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Robert Anthony Rodríguez (born June 20, 1968) is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, cinematographer, editor and musician. He shoots and produces many of his films in his native Texasmarker and Mexico. He has directed such films as Desperado (1995), From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), The Faculty (1998), Spy Kids (2001), Sin City (2005) and Planet Terror (2007).

Early life

Rodríguez was born in San Antonio, Texasmarker, the son of Mexican-American parents, Rebecca, a nurse, and Cecilio G. Rodríguez, a salesman. He began his interest in film at age 7 when his father bought one of the first VCRs, which came with a camera.

While attending St. Anthony High School Seminarymarker, he was commissioned to videotape the school's football games. According to his sister he was fired soon after for shooting them with a cinematic style; getting shots of parents reactions and the ball traveling through the air instead of shooting the whole play. After graduating Rodriguez went to the College of Communicationmarker at the University of Texasmarker where he also developed a love of cartooning. His grades were not good enough to get into the school's film program, so he invented a daily comic strip entitled Los Hooligans with many of the characters based on his siblings – in particular, one of his sisters, Maricarmen. The comic proved to be quite successful, running for three years in the student newspaper The Daily Texan while Rodríguez continued to make short films.

Rodríguez grew up shooting action and horror short films on video, and editing on two VCRs. Finally, in the fall of 1990, his entry in a local film contest earned him a spot in the university's film program where he made the award-winning 16 mm short, "Bedhead". The film chronicles the amusing misadventures of a young girl whose older brother sports an incredibly tangled mess of hair that she cannot tolerate. The rest of the short film is a humorous account of how the young girl tries to fix her brother's follicle monstrosity when she discovers her telekinetic abilities. Even at this early stage, Rodríguez's trademark style began to emerge: quick cuts, intense zooms, and fast camera movements deployed with a sense of humor that offsets the action.


This short film attracted enough attention to encourage him to seriously attempt a career as a filmmaker. He went on to shoot the action flick El Mariachi in Spanish. El Mariachi, which was shot for around $7,000 with money partially raised by participating in medical research studies, won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival in 1992. The film, originally intended for the Spanish-language low-budget home-video market, was "cleaned up" with several hundred thousand dollars before being distributed by Columbia Pictures in the United States, still being promoted as "the movie made for $7,000". Rodríguez described his experiences making the film in his book Rebel Without a Crew. The book and film inspired legions of hopeful filmmakers to pick up cameras and make no-budget movies. The film and the book are widely considered important touchstones of the independent film movement of the 1990s.

His next feature film was Desperado, a sequel to El Mariachi starring Antonio Banderas. The film introduced Salma Hayek to American audiences. Rodríguez went on to collaborate with Quentin Tarantino on the vampire thriller, From Dusk Till Dawn (he co-produced two sequels), and with Kevin Williamson on the horror film The Faculty.

In 1999 Kevin Smith offered directorial duties on the film Dogma to Rodríguez, yet he passed insisting that Kevin should direct the film himself. In 2001, Rodríguez enjoyed his first $100,000,000 (USD) Hollywood hit with Spy Kids, which went on to become a trilogy, with the last film released in a crude form of 3D. A third "mariachi" film also appeared in late 2003, Once Upon a Time in Mexico which completed the Mariachi Trilogy. He operates a production company called Troublemaker Studios, formerly Los Hooligans Productions.

Rodríguez co-directed Sin City (2005), an adaptation of the Frank Miller Sin City comic books; Quentin Tarantino guest-directed a scene. During production in 2004, Rodríguez insisted that Miller direct the film with him because he considered the visual style of Miller's comic art to be just as important as his own in the film. However, the Directors Guild of Americamarker would not allow it, citing that only "legitimate teams" could share the director's credit (e.g. the Wachowski Brothers). Rodríguez chose to resign from the DGA, stating, "It was easier for me to quietly resign before shooting because otherwise I'd be forced to make compromises I was unwilling to make or set a precedent that might hurt the guild later on." By resigning from the DGA, Rodríguez was forced to relinquish his director's seat on the film John Carter of Mars (in development) for Paramount Pictures. Rodríguez had already signed on and had been announced as director of that film, planning to begin filming soon after completing Sin City.

Sin City was a critical hit in 2005 as well as a box office success, particularly for a hyperviolent comic book adaptation that did not have name recognition comparable to the X-Men or Spider-Man. Rodríguez is currently in pre-production for a sequel, Sin City 2, which will be based on the Sin City story A Dame To Kill For and is scheduled for release in early 2010. He has stated that he is interested in eventually adapting all of Miller's Sin City comic books.

