LE FIGARO. – Why have agreed to receive this honor here in Strasbourg?
originally, I thought I couldn’t finish “Red 11” (with Lauren Hatfield and Roby Attal), who was only a pretext for the documentary. And then something magical happened. Red 11
Robert RODRIGUEZ. – While this is a very exciting project: to celebrate the 25 years of El Mariachi , my first feature film. Instead of writing a book on the subject, I wanted to make a documentary. So I decided to make Red 11 , a science fiction film with a budget of 7,000 dollars (the same as El Mariachi , editor’s NOTE) I would make a video of the behind the scenes so that people see that it is possible to make a film in fourteen days with a camera and two lights only. Originally, I thought I couldn’t finish it Red 11 , which was no more than a pretext for the documentary. And then something magical happened. The film has taken on a life. He has been accepted at the festival South By Southwest, where I gave a master-class to show that we can achieve a good film with very little means. It is this process that is at the center of the project. Then, the film was presented at Cannes. After that, it had an effect of mouth-to-mouth and Red 11 has become a film festival. You will not be able to see anywhere else in the festival. This is exciting, because in the public we often find people who are making movies. This master-class means a lot to me. It allows me to pass on the experience El Mariachi . Then, if a festival invites me I can’t say no. Especially in a place as beautiful as Strasbourg!
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Your son, Rebel, and Racer have accompanied you on this project, the history of which is inspired by your experiences. To know, how you funded your first feature film becoming a laboratory guinea pigs. Is this your most personal film to date?
Certainly! Spy Kids is not far away either, because I transformais my family life in a film of adventures with spies. In Red 11 , I base this on my experience to create a thriller surreal. I’m back with my son Racer in my notes of the time. We wrote a scenario where the main character is a director who becomes a sort of lab rat human, to finance his film. The difference with my experience is that it is not known if one tries to kill him, or if he is a victim of the side effects of the substances he injects… My son Rebel also plays in the film. The adventure proved to be a family experience, very strong.
“The most important thing is to make a movie that we would want to look at. Starting in the craft, the error of wanting to make a film that people want to see”
With El Mariachi , you hold the record for the film with the least expensive of Hollywood. How does one make a film out of bits of string?
Come to my master-class. You will see. I watch everything. The idea is really to inspire people. They love it: see tricks, magic tricks. A lot of people say, “I have an idea, but it’s too complicated” or “I don’t have the time”. If the idea is there, nothing is too complicated and there is never a bad time. This truth extends well beyond the cinema. No matter what your passion, you can succeed at a task a priori impossible to condition to be sufficiently creative. When people watch the documentary and see my son light up in their creative process, they want to live that moment also.
How does one make a good movie?
To make a good movie, you must be honest with yourself. It is a question of sincerity above all. The most important thing is to make a movie that we would want to look at. Starting in the craft, the error of wanting to make a film that people have wanted to see. However, they themselves do not always know what they want to watch. They are waiting for the new. Of the freshness. If you find out how to tell a story based on your experience and what it seems to be cool, go for it… It is funny to see the audience react to ideas that you think will be the only one to love.
Director, cinematographer, writer, editor… You often switch with the caps on your movies.
This allows me to make the movies that I want to do. In being his own editor, you are much more effective at shooting. A lot of filmmakers don’t climb on their films. I find it crazy. It is as if you prétendiez leader without knowing how to cook. You are going to do the races, you take the menu and give it to someone else and saying “is this all there is, you have to play now”.
“The children love to look at again and again this kind of movies. With Netflix, no need to ask their parents to take them to the cinema, they can watch it whenever they want”
Quentin Tarantino, and you have made your first film in 1992. You have made a “Once Upon A Time” each and have worked together on A night in hell , Grindhouse or bell-boy Service . What is your best memory from this collaboration?
The best? There are so many. I like very much to go home. It has a movie theater personal. We look duplicates of films, it is what gave us the idea for Grindhouse (“Boulevard of death” and “Planet Terror”, editor’s NOTE). But also films from the 60’s to 90… It has coils of many feature films in all genres. Westerns, horror films, hong kong cinema… I have always liked. Even when we were young, he had a projector from 16-millimeter at him. He had less money than today. We watched movies on his wall!
in Addition to Tarantino, you have also worked with James Cameron and Frank Miller. One often refers to you as a “producer mercenary”, a Machete to the wrap…
This is a little me, it’s true (laughter)! However, I don’t much like the term mercenary. This gives the impression that I own the work of others. Let’s say that I juggle with the projects. I work only very rarely in the movies of someone else. I don’t want to be a director that can easily be replaced, without the space to express themselves. Alita is a longtime project that we had with James Cameron. The Faculty was a commissioned film. I agreed to do it, because it has allowed me to do Spy Kids and Sin City , two films with audiences completely different! If I could set up franchises like El Mariachi , Spy Kids and Machete this is because the story belongs to me. Ditto for my next film ( We Can Be Heroes , ED.) This is my story. Companies fought for the distribute…
Why did you choose Netflix?
Because it was the best option. They work for me more than I do working for them, in a certain way. This film is special. It is in the vein of Spy Kids . The kids love this kind of movies. They love to watch again and again. With Netflix, no need to ask their parents to take them to the movies, they can find it easily and watch it whenever they want. There are so many good things in it… They can rewind. And watch it a thousand times if they want to. And believe me, they will want (laughter).