG: That was my priority number one, my especially top goal. I didn’t want to just be the bimbo running around in an EMT costume, especially in the time that we’re living in. I felt so much pressure to do them justice, and to me, this is a love letter to our first-line responders. So part of that is really about becoming who they are, and it was beautiful. We had Danny, who is our professional EMT on set with us all the time, and she was just so utterly wonderful.

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And you know, I really wanted to inspire Cam based on her, and I would ask her, like, what would you do in a situation like this? How would you feel in a situation like this? Now let’s think about that while being taken, hostage. And so it was fun because there were all these things as well. I talked to him, medics and surgeons, and they walked me through the surgery, and I really learned about that.

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And I really prepared. It was like going to medical school on a daily basis. But it was cool because you know these scripts when they come in. They’re very, like, wordy words. So if you sound really smart what you’re saying, it was so funny, because I would go to her and I’d be like, ‘Oh, I’m gonna say he had a cardiac arrest’. And she’s like, ‘You would never say that.’

When you’re smart, you don’t have to reiterate that you’re smarter than you know certain things, and therefore, it was like this slang consistently. That was quite cool. And so I really wanted to get that inside dialogue that they have between each other and their humour and the way they carry themselves. So it was a fun research project.

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TDF: At the end of the movie, it feels like there’s a lot more to explore with Cam. Do you feel like there’s scope for an Ambulance sequel, and if so, would that be something you’d be interested in?

EG: I don’t know for sure. If this is sort of, I mean, I don’t know, you should ask Michael Bay, but you know, ultimately, not everything needs to be a sequel. I think we get to know the identities of the characters quite well and sometimes becoming so, you know, hungry to explore more sort of encounter, be counterproductive for roles like this. 

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And I think that what she is and who she is beautifully delivered in this movie doesn’t need much. It’s subtle; it’s beautiful. And she has so many unforgettable moments. So I’m just really happy, and you know, it’s beautiful when you get to work with actors the way that I got to work is just so good. You know just, three, talented, fun people just playing around with the roles, and they’re just really meaty and juicy.

Ambulance is available to watch in theatres from March 25, 2022 in the UK and from April 8 in the US.