Rodríguez released The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 2005, a superhero-kid movie intended for the same younger audiences as his Spy Kids series. Shark Boy & Lava Girl was based on a story conceived by Rodríguez's 7 year-old son, Racer, who was given credit for the screenplay. The film was not a major success, having grossed 39 million dollars at the box office. No new 3D projects have been announced by the Troublemaker group.

Since 1998, he has owned the film rights to Mike Allred's off-beat comic Madman. The two have hinted at the project being close to beginning on several occasions without anything coming of it. However, other projects have been completed first (Allred was instrumental in connecting Rodríguez with Frank Miller, leading to the production of Sin City). In 2004, Allred, while promoting his comic book, The Golden Plates, announced that a screenplay by George Huang was near completion. In March 2006, it was announced that production on Sin City 2 would be postponed. Allred announced at the 2006 WonderCon that production would likely commence on Madman the Movie in 2006. Huang is actually friends with Rodriguez, who advised him to pursue filmmaking as a career when Rodriguez landed a deal with Columbia Pictures where Huang was an employee.

Rodriguez wrote and directed the film Planet Terror for the collaboration with Quentin Tarantino in their double feature Grindhouse (released in 2007). This film was a throwback to the Grindhouse exploitative cinema of the past.

He also has a series of "Ten Minute Film School" segments on several of his DVD releases, showing aspiring filmmakers how to make good, profitable movies using inexpensive tactics. Starting with the Once Upon a Time in Mexico DVD, Rodríguez began creating a series called, "Ten Minute Cooking School" where he revealed his recipe for "Puerco Pilbil" (based on Cochinita pibil, an old dish from Yucatánmarker), the same food Johnny Depp's character, "Agent Sands" ate in the film. The popularity of this series led to the inclusion of another "Cooking School" on the two-disc version of the "Sin City" DVD where Rodríguez teaches the viewer how to make "Sin City Breakfast Tacos," a dish (made for his cast and crew during late-night shoots) utilizing his grandmother's tortilla recipe and different egg mixes for the filling. He had initially planned to release a third "Cooking School" with the October 16 DVD release of "Planet Terror" but then announced on the "Film School" segment of the DVD that he would put it on the upcoming Grindhouse Theatrical DVD set instead. The Cooking School, titled "Texas Barbecue...from the GRAVE!," is a dish based on the "secret barbecue recipe" of "JT Hague," Jeff Fahey's character in the film.

A strong supporter of digital film making, Rodríguez was introduced to this by director George Lucas, who personally invited Rodríguez to use the digital cameras at Lucas' headquarters.

In May 2007 it was announced that Rodríguez had signed on to direct a remake of Barbarella for a 2008 release. At the 2007 Comic-Con convention, actress Rosario Dawson announced that because of Barbarella, production of Sin City 2 would be put on hold. She also announced that she would be playing an amazon in the Barbarella film.

In May 2008 Rodriguez is said to be shopping around a prison drama television series called Woman in Chains!, with Rose McGowan being a possibility for a lead role.

As of June 2008, plans to remake the film Barbarella with Rose McGowan as the lead have been delayed; the actress and director are instead remaking the film Red Sonja.

As of May 2009, the plans for a Barbarella remake have been scrapped by Rodriguez after months of shopping the project around to domestic and international studios.

Upcoming projects


Machete is an upcoming feature by Robert Rodriguez. It is an expansion of a fake trailer Rodriguez directed for the 2007 film Grindhouse. It will star Danny Trejo (Rodriguez's older cousin) as the title character. Trejo has worked with Rodriguez in some of his other movies such as Once Upon a Time in Mexico and Spy Kids, where Trejo's character was also known as Machete. Although originally announced to be released direct-to-DVD as an extra on the Planet Terror DVD, the film is now being produced as a theatrical release.

According to Rodriguez, the origins of the film go back to Desperado. He says, "When I met Danny, I said, 'This guy should be like the Mexican Jean-Claude Van Damme or Charles Bronson, putting out a movie every year and his name should be Machete.' So I decided to do that way back when, never got around to it until finally now. So now, of course, I want to keep going and do a feature." In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Rodriguez said that he wrote the screenplay back in 1993 when he cast Trejo in Desperado. "So I wrote him this idea of a federale from Mexico who gets hired to do hatchet jobs in the U.S. I had heard sometimes FBImarker or DEA have a really tough job that they don't want to get their own agents killed on, they'll hire an agent from Mexico to come do the job for $25,000. I thought, "That's Machete. He would come and do a really dangerous job for a lot of money to him but for everyone else over here it's peanuts." But I never got around to making it."

Rodriguez hopes to film Machete at the same time as Sin City 2. Additionally, during Comic-Con International 2008, he took the time to speak about Machete, including such topics as: status, possible sequels after the release of Machete, and production priorities. It was also revealed that he has regularly pulled sequences from it for his other productions including Once Upon a Time in Mexico.


