BEVERLY HILLS, California — Robert Rodriguez ambled into the Four Seasons hotel wearing a black bandana, matching T-shirt with a skull on the front, and brandishing an acoustic guitar. He was there to discuss "Sin City," his comic-book blockbuster arriving on DVD August 16. But first, he wanted to talk about a few other things.
"I'm doing an exploitation movie with Quentin [Tarantino]," the one-man film crew said of his longtime friend and "Sin City" guest director. "It's a double feature called 'Grind House.' There'll be a lot of location stuff on that, but we're shooting it really fast because it's supposed to be like an old '70s drive-in-type movie."
The Texas-born filmmaker revealed that he's currently holed up at Tarantino's Los Angeles abode, and they're working both together and separately. "I'm at his house now writing it," Rodriguez said of the film that they expect to shoot "probably in the fall ... They're two different movies, but he reads me stuff and I tell him stuff that I do."
Rodriguez reported that "Grind House" will be made for former Miramax honchos Harvey and Bob Weinstein's new company, and that the two Miramax disciples came up with the idea for the film after a coincidence that could only happen to them. "Before 'Sin City,' I had an idea to do a double feature. I had kind of forgotten about an old double-feature poster I had — it was two movie posters on the same poster: 'Two Hot Rod Flicks Together: "Dragstrip Girl" and "Rock All Night," ' and I thought that's cool, that I should do something like that. Two truncated features, each one is like an hour. I forgot about it and went to Quentin's house to show him his 'Sin City' DVD, his section, and he had the same poster on his floor.
"I said, 'Hey, I thought about doing a double feature,' " he continued. "I'll do one and you should do the other one, and he was like, 'F--- yeah, we'll call it "Grind House" and we'll do fake trailers in between for movies that don't exist!' "
When asked about the plot for his half, Rodriguez answered, "I can't say," a statement he echoed when asked about Tarantino's tale, revealing only that "my part will probably be more violent."
The former "El Mariachi" indie sensation added that he will serve as director of photography on Tarantino's half, which will most likely be shot in Austin, Texas. To return the favor, Tarantino may appear on camera in Rodriguez's half. "He said if I had a part for him, he'd love to do it. He loves to work with people, like he did with me on 'From Dusk Till Dawn,' something different from what he normally does."
Insisting that "I've got probably the best character I've ever come up with in mind" for the script, Rodriguez beamed that "Grind House" will be "done like real Roger Corman-style, where some of my cast will show up in his movie, but as the characters in his movie. It's almost like this is our troupe of actors. One of the trailers will feature someone in the cast of his movie, in another movie that doesn't exist."
One such phony ad will include another former "Dusk" co-collaborator. "I'll tell you one of the ideas for a trailer," Rodriguez revealed. "It's an exploitation movie starring Danny Trejo. He's a Mexican, and he's the hero, and it's really cool."
Rodriguez then moved on to news about the "Sin City" sequels he announced earlier this year, saying that while he wasn't sure if Tarantino's schedule would allow him to guest direct again, graphic novel creator Frank Miller will definitely return. "He wants to [direct again]. He loves it. He said, 'Now I can see why you want to do this all the time.' He can't wait to get back on the set."
The second film, currently being written by Rodriguez and Miller, will largely focus on another popular installment of the series. " 'A Dame to Kill For' will probably be the basis of the second one," Rodriguez stated. "Marv [Mickey Rourke] comes back, because this is before he died; Dwight [Clive Owen] is in that one, Gail [Rosario Dawson] is in that one, both Goldie and Wendy [Jaime King, twice] together, she's still alive. Miho [Devon Aoki] is in that one, and then there are a bunch of new characters."
Although none of the original actors have signed on for a sequel, Rodriguez said he isn't worried. "They would come do it; it's only two days of their life. They'd be like, I can do that in a free weekend," he laughed, adding that scene-stealer Rourke's participation was a certainty. "He'd want to come do it. He had fun.
"We're still writing the script to see if there's enough for a third one, or if we're just going to do a second one," Rodriguez concluded. "We're supposed to shoot in January, but we might do it earlier if we keep working at this clip."
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