Freddy Rodriguez Interviewed – GRINDHOUSE

     April 4, 2007

By now you’ve all heard of Grindhouse as the stars and the directors have been on every TV show and radio program from Los Angeles to New York. But if you’re one of the few who has no idea about this movie, I’m going to make this nice and quick.

Opening this weekend is a film to drop a third nut if you’re a guy or grow a third tit if you’re a girl. It’s called Grindhouse and it could cause permanent brain damage from laughing too hard or screaming too loud while you’re watching it.

The film has it all – fake trailers, tons of exploitation, and two separate movies for one low price.

The first film is directed by Robert Rodriguez and its called Planet Terror, the second by Quentin Tarantino and its called Death Proof. One is about Zombie’s and one about killing with your car.

While most studios try and bore you with the same story told over and over with different actors playing the same type of role…I promise you’ve never seen what this film is offering. So to help promote the movie a number of the people in the film did a press day and I’m posting a lot of the interviews.

Each one is solid. They all talk about the making of the film and their motivation for being apart of this crazy movie.

All of them were done in roundtable form – meaning a bunch of us were in a room taking turns asking questions. That’s why some of the questions come out of left field and others are the kind of things you’d want to know.

If you’d like to download the MP3 of this interview click here, otherwise you can read it below.

Grindhouse opens this Friday and it’s definitely worth your hard earned dollar.

Spoilers are discussed in the Grindhouse interviews – you are warned

Was that actually you riding that tiny motorcycle and how fun was that?

Freddy: Yeah. I had a blast doing this film. Everything you see if me, by the way. I had months and months of training for all of that stuff. The knife sequences you saw, the fight choreography, the bike stuff, the little bike stuff.

Did you fall over ever?

Freddy: No I didn’t [laughs].

Robert has a backstory for your character? Did he lay it all out for you?

Freddy: Oh yeah. He laid it all out for me and what was left in the film, because it was a short film and he couldn’t fit everything in there but maybe you’ll see the rest of it in the missing reel.

In the international version there will be additional scenes?

Freddy: I think so. That’s what I heard. Because it’s not going to play together in the international version. It’s going to be separated so each film will be longer.

Is there a possibility of maybe doing a prequel showing more of your story?

Freddy: Robert hasn’t approached me with that at all but anything is possible at this point. If this film is successful, the sky’s the limit.

How hard was it to pick up all the knife stuff? Was it pretty easy or did you stab anybody?

Freddy: No, I didn’t stab anybody. Yeah, it was hard. First of all, I’ve never played an action hero before in my life and so I’ve never dealt with guns or knives or I’ve never done a fight sequence before so it was all new territory. At first it was hard but I’m a pretty quick learner and, even as we were filming, I was still practicing and I would always have the knives with me on set just to get the feel of it, or the gun. I was always twirling guns on set.

What was it like filming that scene where you kill everybody in the hospital corridor?

Freddy: That scene was probably the most physically demanding scene in the film and I know we shot the whole film at night and I believe that scene, I remember it was like four in the morning and I was like nodding off in my trailer and there’s a knock on the door ‘come on. We’re about to do that elaborate fight scene’ at like four in the morning and I remember just being tired and, when we were done with the scene, the sun was up. Go back to the hotel and try to sleep after that.

From your past work you don’t come to mind as the first person to pick for an action hero in a zombie movie. How did that happen?

Freddy: I auditioned for it like everyone else but I think the real reason why it happened is that Robert always thinks outside of the box. I don’t think he looks toward anything as what the conventional choice would be. He did that with Antonio Banderas. Before he did Desperado, he wasn’t an action hero in Spain when he was doing those films. If you were to see him you would probably think the same thing but he [Robert] just always thinks outside the box and that’s part of his genius.

You aren’t related to him are you?

Freddy: No.

The love scene between you and Rose. How much of that was shot that we didn’t see?

Freddy: A lot. Maybe on the DVD.

You had great chemistry with Rose.

Freddy: She’s great man. She’s just great. She’s a cool gal. I enjoyed hanging out with her and working with her. She’s really funny in real life. She has a really dry sense of humor that will have you cracking up all day so we just got along well.

What’s it like working with Robert?

Freddy: Robert is just a pleasure to work with. You’ve got to think, he’s the boss. The guy is a hundred percent self-sufficient. The guy has his own studio, his own sound stages, his own mixing bay, his own editing bays. He’s like the George Lucas of Austin. So, when he’s the boss and the artistic nucleus, then he will dictate what the vibe is and so, to give an example, we would do a scene and, in between scenes, he has a guitar attached to his monitor, he’ll take the guitar out and start playing the guitar and people would join in and sing and jam with him. It’s that artistic freedom that goes on on set so it was just great, man. This guy, he’s so ahead of the curve. He’s so ahead of everyone else and you see that in the first fifteen minutes you’re around him.

This could never be a traditional studio movie?

Freddy: I don’t think so. I don’t think that it would have the innovational or originality behind it. It takes somebody like Robert and Quentin to have full artistic freedom to come up with something like this.

