Created and executive produced by El Rey Network founder and chairman Robert Rodriguez, From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series is a 10-episode supernatural crime saga centered around bank robber, Seth Gecko (D.J. Cotrona) and his violent, unpredictable brother, Richard “Richie” Gecko (Zane Holtz), who are wanted by the FBI after a bank heist leaves several people dead. While on the run to Mexico, Seth and Richie encounter former pastor Jacob Fuller (Robert Patrick) and his family (Madison Davenport, Brandon Soo Hoo), whom they take hostage before detouring to the Titty Twister strip club that is unexpectedly populated by vampires.
During this recent exclusive phone interview with Collider, actress Madison Davenport talked about how she came to be a part of this show, why the project appealed to her, that this retelling of the story dives deeper into the spiritual and supernatural elements than the original film did, why she loves working with Robert Rodriguez, the relationship between Kate’s family and the Gecko brothers, how amazing the Titty Twister set was, and how her character gets to have some fun with weaponry. Check out our Madison Davenport interview after the jump, and be aware that there are some spoilers.
MADISON DAVENPORT: When I found out about the audition, I knew that I was going in for From Dusk Till Dawn, but I actually didn’t know that I was going to be reading with Robert Rodriguez. So, I walked into (casting director) Mary Vernieu’s office, and I’ve known her for a long time, and there was a computer sitting there and I heard this very nice man’s voice. We were Skyping. Robert was in Austin and I was in L.A. And then, I actually didn’t hear anything back for a month of two, but then they said they wanted to bring me back in to meet with Robert in person. After that, I found out that I got the part. I knew right away that I wanted to do it because I really liked Robert. I was such a huge fan of his work, before I even met him. I was not hesitant. It is a story that people already know and love, but at the same time, there was so much to be added to it. There are so many storylines that haven’t been explored, throughout the show. You’re really going to get to know and love these characters even more because you get to know what happened to them before the movie started, and you get to see what happens to them after the movie ends. I just loved the idea of it.
Was it important to you that this not just be a straight up retelling of the movie, and that it would be different, in some ways?
DAVENPORT: What’s so cool about the show is that, of course, it’s going to follow along the lines of the movie, but what Robert [Rodriguez] and Carlos [Coto] really wanted to do was take the story that you already know and love, and add elements that maybe were only nods during the movie, and dive deeper into the spiritual element and the supernatural element. And you get to meet a lot of new characters, like Carlos, played by Wilmer [Valderrama], who’s awesome. I think the episodes are getting better and better. Having read the scripts, I can tell you that it keeps getting crazier and crazier, and better.
As an actor involved in the creative process, what’s it like to work on a project with Robert Rodriguez, who really does essentially cut out all of the interfering voices and does all of the projects that he wants to do, with his voice still intact?
DAVENPORT: I think that’s what makes him so unique and so amazing. He really is just so in love with his craft and he’s so unique in the way tha the does things. He’ll come up to you and have a conversation with you, and that’s how he directors you. He’s so darn talented. He plays music on set. He plays the guitar. He cooks. He does everything. He has such an infectious personality that you really can’t help but feel passionate about what you’re doing. It’s been awesome. And Carlos Coto is amazing, as well. It’s such a passionate set. We all love what we’re doing. It’s fun to come into work, every day. It’s not a job.
A lot of actresses want to work on Robert Rodriguez projects because he creates interesting and different roles for women. What drew you to this character, and how is she different from other teenaged girls you’ve played in the past?
DAVENPORT: I’ve played quite a large spectrum of teenaged girls, from psychotic to very sweet to a polygamist. What’s so different about Kate is that she’s the preacher’s daughter. At the same time, she is very innocent and very sweet, but she’s not stupid. She’s very smart. When her dad pulls her and her brother out of school and gets an RV and decides to take them on a road trip to Mexico, she knows that something is up and she wants to know why. What’s so cool about Kate is that she’s not just the damsel in distress. She knows that something is up and she’s going to get down to the meat of it. I love Kate. I feel like I’m going to keep discovering more and more things about her. As you’ll see throughout this season, she has such a huge arc in the show. She may start off sweet and innocent, but she doesn’t necessarily end that way.
DAVENPORT: There was a bit of tension because she’s a teenager in her last year of high school and she did not want to leave, but she never suspected anything of her dad. She just thought that it was weird that they left. In Episode 3, she discovers a bombshell that puts a damper on the daddy/daughter relationship.
What sort of relationship will this family have with the Gecko brothers?
DAVENPORT: There’s that whole cat-and-mouse thing. They are obviously the predators. They’re the ones holding us captive. I can’t tell you too much about it. You’ll have to wait and see. But I will tell you that it starts off as a very conventional captor/captees relationship, but it evolves into something else. To see what else, you’ll have to watch the show.
Will we see something of a parallel between Kate wanting to save her father from himself, and Seth wanting to save his brother from himself?
DAVENPORT: There definitely is a parallel there. We essentially have the same goals. We want our families to be whole, we want there to be nothing wrong, and we want things to be normal. Seth’s normal is bank robbing, and Kate’s normal is that her dad is a pastor. You’re definitely going to see similarities, but you’re also going to see the different ways that we handle our grief and our anger.
When you’re doing a show like this, that takes place within the confines of dusk until dawn, did you feel like you were learning more details and nuances about your character than you would with a typical show?
DAVENPORT: That’s part of what makes this show unique. We are taking a short movie and we’re stretching it, and that’s what makes it so interesting. You’re going to get to meet the characters and know about their pasts, and it helps me learn a lot about my character. There’s a lot of character growth in the show. Between my Episode 1 and Episode 10, I’ve gotten to spend so much time with my character that I felt like Kate, by the end of it. I think you’re really going to see that in all of our characters. We all evolve into other beings, pun intended.
Fans of the movie will be anxiously waiting to see how things play out, once these people make it to the Titty Twister. What was it like to be on that set?
DAVENPORT: So, they built the inside of the Twister at Troublemaker Studios in Austin, and they built the outside of it at a rock quarry. I have to say that the outside of it was amazing. We drove up, but it was still light, so we didn’t get the full effect of it. But once it became dusk and the lights went on, it was so amazing. It was like being in your favorite movie. And then, the inside of it was just a whole other story. I walked in about three days before we were supposed to start filming in there. It was still unpainted and unfurnished, and essentially unfinished. And then, I walked in three days later, ready to shoot, and it was completely done. It was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen. To have seen it go from this blank white sheet of paper to the Titty Twister, it was amazing. It was so cool to be a part of it.
In the poster, you’re holding a chainsaw. Did you get to have some fun with that? Is that Kate’s weapon of choice?
DAVENPORT: You’re gonna have to wait and see! Kate does get to have some fun with weaponry.
From Dusk Till Dawn airs on Tuesday nights on the El Rey Network.