INT: Tarantino / Rodriguez

Unless you’ve been living underground, with no link to humanity, you know about Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino. You probably also know that they love movies and they love making them even more. They first worked together in “From Dusk Till Dawn” where Salma Hayek was put to good use (eh, JoBlo?) and they continued to work and work often, but not necessarily together. Robert played with the famous El Mariachi and made a few for the “Spy Kids” in all of us. Quentin went on to give The Bride a name in “Kill Bill” while giving Pam Grier some love with “Jackie Brown”.

Both have made some interesting choices in their careers such as Rodriguez and “ Sin City ”, Tarantino with “Pulp Fiction”. And now they pay tribute to the good ole sleaze cinema… yes, I’m talking “Grindhouse” baby. Selling sex, violence and anything else that might whip up some audiences members into a frenzy. And I’m happy to say that with “Grindhouse”, they have created one of the most pleasurable experiences to be had in a theatre. This is the kind of movie that will make your pulse race and give you a bit of a mindf*ck while doing so.

When Quentin and Robert stopped by the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills , their energy was infectious. The way they talk about movies and their love for all the movies that time forgot, it was brilliant. There is a whole lot of room for all kinds of movies and I thank whoever I can that we have ‘grindhouse’ cinema. I grew up watching a whole bunch of these b-movies and loved them. They were raw and vicious and funny as hell, as is “Grindhouse”. With its over-the-top action and balls to the wall violence I was excited to be a part of the film going experience, and talking to these guys made me even more excited.

If this is a success, it opens the door for a kind of cinema that will shock, horrify and maybe even make you think. These types of flicks have always been a stain on the mark of Hollywood so it’s nice to see a couple of pros embrace them and create something fresh and exciting. They spoke with love about movies and about how they came up with the idea, and bringing friends such as Edgar Wright, Eli Roth and Rob Zombie along.  Check it out…

Robert Rodriguez / Quentin Tarantino

When you guys get started, who gets to talk first? You guys are good at expressing yourselves.

RR: Who ever had the idea is usually [the one to would talk first]. And if he was talking I was typing because I didn’t want to lose any moment of it. Because I know those ideas come and they flip away.

You’d type his conversations?

RR: OUR conversations together.

QT: Especially if we’re talking about, you know, “this could work and that could work”

We heard it was like two school kids together. Rosario said that the two of you working on Robert’s movie that would be there going on and on about these “geek things” and it was entertaining for everyone to sit there. Can talk about that?

QT: It’s actually funny. Somebody was once asking us, “Why are you guys such good friends? Is it because you’re both filmmakers? You came up at the same time together.”  Well yeah, naturally. However, having said that, if we had never made a movie in our lives and we just met each other, we would be these friends. If I’d still worked at Video Archives and Robert had been a customer we’d just be great buddies. If we’d met in elementary school … I wish I knew a guy like Robert in elementary school! We would be buddies too. The fact that we’re both artists and both respect each other’s art form work that’s just amazing. I’ve always dreamed about that community of artists kind of thing. It actually just we like each other.

Now, how about the “Grindhouse” stuff? How did you get into this and how decide to do this?

RR: Well, he’s been collecting prints forever and educating me in Grindhouse cinema for the past 12 years by showing me these double features and triple features at his house, either stuff that he’s already seen in the theater as a kid growing up, or stuff that he’s discovered and turned me on to. And didn’t really think to do anything with it because I’m kind of slow and it was only about 3 years ago that I started thinking, “wow, wouldn’t it be cool to do a double feature?”  I had just finished a 3-D movies and I was thinking about something else that might bring people to the theaters for a theatrical experience. I went crazy for that idea for a few months, but then I got side tracked and did “Sin City”. 

When I went to show him my cut of his scene in “Sin City” I went his house, and laying on the floor with a bunch of other junk was a double bill for “Rock All Night” and “Dragstrip Girl” which is the same one that I had at my house on my floor which I using it as an inspiration for my double feature.  I said “I’ve got this same poster and it’s on my floor!” – just to underline how similar we were.  I was like, “I have this crazy idea. What was it? I was going to make two short features but you should do one and I’ll do one.” And he’s like, “I love double features. We gotta call it ‘Grindhouse,’ we have to call it ‘Grindhouse’.”  And later he came up with the idea of the fake trailers. At his screenings, when he does double features at this house he always put trailers in between so it wouldn’t be the complete experience without trailers.

QT: I choose them. I’m like the little mix master.  Either they are related to the genre of the two double features I’m showing or people in it or even somebody in the audience.

Why Rose McGowan? This is the movie that is going to put her over the top. 

