Coolest People to Know: Robert Rodriguez

Dec 17, 2020

(From Biography.com) Filmmaker Robert Rodriguez grew up in Texas as a part of a family of 10 children. Initially rejected from film school, Rodriguez taught himself the basic editing and directing skills before attending a film program. His first feature, El Mariachi, showed his talents as a filmmaker and helped land a deal with Columbia Pictures. His later films include From Dusk to Dawn (), Sin City (2005) and Spy Kids ().

Foray into Filmmaking

Director and filmmaker was born on June 20, 1968, in San Antonio, Texas. As a part of a large family, Rodriguez began by making short films, which often featured some of his nine siblings. Initially rejected from film school, Rodriguez continued making movies. He won several awards for his efforts and was eventually accepted into the film program at the University of Texas at Austin.

He made his first feature film El Mariachi (1993) on a very tight budget—only $7,000. Some of the money came from his work as a human guinea pig to test a new medication. Playing on Mexican and American western themes, the Spanish-language action movie centered on a wandering musician who gets caught up with some bad guys after switching guitar cases with a hitman who uses a similar case to carry around the tools of his trade.

Commercial Success

As El Mariachi demonstrated, Rodriguez was a talented filmmaker, and it helped him land a deal with Columbia Pictures. His next project was his first major production. Desperado (1995), another action film, starred Salma Hayek and Antonio Banderas. Rodriguez then brought an element of the supernatural to his southwestern-set films with From Dusk to Dawn. The story focuses on two brothers - played by George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino—fighting off vampires while stuck in a small border town. Rodriguez revisited El Mariachi territory with the sequel Once Upon A Time in Mexico (2003).

Around this time, Rodriguez and his wife Elizabeth Avellan started their production facility—now known as Troublemaker Studios—near Austin, Texas. Over the years, he has chosen to work near his home, far away from the Hollywood scene.

In 2001, Rodriguez stepped away from the adult action and horror genres and into brand-new territory. With Spy Kids, he showed the world that he could make fun, engaging family films. At times spoofing James Bond, the film featured Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino as secret agents who end up needing help from their two children. This film and its two sequels—Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams (2002) and Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over (2003)—did very well at the box office and with critics.

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