Just a hunch here, but we wouldn’t be surprised if, during development, Electronic Arts’ newest throttle revving racer went by the internal codename “The Fast and the Spurious.” Due for DS, PC, PS2, PS3, PSP, Xbox 360 and Wii on November 17, Need for Speed: Undercover promises to take fans of gut-wrenching chase scenes and turbocharged stunts deep within the bowels of the criminal underworld. Your mission, of course, being to overthrow an international crime ring by use of subterfuge and smoking tires, blazing a burning rubber-scented trail through the spectacularly open-ended Tri-City area along the way.
Splitting the difference between sphincter clenching police chases in a fleet of luxury autos from the Porsche 911 GT2 to Mercedes-Benz CL55 and a made-for-TV ready potboiler plot, it’s an unexpectedly catchy mix of Hollywood and high octane. Credit lies in part with a silver screen style presentation complete with high-definition movie sequences featuring actress, pop/R&B singer and sizzling hot ingénue Christina Milian, who plays foxy mechanic Carmen, a potential love interest. Giving new meaning to the phrase “dangerous curves,” insiders confirm that, in real-life, she’s not only an ace behind the microphone and camera, but video game controller and steering wheel as well. A veteran industry alumnus, having already starred in hip-hop brawler Def Jam Vendetta, we recently caught up with the star of stage and screen (catch her next in cheerleading odyssey “Bring It On Cinco”) during a promotional tour in New York.
Here, she discusses her favorite games and gadgets, and why – given that the series has been around 15 years and enjoyed nearly as many installments – home theater owners should look forward to gassing up the tank once more.
You’ve notched up gold-selling albums, been nominated for Grammy Awards and starred in popular box office films. What’s with the video game cameo – this recession got you hurting for work too?
Opportunities like video games don’t come your way often at all. For me, as an actress, the fact that the game’s designers would consider me for it – they take into account popularity, and what guys like when it comes to these things after all – it’s huge. It’s a chance for me to show that girls are into cars and games too. We’re not all hearts and flowers, you know.
Tell us about your character – who is she in your own words?
Carmen is a Latina girl who’s a mechanic that’s part of an underground crew. She’s into speed, obviously, and fast American cars. She rolls with the crew because the guys kind of took her under their wing at an early age because her father passed away. And her dad was also a mechanic, who taught her all about autos. That’s why she’s tomboyish – she’s just around men all the time.
What about you: Can you actually tell a sparkplug from a transistor?
Actually, it’s funny – about two years ago, I rebuilt a 1964 Impala as a gift for my friend, so I spent some time learning a lot about the car. Because I literally rebuilt it all the way from the inside out from the engine to the transmission to the interior, exterior and fine little details like getting the new little Impala sign and new antenna and all. But not ruining it, rather keeping the car in its original state without spoiling it and making it so new that you lose value on it. I wanted to keep it looking classic but at the same time give it a new, polished look.
Any favorite gadgets you can’t live without?
Rock Band and Guitar Hero: I like to have parties where I play these with my friends. I wouldn’t call myself a hardcore gamer, since that’s not the same as getting down with a controller and going to war with Call of Duty. But I like to play sports games like the NBA Live titles when I get the chance too, and Need for Speed’s easy for me to get into, since you can just jump in, get sent on a mission and get in trouble. I like that high-impact adrenaline rush.
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