It may be that longest lasting impact of the double feature b-movie Grindhouse on film culture is interlude of five fake trailers between Robert Rodriguez’s Planet Terror and Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof. One of the standouts was the Rodriguez-directed Machete, starring Danny Trejo as a Latino with a vendetta who is outfitted mostly in leather and cutlery Somehow, that trailer is set to be adapted into a real, legitimate feature film (no, really) through what I imagine to be a series of wacky circumstances. To add to the mayhem, Rodriguez assembled a bizarrely amazing cast including Jessica Alba, Steven Seagal, Lindsay Lohan, Cheech Marin, Don Johnson, Jeff Fahey, and Michelle Rodriguez. Oh, and Robert De Niro(!).
Now Deadline confirms that this is not an elaborate hoax, but something that will eventually hit theaters, as 20th Century Fox outlasted five other studios to distribute the film domestically. More, including an embed of the glorious original NSFW trailer, after the jump:
Rodriguez independently financed the production, primarily by selling the international rights to Sony for $20 million. But there was still the question of how it would reach audiences domestically, and six candidates felt up to the task: Sony, Lionsgate, Warner Bros., Fox, Paramount, and The Weinstein Co. Rodriguez screened 15 to 30 minutes of Machete for the interested studios, and after some back-and-forth between Fox and Paramount, the domestic distribution rights ended up in the hands of Fox.
The move makes sense, as Fox recently delved into the Rodriguez family business by funding Predators, the latest in the extraterrestrial manhunter franchise directed by Nimrod Antal and produced by Rodriguez. The film has been getting good early buzz, particularly after behind-the-scenes photos of the titular predators in costume leaked.
What is curious is that The Weinstein Co. was never in more serious consideration. The Weinstein brothers have been working with Robert Rodriguez since 1995, mostly via their genre label Dimension. In fact, the bulk of Rodriguez’s filmography, including Four Rooms, From Dusk till Dawn, The Faculty, the Spy Kids trilogy, Sin City, The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl, and most recently Grindhouse were all made under Weinstein guidance.
Reportedly, a Weinstein Co. insider confided, “we saw the footage and it’s not very good at all”. Hopefully this is just sour grapes, but the sensationalism of the Machete story ensures that there are only two creative paths for the movie: wonderfully pulpy fun or nonsensical waste of time. I pray for the former.
Here’s the original trailer from Grindhouse: