Last Thursday the Collider crew hit the 40th Annual Saturn Awards where Gravity, Iron Man 3, Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead and Hannibal were the big winners and Bryan Fuller, Greg Nicotero and Malcolm McDowell received special career recognitions.
Back stage, we got a chance to chat with some exciting talent including the man with the most hyphenates in Hollywood, Robert Rodriguez, who recently added Network Executive to a resume that already includes, writer, director, editor, cinematographer, composer and even chef, amongst many other talents. During our chat, Rodriguez talked about how Predators came about, his excitement about being on set with the original Stan Winston creation, his high hopes for Shane Black and Fred Dekker’s new iteration, the one scene from the original From Dusk Till Dawn that is grew into the new series, Quentin Tarantino’s reaction to the show, whether Machete is a prequel to Spy Kids, timing the premiere of The Matador, the concept behind his new El Rey Network and much more.
Here’s the video interview followed by a time index with some quotes.
(additional questions by Tommy Cook & Christina Radish; video by Jeff Morreale)
00:00 – Question: Earlier this week they announced a remake of Predator and then they announced that Shane Black and Fred Dekker and making it, but that it’s not a remake but a sequel of some sorts. Do you have any idea where they’re going with that?
ROBERT RODRIGUEZ: I don’t. But if Shane’s involved it’s gonna be awesome.
Can you tell us, because Predators ended on such an interesting note where things seemed like they were about to go insane. Is that probably not happening at this point because they’re going in a new direction, or is there any chance we’ll see a follow up to Predators?
RODRIGUEZ: I dunno, when you do something like that. I had written the script originally, the assignment was always to write a sequel. In fact when I had originally written it, it was always for Arnold. It was way back. I mean, I wrote that before I did Desperado. And somebody there went through the old files and found my old script years and years later and said, ‘Hey! Would you like to make this?’ and I said, ‘Well, I’m shooting a movie now, but I would love to produce it.’ It wasn’t my series, but it was great to go. We got to design the creatures and you always want to build it in case they make another one. But I know the guy who was the chairman then [Tom Rothman] , left and the new guy came in [Jim Gianopulos] so it could always go either way. I think they have lots of options. But I’m a huge predator fan, I’d love to see. So long as they make another one, I just wanna see it.
In that film you introduced a sort of super race of Predators, with even more violent big ones. And I heard some people – and I didn’t agree with them – but for some people, that kind of devalues the previous predators we’ve seen. And when you are making sequels, obviously things have to get bigger and there is higher risk. How do you balance between reverence between what’s come before and needing to do something new?
RODRIGUEZ: That one was great. We got to have our cake and eat it to. We designed a new predator. But we wanted to make a replica of the original to have him. And that was the best, being on the set to see the original predator predator come out. Because Greg Nicotero had the original molds. And to see like, the original predator walking around, that’s like taking a time machine back. It was so cool. So we have to make him as badass as the new Super-Predator, as we called it. But yeah, we did it in probably less than a year. It was really fun, it was a really intense time working on a couple projects and it was really exciting. I love the whole, working in that world and getting to throw our hat in the ring for one of the movies.
2:30 – Rebooting things, what was it about From Dusk Till Dawn that persuaded you to go back to that film in particular out of all your work?
RODRIGUEZ: I just love Quentin’s characters and I had a new television network and I wanted to bring something to the network that other people couldn’t really do. And we controlled the rights to Dusk and people had asked to do a show before on it, and I really loved the relationships. And Selma [Hayek] walks out and sees Quentin. You saw that was sort of a connection when you watch the movie. And that always struck me as, ‘Wow, I didn’t realize that that connection could be so strong.’ I wish there was more to their story. We could never fit it into the film. So years later, when I thought of doing a television series and expanding the characters, I wanted that to be the basis of the whole series. So, I kind of did it cause I had more stories I wanted to tell. I had done a lot of research in the movie into Aztec and Mayan mythologies to give it a little more – you know, the pyramid – that’s all stuff I added to the film. But it was just hinted at. Where, if we did a series, we could really just dive into it. And it seemed like a really good fit with my El Rey television network. And it would be fun to kind of go revisit something at you did so long ago. Again, it’s like taking a time machine. I mean, we’re in the same bar and the same set, but we’re bringing all that we know now about storytelling and characters we want to explore and redoing it and it was really fun. And Quentin would watch it every week and give us his notes. I gave him at one point, the knife that Richie has. Cause I said, ‘Here you go, you’re the rightful owner. Richie the character’ And he would watch the episode with it in his hand.
What was Tarantino’s reaction to the show?
RODRIGUEZ: He loves it. I think he’s pleasantly surprised that you could expand so much from, probably his thinnest script. It was a work for hire for him. It wasn’t an original idea, it was one that he was hired to do. But that he could expand those characters of his are so rich that it could expand. I think that was the coolest thing to try and pull.
- 4:15 – Rodriguez on controlling his own network and the kinds of programming he wants to air.
- 5:00 – Was there ever talk of a guest director for Sin City 2?
- 5:20 – Approaching the Douglas Adams-style task of adapting the same story to multiple mediums over a period of decades.
- 6:55 – bouncing back between kids films and R-rated films. Rodriguez talks about editing Spy Kids 3 and Once Upon a Time in Mexico at the same time.
- 7:10 – Is Machete the same character in both movies?
- 7:25 – The Matador premiering during the World Cup, was it tied to the World Cup games?