Robert Rodriguez: Futurist, Master of Non-News

One of the stories that seems to be burning up the blogosphere this morning is a set of interviews that the folks at Collider conducted with director Robert Rodriguez and actor Danny Trejo on the Austin set of Predators. And aside from the sting of not being invited to visit the set of a movie being filmed in our hometown, we at FSR are also looking at a laundry-list of movies that Rodriguez has on his mind, and feeling the slight tinge of disenchantment. That is to say, we’re now being forced to decide whether we even care anymore.

Take Quentin Tarantino as an example. A long-time Rodriguez co-conspirator, and a man who seemed to talk more about the projects he was developing than actually develop them. He talked about Inglourious Basterds for years — then finally paid us back this year with brilliance. But it took quite a while, almost so long that we didn’t believe he’d ever do it. Quentin’s like that — he likes to play with us.

Rodriguez, to his credit, continues to make movies — just not the ones everyone seems to be talking about. Web-geeks want Sin City 2, he gives us Shorts. We’re interested in seeing him direct a live-action Jetsons, he’s rehashing Predators. It leads me to be skeptical of the updates, upon which I shall illuminate below:

Machete: The Franchise Man

The only thing Rodriguez has done lately to satiate the legions of geekdom has been to shoot Machete, the Danny Trejo-led action film about a pissed off Mexican with a big knife. We’re looking forward to seeing if that lives up to the intense hype that exploded from the faux-trailer that played with the Tarantino/Rodriguez team-up Grindhouse. If that succeeds, says the director and star, we could see Machete Kills and Machete Kills Again, the aptly titled sequels. Though in the interviews from the Predators set, it seems to be more of a joke. “Every time I text him,” explains Trejo. “He’ll text me back, Machete 2, coming up.” Of course, it is contingent on Machete playing strong at the box office, something that even Grindhouse failed to do. So don’t count on it just yet.

Sin City, Too

“I can’t say no because I don’t know its no,” explains Rodriguez. “I know Frank wants to do it, I know I wanna do it and its always a sort of ‘time permitting’ kind of thing but it’s not like I can tell you definitely we’re starting. It’s not my next picture, I know that. Doesn’t mean that its not the picture right after because that’s still a possibility.” A possibility sure, but Frank Miller seems tied up with this 300 prequel, which recently received a title and a synopsis. This film seems to get further and further off every time he talks about it, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see it parked — as in, forever.

Spy Kids, Reboot Style

Then there’s Spy Kids, a series upon which Rodriguez has relied for years. It has grossed the money necessary to keep him afloat through the disappointment that was Grindhouse, allowing he and his Troublemaker Studios banner to continue to make films for the rest of us. And when he talks about his next movie, our guess is that this is it. “I know I owe The Weinsteins another movie and I’ve already turned in a script for Spy Kids,” says Rodriguez. “Another Spy Kids, which is a reboot of Spy Kids. It’s different kids not the old kids and that one is really cool.”

Here’s where I’ve become lost in all this — a reboot of Spy Kids. Is that really necessary? I know that Shorts wasn’t exactly the family-friendly screamer that he’d hoped it would be, but at least it was a semi-original notion. Is his creative pool so drained that he’s nowhere to go but back to rebooting a movie he wrote and directed in 2001? It’s frightening, to say the least.

As for schedule, Rodriguez is saying that this Spy Kids reboot will happen early next year, with another picture in production near the end of 2010. It’s a crap-shoot as to what the second film might be, perhaps Nerverackers or Red Sonja (probably not on both accounts). Perhaps one of the two Machete sequels. Perhaps another Predators. Perhaps a movie about polka. Or one about the stoner culture in Toronto. At this point, anything’s possible — and your guess is probably better than mine.

Side note: I loved Planet Terror, appreciate the hell out of Sin City, have a sweet spot for Desperado and would like to see Rodriguez make a billion badass movies. That said, this act is becoming tired. And Predators had better be awesome.

Neil Miller is the Founder and Publisher of Film School Rejects. For almost a decade, he has been talking movies on television, the radio, and the Internet. As of yet, no one has stopped him.

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