On April 23, 2009, it was announced that Rodriguez was assigned the task of relaunching the Predator franchise with the upcoming film Predators. Rodriguez will be producing and writing the film, with Antal Nimród directing it and Adrien Brody cast in the lead.

Personal life

Rodriguez officially announced in April 2006 that he and his wife Elizabeth Avellán separated after 16 years of marriage. They have five children: sons Rocket Valentino (b. 14 September 1995), Racer Maximilliano (b. 16 April 1997), Rebel Antonio (b. January 1999), Rogue Joaquin and daughter Rhiannon Elizabeth (b. 10 December 2005).

The media reported that Rodríguez had a "dalliance" with actress Rose McGowan during the shooting of Grindhouse, with speculation that his hiatus during production may have been due to his wife finding out.In response to the speculation, a spokesperson for Troublemaker Studios released the following statement:

In May 2007, it was reported that he confirmed his relationship with McGowan when they appeared hand-in-hand at the 60th Annual Cannes Film Festival. In October 2007, Elle Magazine revealed that Rodríguez cast McGowan as the title role in his remake of Barbarella. On October 12, 2007 it was announced by that the two are engaged. On July 2, 2008, it was reported that Rose McGowan had split up with Rodriguez, partly over issues due to the financing of the Barbarella remake. However, on July 3, PEOPLE Magazine posted an article with a quote from McGowan's rep stating that the two were still together. The couple split up on 2 October 2009.

On May 23, 2009, Rodriguez officially completed his Radio-Television-Film Degree from the College of Communication at the University of Texas at Austin. Rodriguez was the featured speaker for the university-wide commencement.

The "one-man film crew" and "Mariachi-style"

Rodríguez not only has the usual credits of producing, directing and writing his films, he also frequently serves as editor, director of photography, camera operator, steadicam operator, composer, production designer, visual effects supervisor, and sound editor on his films. This has earned him the nickname of "the one-man film crew." He abbreviates his numerous roles in his film credits; Once Upon A Time In Mexico, for instance, is "shot, chopped, and scored by Robert Rodriguez."

He calls his style of making movies "Mariachi-style" (in reference to his first feature film El Mariachi) in which (according to the back cover of his book Rebel Without a Crew)"Creativity, not money, is used to solve problems". Stu Maschwitz coined the term "Robert Rodriguez list", i.e. you make a list of things you have access to like cool cars, apartments, horses, samurai swords and so on, and then write the screenplay based on that list.


Rodríguez has a storied history of collaboration with Quentin Tarantino:
  • Tarantino has a cameo in Rodríguez's film Desperado.
  • Both filmmakers directed segments in the film Four Rooms.
  • He directed Tarantino's screenplay From Dusk till Dawn, in which Tarantino acted. They both served as executive producers for that film and its two sequels.
  • Tarantino came up with the title for (and was initially going to act in) Rodríguez's film Once Upon a Time in Mexico.
  • Rodríguez wrote some original music that was used in Tarantino's film Kill Bill: Vol. 2 and was reported to only have been paid one dollar for doing so.
  • Tarantino directed a scene in Rodriguez's film Sin City (also reported to be paid one dollar in return) and loaned him some swords from Kill Bill to use for the Miho character. This feature was also a collaboration with Frank Miller (the creator of the Sin City graphic novel series).
  • They collaborated together on the 2007 double-feature Grindhouse.

He has also worked with actor Antonio Banderas and actress Salma Hayek on a number of films:

He also collaborated with actor Danny Trejo and Cheech Marin in Desperado, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, From Dusk Till Dawn, Spy Kids trilogy and the Grindhouse spinoff Machete.

Rodríguez collaborated with Kevin Williamson, filming the film-within-a-film Stab in Scream 2 (written by Williamson) and directed The Faculty based on his screenplay.

Rodríguez composed the track "Avenging Angel" for the soundtrack of Edgar Wright's Hot Fuzz; Wright also directed a faux trailer for Grindhouse.

Robert had a special appearance in the sitcom George Lopez, starring the comedian of the same name, in the episode "George Buys a Vow" as part of the band in the wedding ceremony. Lopez also starred in Rodriguez's film Sharkboy and Lavagirl.


See also


  1. Grindhouse DVD Details Revealed | /Film.
  2. Once Upon a Time in Mexico DVD feature "Film is Dead".
  3. Robert Rodriguez has a 'crazy, intense' script for his 'Predator' revival.
  4. Rose McGowan Dumps Robert Rodriguez.
  5. Rose McGowan is single again
  6. The DV Rebel's Guide: An All-Digital Approach to Making Killer Action Movies on the Cheap, Stu Maschwitz (2007).

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