RR: I met her at the Cannes Film Festival for ‘Sin City’ and we were just sitting around. I was talking to Clive Owen and then I turn around and met Rose and said, “Hi. How ya doing?” and she told me she’d been stuck on a TV show for 5 years. And I’m like, “No wonder I haven’t seen you around in movies. You were like a Dimension [Films] girl for awhile. You were ‘Scream’ and then like gone.” And I just started talking to her. She’s hilarious. She just really caught me off-guard.

And when you meet someone like that whose personality is so strong in person you just know when you blow up 50 times when you get on screen it’s just amazing.  When I met George Clooney or Antonio [Banderas] or Salma [Hayek], you get that epiphany. “I want you to be in my movie but as you are.”  People tell her, she should be in stand up.  She always so accident prone. She has the worst luck. There are so many things about her. She’s always talking about her useless talents.  I was like, just taking notes. I’d like to put a machine gun leg on her. And she’s like, a machine gun leg. She’d be over the top. There is so much of her in Cherry.  No one else could have played.  Same with Zoe [Bell], no one could have played Zoe but Zoe.

QT: It was really a wonderful situation because I had worked with Zoe on ‘Kill Bill’. She was Uma’s double, and not only that she was Xena’s double for the last 3 years of that show. Just one ass-kicking chick. But also really sweet and effervescent and not only did I get to know her really well, literally she’s like my sister, I’ve run into a burning building. She’s got a really terrific accent. She was in a documentary about stunt people and about her called “Double Dare.” I saw that a few times in the theater with audiences and what was so fascinating was the personality that Zoe has, her whole bubbliness, was there in the documentary and it just kind of came out of the audience.

There’s this moment where she actually gets a job, one she really wanted and the whole audience burst into tears because you’re so happy for her. You want her to do well.  And I was like, gosh darn man, that quality that Zoe has in real life is completely there on screen and everyone feels it in the theater. I’d also been working with her kind of slightly as an actress on ‘Kill Bill’. Where she’s got the motorcycle helmet or she’s in the yellow jumpsuit. And I don’t know how to talk to a stunt person, I know how to talk to an actor and it was her responsibility not to just do the stunt, but the Bride had to still be there.

She’s playing the Bride. So I’m always explaining to her where she’s coming from, where she’s going, just character-wise. She wasn’t used to that until finally she got into it and she was asking me acting-wise what I wanted her to do, even if it’s just a motorcycle helmet on her head. I thought, wow if I could cast Zoe as an actress and get that wonderful quality out of her, audiences would love her and I could do a balls-to-the-wall chase and always show that it’s her and never have to cut away. I just thought that would add up to a very thrilling experience.

Did she almost kill Quentin in China? Is that a true story.

QT: Yes, that was me who almost fell in the ditch.

How did you decide the order of movies? Did you flip a coin?

RR: No, originally it started out alphabetical, we figured once we got our scripts in order we’d figure out which one would come out first. For awhile I thought because mine had so many characters, I could cut mine the tightest and that way people would feel exhausted and ready to go home. I’d make it really short so they’d be ready for another picture. But they ended up being about the same length so we just kept it that way.

QT: We never really thought that much about that. It just seemed like the natural way to go. And I don’t thing we even put it under the microscope to wonder why that was the case. But I think it was more the fact that Robert’s is more lighter, the more humorous vein to it.

Did you try though?

QT: No.

RR: Never did. In fact early on I did a sample of the opening titles and it started with the music that I had written and ‘Grindhouse’ title came up. And this seems like the way it would start.

Didn’t you have a problem with the ratings board last week?

RR: No.

QT: Not at all, that was a complete rumor. They hadn’t even seen it when this stuff came up. 

RR: It was such a good rumor that they were actually quite disappointed when we did...  Maybe we weren’t good enough to get NC-17. 

QT: Seems like you guys get it. 

Is there a future to the trailers? Extended versions of ‘Machete’ or ‘Thanksgiving’?

RR: ‘Machete’ we’re thinking about doing.

QT: That one for sure. 

‘Thanksgiving’ is so f*cking prime for a feature film.

QT: Our whole thing was that we were actually going to let the audience, let the fans kind of dictate that.

I think don’t.

RR: [laughter]

QT: [laughter]

You said ‘Machete’ you were thinking about that.

RR: Yeah.

QT: That one could really be done genuinely Grindhouse where he’s already got about at least half an hour put together if he expanded it. And literally show up for another 6 or 7 days and just wrap it up. Extremely new world style.

How did you choose the other directors like Rob Zombie and Edgar Wright?

QT: That ended up happening, the first thing Robert had done on the movie was ‘Machete’ so I had it in my house. So Edgar Wright and Eli Roth are friends of both of ours and they were at my house. “Hey, let me show you ‘Machete’. It’s so cool.” I even had the lobby cards that Robert drew up. 

