Director Robert Rodriguez had major announcements to share at Comic-Con and all were more than well received. Movies.com had the opportunity to sit with Rodriguez in a more intimate setting after his Hall H panel appearance and he candidly spoke about his Heavy Metal, Machete sequels, his inspiration for making Spy Kids 4D, his tribute to Frank Frezetta and believe it or not, a 5D movie.
Movies.com: You just announced your new production company, Quick Draw, how will that venture help you as a filmmaker?
Robert Rodriguez: More freedom, completely…If you know anyone who has ever tried to make a movie and you ask them, “How’s it going?” they’ll say, “Oh, we’re still waiting for the funding.” It’s always the funding with studios making the decisions. A filmmaker has already made the decision if they are going to make something or not and the red tape is usually what slows them down. By you being your own studio it gives you a lot of freedom, where it’s like, “Wow, I have an idea and I can actually go start making it.”
It lets you concentrate more and the effort doesn’t go to wrangling money from somebody else. It focuses the energy in the right direction.
Movies.com: How did this idea of ownership come about?
Rodriguez: When I made Spy Kids with Weinstein we had a great relationship but when they left Disney, who had been paying for all the material, they owned the material. Weinstein doesn’t own it anymore. It’s like why did I work so hard to keep it so low budget when you don’t really own it? I should have just paid for it myself and owned it. I created it so I should own it.
Movies.com: You’ve expressed your love for all things Heavy Metal and after purchasing the rights that were once owned by David Fincher you’re giving fans and other filmmakers the opportunity to share their ideas. As far as timeline where are you at now?
Rodriguez: Anyone with ideas is welcome to submit them for the movie or other applications. We may have Internet versions of Heavy Metal and other applications for it. I have a script for some of the stories. We haven’t brought in other filmmakers. We can start right away and as other people come on we can add them to it. We’re starting already on pre-production and tests on how it would look like.
Movies.com: So it will be a series of stories?
Rodriguez: Yes, several stories like Sin City or Pulp Fiction. The format was always an anthology with different artists coming together in the world of heavy metal.
Movies.com: Fans roared when you announced sequels to Machete and Sin City. How do you approach sequels with so much fan fascination?
Rodriguez: It always comes back to yourself. I do only what I want to make. I didn’t make Sin City with the audience in mind at all. I wasn’t sure if they would like [a film in] black and white or if they would think it was just too weird, but I really wanted that. So before I would make a sequel I would have to make sure I was really passionate about it. If you go make a movie for somebody else it probably wouldn’t be good. I know the audience already wants it but that’s not good enough.
Movies.com: You’re taking the average moviegoing experience to the next level with Spy Kids 4D. Where did the inspiration come from?
Rodriguez: The idea is really funny and it’s fun to see the audience get into it. There was an old John Waters movie called Polyester. They had scratchers but they didn’t work very well back in the day, they all smelled the same but the idea was genius.
I can see [it being used] in a Machete movie. [Laughs]
When I knew I was going to do the movie in 4D I had to keep it a secret for year. I didn’t even tell the actors. They didn’t realize why they were smelling things. I integrated it into the script so well, they just found out a few weeks ago. But in creating a 4D I realized that I had to be ready for a 5D.
Movies.com: What’s the 5D?
Rodriguez: Oh, that’s a secret. I’ll be using that next. But the DVD for Spy Kids 4 will have aromascope cards to scale so they can fit with the DVD. And best of all, you won't have to pay extra for 4D aromascope, which will be provided to every theater whether it be 2D or 3D and you’ll get them whether you see it in the 3D or 2D version.
Movies.com: Over the years you cultivated a close relationship with Frank Frazetta. What’s your involvement with the family now? We heard talks about a Frank Frazetta Museum in Austin, TX.
Rodriguez: [The museum] will probably be in an old building we find in downtown. [We’ll] renovate it and make it into an experience. I’ve known the family for a long time. I worked with Frank on From Dusk Till Dawn. His family trusted me and asked me to help. They said, “We need somebody to help us, he’s passed away, we don’t know what to do with the estate, we don’t want to sell the painting.” So I said let’s not sale the paintings and find other ways that we can preserve them. We want to keep his legacy alive. Hopefully we can open it by SXSW. It would be great timing with so many people already being down there.
Movies.com: Seems like your innovative approach helps pave the wave for others.
Rodriguez: It took forever to get people to edit digitally. I was the only one editing Desperado in the Sony Studio lot cutting it on a computer and an editor thought, “What are you doing that for?” Now you put a gun to their head and they won’t edit on film. But you know someone has to do it first. [Smiles]
Movies.com: It seems like you would have an extensive technical background being that you were one of the first to edit digitally, you’re an early adopter—where does that come from?
Rodriguez: Nothing at all. I was always more artistic. At my first job, working at a photo shop, my boss gave me a camera to take home to learn how to use it in order to sale the product so I took pictures of my family and he thought they were really creative. He told me I needed to learn the technical side of things because if I was creative and technical I would be unstoppable. I was 16 years old and I thought, “UNSTOPPABLE?” It made so much sense so I applied myself and learned how to physically make a movie by myself so you never have to need anyone. It’s ultimately about freedom, don’t shut it down, be open to it.
Think about filmmakers who have been very successful like James Cameron and George Lucas, think about how technical they are and how they were able to be so cutting edge because they married those two.