SDCC 2010: Robert Rodriguez’s MACHETE Panel

     July 23, 2010


At the end of every July, downtown San Diego morphs into a mecca of all things pop culture.  As far as the eye can see are eclectics decked out in the garb of their favorite comic, movie or cartoon character.   Machete swapped Stormtroopers and Ewoks for bad ass old school American cars and sultry go-go dancers.  Machete-1, rest of Comic Con-0.  Oh, and there was never before seen Machete footage and free Tecate, spicy margaritas, and free tacos, served by Michelle Rodriguez.  Machete-5, rest of Comic-Con-0.  Why is the gorgeous Michelle Rodriguez handing out food to socially awkward fan boys? And why did Jason Schwartzman threaten to sick security on me and an associate of mine? Hit the jump to delve into my adventure.

avatar_james_cameron_movie_image_michelle_rodriguez_01The Machete event was set up on a meager parking lot minutes from the festivities at the convention center.  Knockout Tacos provided the free grub that Michelle Rodriguez slanged to the press and fans fortunate to be allowed into the event before it officially began.  In Machete, Michelle Rodriguez plays a taco vender, hence the free taco promotion.  Clever.  Somehow she made serving food seem sexy.  I wonder if that was her acting skills at work.

After everyone crammed their gullets of free tacos a small panel got under way.  Machete director Robert Rodriguez and stars Danny Trejo and Michelle Rodriguez graciously fielded questions from members of the media.  Some interesting tidbits:

-Robert Rodriguez said that everyone he casted was his first choice to play their role, though once Danny Trejo and Robert DeNiro came on board, all the other actors fell into place.

-Robert and Danny both discussed the journey of Machete, from its inception some 16 years ago to its conception coming September 3rd, 2010.  Robert Rodriguez stated he always wanted Trejo to be his lead in the film, to which Trejo hilariously cracked about playing numerous characters with blade influenced names in Rodriguez’s movies (Navajas, Razor Charlie, Razor Eddie and now Machete).

-One question about looking sexy and tough on the Machete posters caused Michelle Rodriguez to refer to her lady parts as her “vah-zooge”.

-I had an opportunity to bully my way in and ask the cast if they felt filmmaking should be used as a means to counter ignorance and civil injustice, in relation to the current immigration debacle.  Robert Rodriguez stated ignorance is a fact of life, but he’s not digging the climate of politicians politicking solely to scoop up votes.  He also touched on the irony of protecting an imaginary line dividing lands and peoples.  Michelle Rodriguez was quite candid about the entertainment industry sticking to entertainment and staying out of the political throw down.  Though she did state that exploitation films or comedies are a good vehicle to get a political point across to audiences.

-Robert Rodriguez was asked if the machete in Machete was a metaphor for lower classes striking against affluent oppressors as it is in many impoverished nations.  He wouldn’t divulge was it was symbolic of, though he did say by the end of the movie its symbolism would be clear.

machete_poster_01After the panel the junket got crack-a-lackin’! Two booths were set up, one passing out free Tecate and Tecate Light, the other giving away margaritas and spicy margaritas infused with jalapenos.  Good lord.  Then the sexy go-go dancers were herded to the elevated dancing platforms that populated the parking lot.  Good lord.  Once some adult beverages were consumed, the Machete movie madness began.  Good lord.  Seriously, the footage was pretty slick.  Machete is going to be a loud, fun over the top late summer romp.

The new footage caused the line to the margarita booth to somewhat meld into the crowd viewing the new scenes.  My associate, band member of Snake! Snake! Snakes!, and photographer Georgie Rodriguez and I thought it would be prudent to nab some drinks before the footage was over and the lines became Twilight huge.  Just as we began to get beverages from the bartender, a Jason Schwartzman clone barks “The expletive line is expletive back there what the expletive?!” Both of us being calm, burly fellows we quizzically looked at each other, then at J Schwartz Jr.  Again the gentleman shouted uncouth words to us.  We tried rationalizing that there wasn’t really a line, and told the lookalike we would move so he could get his drink first.  Apparently he wasn’t having that as he told us to “expletive ourselves” and asked us if we “wanted to mix it up?” At this point we asked him what he could possibly do to us, manly men? “Get security!!!” he shouted, then sashayed through the mass of people.  Some people just can’t handle their jalapeno margaritas.

The footage of Machete was raw, bloody and fun.  It kicked off with some exposition and set up between Danny Trejo and Michelle Rodriguez’s characters, then the depravity started.  I don’t want to ruin it because some of the shit Robert Rodriguez does in this movie is all kinds of crazy inventive looking.  Just know Danny Trejo as Machete is going to do work on a bunch of brainless cannon fodder goons come September 3, 2010.

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