You act on TV and the movies, how do you chose your projects?

Freddy: I just like to be versatile. I just like to choose my projects and be different all the time so that you don’t get pigeonholed or stereotyped as a character which is always the danger you run when you do a TV show and play a very specific character. You run the risk of being typecast as that guy. So that’s why, last year I put out four movies and this film. I was just trying to play different characters post a successful television show to show people that I wasn’t that guy.

In Poseidon, it seems like they wanted to get to the wave right away. Was there more character stuff cut out? I heard there was going to be a longer version of it.

Freddy: Yeah, there was more character stuff. They definitely cut some of it out, but the wave was the star, man. The ship was the star. [Laughs]

Q: Best death scene for a PG-13 movie.

Freddy: Yeah, I saw it and I was like “ooooooh.’

Q: It wasn’t enough for you to get on the spikes, then they just slammed you.

Freddy: Yeah, that Richard Dreyfuss, he kicked me off.

Q: Did you grow up watching any of these double features in the old movie houses?

Freddy: I did, I did. I’m from Chicago and we had these big movie palaces there. It wasn’t like the multiplexes that exist today. Yeah, that was our form of entertainment when we were kids. You know my pop used to take us to the double feature, sometimes the triple feature I remember as a kid.

Q: What kind of movies were they?

Freddy: I remember a few of these as a kid. It was just these bad karate movies. Remember those, like the grindhouse karate movies?

Q: The poor man’s Bruce Lee movies

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Freddy: Yeah, two karate movies for two bucks. They were just terrible, but it was like ‘wow, we got to go out and go to the movies.’ We would go in in the daytime and come out when it was night. I remember that as a kid, like wow!

Q: I just watched the director’s cut of Payback, the deluxe version, and I was just curious what your experience was on that because when you were seen, he definitely, specifically talked about you and said it was really cool working with you.

Freddy: Oh yeah, yeah. I just talked to him. He just told me about that. That premiered at the Austin Film Festival.

Q: It did.

Freddy: Yeah. He told me about that.

Q: It’s going to come out on DVD next month.

Freddy: Yeah, yeah. Wow, you got to see it. Brian was awesome. This was 1997 I believe, so this was before Six Feet, before anything. I was just working and I just remember he was always really good to me. You know sometimes these directors, if you’re not a big movie star, they’re just… But he was always really good to me and everything you saw in the film, he allowed me to create. The dreads – that was my idea. The only thing that was in the script was the nose ring. But he said, ‘yeah, just come in and do what you want.’ He allowed me to create this kind of druggy guy with the drug eyes, talking that way and he was just like ‘yeah, go for it!’ At that time I was a young actor and I was working with Mel. I wasn’t sure if they would let me have that creative freedom, but I took the chance and I said, ‘I think this is what it should be,’ and he was like ‘yeah, just go for it.’

Q: Robert is such a visionary. Can you come to him and say ‘hey, what if I did this?’ and he’ll listen?

Freddy: Oh absolutely. He’s extremely collaborative. If you have an idea, he always allows you to bring it to the table. To him, it’s about who has the best idea. He has a blue print in his head of how he envisions the film and where he wants it to go, but if the idea that you present to him works better for the blueprints, he’s more than glad to accept the idea.

Q: What are you working on now?

Freddy: There are a few things I have going on. I haven’t signed on yet. I can’t say, but as I said earlier, I put four films out last year. I just took a break after doing so many films and five seasons of my show, I just … I was burning the candle at both ends as they say. I took a couple months off. I haven’t signed the papers on the new flick so I can’t say what it is.

Q: Would you ever go back to series television?

Freddy: Yeah, I think I would. I don’t know. I would consider it. I would never say no, I would never go back, but right now the film career is going very well, so I think I’m just going to follow that path right now.

Q: What was the biggest memory you took away from shooting in Austin?

Freddy: Ah man, I just remember the people were so nice there. The people were so cool and the food was phenomenal in Austin. Yeah, yeah. And great music too. Great music. I’ve always heard about that and we kinda went out and saw some bands play and some DJs spin and I was really impressed by how good the music was there.

Q: What was it like working with Christian Bale?

Freddy: Man, it was great. Great, great guy. Good human being. And such a committed actor to what he does and very gracious with – how can I explain it – with his art. I always describe acting as emotional tennis and that whole movie was just him and I 14 hours a day in a car and so he was just very gracious in terms of what he gave back.

Q: Can you talk about the importance of these type of movies, of science fiction?

Freddy: The importance of it?

Q: Yeah, in the context of all the other films that come out.

Freddy: Right. Well the horror genre is really popular now. You have yours Saws – Saw I, Saw II, whatever, The Hills Have Eyes and all that. So I just think that the 20-year-olds are going to come see this movie because they like that genre, right? But those same 20-year-olds are going to see this other genre that was really popular back in the day and it was a great genre. The whole concept of double features, they’re going to get to experience something new and original when they come see the film.

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