RR: It was the camera test that I was doing early. So I shot some of the trailer and some lobby cards and a poster and I sent it to Quentin to get him jazzed up about the movie, and those guys were there.

QT: And they were there and they got what we were trying to do. And they are just as knowledgeable about this cinema as we are and it just seemed like a perfect fit to have them come aboard. And Rob Zombie came aboard because of Bob Weinstein. I know Rob, he’s a nice guy but we don’t hang out or anything, we haven’t had a chance to meet each that much. Actually, Bob Weinstein brought it up to him because he’s doing ‘Halloween’ with Dimension. And I go, “Oh, wow! That’s a really good idea.” And then when he came up with ‘Werewolf Women of the S.S.’ that’s kind of like a Jesus Franco sleaziness that really wasn’t in the other movies. Oh my god, that’s actually really  important! That is a vein that we haven’t hit on with any of the other ones. We need to go in that direction. 

If this turns out to be successful as you want it, or if people dig it, would you like to keep doing these off and on? Like to expand ‘Machete’…?

RR: It’s such a big idea. Once we got the first idea of doing the double feature together, and then when he called it ‘Grindhouse’. It just suddenly became this umbrella of a lot of projects we could do, and that’s what we got the most excited about.

Are Harvey and Bob stoked about that too?

QT: They loved the idea of this being a label and everything. And one of things that I like about it, is it gives me an opportunity to do a blaxploitation film, do a spaghetti western. Do something like that where with the weight of the world isn’t riding on it. I don’t have to re-invent cinema in order to do. I can just do it.

You’re two star directors. This is an unusual movie in that the directors are more important than anybody in the movie really. How do you take that responsibility with your audience, and are you pandering to this audience with sex and violence?  This seems like a safe, sure bet. 

QT: I wish this was a safe, sure bet! It seems fairly risky to me. You know the answer to that question. You know this is what we like. We’ve been talking for 16 years now. This isn’t a pandering thing. We’re doing a movie we like and we’re actually hoping people will like us.

When you watch those early ‘grindhouse’ movies in the early 70’s, they didn’t have stars, right? For guys like you, it was the director that was the star because he was the one who was bringing the story.  Or they had stars that were falling down.

QT:  Or stars that were in that genre. Like Pam Grier who was a star in that genre.

Or David Carradine or whoever the star may be, but it is really a director genre.

QT: That’s one of those things that I always thought was interesting growing up. Reading like a magazine like Fangoria, it was always about the directors. It also might be like about the makeup guys or something like that, but if ever there was an auteur publication in America, it is Fangoria. Because it was all about here is the director.

Quentin, what’s the first movie of this genre that you saw?

QT: That’s a good question. What you could absolutely call a ‘grindhouse’ movie, my grandmother took me to a Theater in Montebello and the film that I wanted to see because it was on the TV all the time was ‘The Doberman Gang.” She took me to see ‘The Doberman Gang’ and it was on a double feature with Eddie Romero’s Filipino horror film the ‘Twilight People’ which was the Filipino version of ‘The Island of Dr. Moreau’ and Pam Grier was in it playing the Panther Girl. And my grandmother took me to see it!

Did you ever go to drive-ins?

RR: We used to go to drive-ins all the time.

QT: Well he had a big family so he needed that that car price.

RR: We had a big van full of use. We’d get on the top of the van.  We’d be watching a double feature. And I’d look at the other screens and there’s boob tube. [Laughter] 

Can you talk about casting your favorite actors in this movie like Jordan Ladd. We  have Jeff Fahey, and Michael Parks, and Michael Biehn.

RR: These are people I’ve always wanted to work with. I’ve always thought Jeff Fahey was fantastic. Michael Biehn I’ve always wanted to do something with. In fact both of these guys came in and read for the sheriff and both of them did just a great job. I thought maybe I can cast one as JT and one as the sheriff. They look similar they could almost be brothers. I’ll just make them brothers in the script. I’ll do anything to work with some of these people that I’ve been trying to check off my list, that I’ve been trying to work with many times over the years. Josh Brolin I’ve come very close to working with over the years.

Can we talk about Kurt Russell for a minute?

QT: The thing about Kurt is I’ve always been a huge fan of his. There is that aspect if you are men of mine and Robert’s generation, it’s like Kurt Russell is this incredible iconic figure. He’s Snake Plisskin. He’s McCreedy in ‘The Thing.’ He’s Rudy Russo in ‘Used Cars.’ He’s Jack Burton. And it’s like this incredible figure. I’ve always loved him as an actor. In particular that he would use the [Clint] Eastwood-esque voice, John Wayne-esque voice, because he wasn’t so serious and actor that he couldn’t have fun. He has a sense of play that really good actors do. So it was dream to work with him.

Let me know what you think. Send questions and comments to [email protected].

Source: JoBlo.com



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