Robert Rodriguez is not happy about Sony's decision to move forward with an El Mariachi television series
Robert Rodriguez is not a big fan of the studio system. After having difficulties with the Directors Guild of America over Frank Miller co-directing SIN CITY, Rodriguez resigned from the DGA which cost him studio work on JOHN CARTER and other projects. Since then, Rodriguez has remained prolific as he writes, directs, edits, scores, and even more at his own Troublemaker Studios in Texas. With that in mind, his lack of work with the studio system may be part of the latest issue he is encountering with Sony.
Deadline reports that Sony is moving forward with a Spanish-language television series based on the EL MARIACHI trilogy which includes DESPERADO and ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO. Sony intends for at least 70 episodes of the series. Rodriguez claims they reached out to him once and never again before moving forward with the project. An insider from Rodriguez's team gave the following statement to Deadline.
“Not only does Robert not have any involvement in this show, he wasn’t even given a ‘head’s up’on Sony’s press release. In it we noticed that Sony mentioned something about ‘staying true to the original story.’ Good luck with that without involving the creator! Not that it matters as the budget that’s allocated for the television production will make Robert’s original budget of $7,000 for EL MARIACHI look like AVATAR. This TV series is a sloppy and lazy replica for the tourist trade, without any of the heart and soul that made the original EL MARIACHI win the Sundance Audience Award and become a landmark in independent cinema.”
Columbia Pictures, owned by Sony, purchased the rights to Robert Rodriguez's $7000 EL MARIACHI and gave it a theatrical release in the United States. It went on to launch Rodriguez's North American career which has spawned numerous films. Love him or hate him, Robert Rodriguez is a true independent filmmaker and a jack of all trades. I am a huge fan of DESPERADO, FOUR ROOMS, THE FACULTY, SIN CITY, and PLANET TERROR. While I understand the legal rights that Sony has to pursue this project, it does feel in poor taste to not have Rodriguez's blessing.