Austin maverick filmmaker Robert Rodriguez is set to launch his small-screen reboot of his cult-favorite film From Dusk Till Dawn, but his TV ambitions don’t stop there. With his new Latino-themed/English-speaking cable network El Rey, the Spy Kids and Desperado writer-director-producer-editor is trying to carve a whole new path for cool TV shows that sheds the usual big network note-giving development process. We interviewed Rodriguez at his Austin-based Troublemaker Studios about his new network and Dusk (which will premiere at the South By Southwest Film Festival this weekend). Below Rodriguez reveals how the genre-mashup Dusk got made, teases changes and expansions for the series version and talks about what the big networks are doing wrong.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So we have some common history. I volunteered for medical research tests to help pay for college at the same Austin facility you used to fund El Mariachi.
Robert Rodriguez: What did you do in there?
Drug names that I don’t remember. The only one I recall vividly was the wisdom tooth removal study, because they pull out your teeth and then test a painkiller.
Rodriguez: I’d be in there for a month; $3,000 for a month. That’s what I did for El Mariachi. It was easy because it was Lipitor, though it wasn’t called that yet. It was a lower-cholesterol drug, which was great because they gave us like bacon and a high-fat diet. There was another drug study next to us that was a narcotic pain killer for $3,500 for a month. And somebody got sick on the first day and went home the first day fully paid. We were all like, “I wish we could get sick.”
I stuck to the weekend ones because I had school.
Rodriguez: I avoided those. The weekend ones they pay you for your pain, the other ones they pay you more for your time — so it was like one blood draw a day. The weekend ones you’d end up like a pin cushion. They’d put on your tourniquet and blood would already be shooting out because your other holes hadn’t healed. They’re like $500 to $700?
Yeah. And speaking of drawing blood, we should talk Dusk. You always fill many roles on each project. How many hats are you wearing on this? READ FULL STORY