Or, he's both?
Whoever he is, he does most of the work on his films, directing, screenwriting, editing, composing, production designing and just about everything else aside from being the actual cameraman. No, wait, he does that too. He's also very proud to be Mexican, as most of his movies can attest.
His diaries from the shooting of El Mariachi were published as Rebel Without A Crew, a book which is absolute required reading for all aspiring indie/low budget filmmakers.
Danny Trejo has been in numerous films of his and the two of them also happen to be cousins—but there's no Nepotism involved. In fact, the two of them didn't even learn that they were related until after the filming for Desperadonote had wrapped up.
Rodriguez is the founder of the El Rey Network, an American television network co-owned by Univision which specializes in classic grindhouse-style cinema and shows, as well as the co-creator of the professional wrestling promotion and El Rey original series of the same name, Lucha Underground, which sports talent from famed Mexican promotion AAA.
See also Hybride Technologies, the VFX firm that Rodriguez works with in most of his films.
DanFun fact: Danny Trejo (who's an actor) has been in a number of his films,Robert Rodriguez and Danny Trejo (who's an actor) also happen to be second cousins—however, the two didn't
- El Mariachi
- "Room 309 - The Misbehavers", one segment in Four Rooms
- From Dusk Till Dawn
- The Faculty
- The Spy Kids series.
- Once Upon a Time in Mexico
- The Adventures Of Shark Boy And Lava Girl in 3-D
- Sin City
- Planet Terror, one half of the Grindhouse collab with Quentin Tarantino
- Predators, as producer (but still enough to evoke fandom rejoicing)
- Machete, a spinoff from one of the fake trailers featured in Grindhouse and takes place in the Spy Kids universe.
- Machete Kills, sequel to the above.
- 100 Years - filmed in 2015 but won't be released until 2115. Yes, really.
- Alita: Battle Angel, James Cameron's pet project, for which he was given the helm by the man himself, once it turned out that Cameron would be tied by the Avatar sequels longer than he'd like.
- Uglydolls, based on the toyline of the same name. Was originally set to both direct and produce the movie, but was replaced by Kelly Asbury as director late in production, though is still producing it, along with contributing the story.
Robert Rodriguez provides examples of:
- Action Girl: Most, if not all, of his movies feature as many badass women as there are badass men, including protagonists, supporting characters, mooks, or villains.
- Author Appeal: Westerns, crime films, grindhouse and exploitation movies, and Latin-American culture. He also has a more technical liking for digital film-making and 3D.
- Attention Deficit Creator Disorder: Rodriguez suffers from this from time to time. After Sin City came out, he began talking about a pair of sequels filmed back-to-back with new original material written by Frank Miller. After Miller failed to produce (mostly due to his new love of film directing) the sequels hit a major snag and even Mickey Rourke publicly announced he wasn't waiting up. Then, after Grindhouse was released Rodriguez was not only attached to Sin City 2/3 but a Machete feature film (which happened years later) and a remake of Barbarella. The Sin City sequel only came out of Development Hell in 2012. Nobody believes any news regarding future Rodriguez projects until the cameras start rolling.
- Just another thing him and his buddy Tarantino share in common.
- BFG/BFS: There's almost always at least one character who's carrying some ridiculously large weapon.
- Black-and-Grey Morality/Grey-and-Gray Morality: His more adult films. His kids films are either Black-and-White Morality or White-and-Grey Morality.
- Black Comedy: Death and violence are constantly played for laughs in his adult films. Special mention goes to Machete, where the titular character disembowels a man and then uses his intestines as an escape rope.
- Chroma Key: He is a huge advocate of CGI and digital effects, and it shows by the high amount of digitally-made backgrounds and sets in his films, at the expense of physically-made sets. This is mostly pragmatic on his part, given that it takes less time, though he employs this for stylistic purpose in Sin City and The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl.
- Copiously Credited Creator: Usually directs, writes, produces, and composes the score of his movies. He also mixes the sound, and has some input in special and visual effects and edits. Occasionally, he also manages to have a Creator Cameo. On Planet Terror he's also (half)jokingly credited as his own chef.
- Cool Hat: See above, he seems to always be seen wearing that hat (or a similar one).
- Creator's Oddball:
- Alita: Battle Angel has a much larger budget than any of his other movies and deviates from their Off-the-Shelf FX look with state of the art production values.
- While his previous kids movies were partially CG animated, Ugly Dolls marks his first movie to be entirely CG animated and has been noted by viewers like Pan Pizza for being more down to earth compared to his previous kids movies in his review.
- Dashing Hispanic: Take any Mexican-themed Rodriguez film and you'll find plenty of really badass macho men.
- Gorn: There's a lot of violence in his movies. It's mostly over-the-top and cartoonish though.
- Gun Porn: Gun imagery dominates his action movies; one character in Machete even drinks out of a gun-shaped bottle.
- Later Installment Weirdness: After making Machete Kills, Robert took a break from filmmaking to expand his production company towards television with the El Ray Network for a few years. Even when he returned to the big screen he directed a high budget Hollywood epic and produced an animated feature that's considered by critics as the most normal entry in his family movie lineup.
- No Budget: Rodriguez first made a name for himself by making mainstream movies as cheaply as possibly while hiding their budget by sticking to tight schedules, shooting around cheap props, reusing stunt doubles and keeping resources to whatever was readily available. As documented in his book Rebel Without A Crew, his first film El Mariachi was a personal challenge to make $7,000 look like $1,000,000. Desperado, similarly, was an attempt to make $7,000,000 look like $10,000,000.
- Directing Against Type: When Spy Kids first came out, his name on the posters provoked numerous DoubleTakes. By now, his family-friendly films may represent an alternative type.
- Doing It for the Art: Rodriguez left the Director's Guild of America so that Frank Miller could work and be credited as the co-director of Sin City. It is against the Guilds policy for non-members to be credited as co-directors, and Rodriguez decided to leave rather than compromise his principles.
- Production Posse: Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Danny Trejo, Robert Patrick, Elijah Wood, George Clooney, Cheech Marin, Jessica Alba, and Pedro Pascal are in a few of his movies and shows.
- Rated M for Manly: Oh, very much so. See Dashing Hispanic above.
- Real Men Cook: Many of the DVD releases of his films include "Ten Minute Cooking Schools" in the special features, where he teaches the audience how to prepare some of his favorite meals.I've got a lot of friends who don't know how to cook, which I could never understand because not knowing how to cook is like not knowing how to fuck.
- Renaissance Man: As mentioned above, when Robert isn't in the directing chair he's also working as a producer, screenwriter, editor, cinematographer, composer, author, film teacher, makeup and effects artist, TV host, chef, and an occasional actor. He also operates his own production company and television channel, is the guitarist for his own rock band Chingon, is fluent in both English and Spanish, and dabbled as a cartoonist and animator with the comic strip Los Hooligans.
- Rule of Cool: Taken Up to Eleven on occasion, to the point of parody; gratuitous violence, guns galore, a lot of stuff blowing up, cool smoking and dialogue rife with one-liners, among other things.
- Shout-Out: The names of three of his children are revealed to be part of Juni Cortez's full name in Spy Kids 2.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: His family films are incredibly idealistic. His more adult films can be in the middle or a tad closer to the cynical end.
- So My Kids Can Watch: Why he directed Spy Kids and all that lot.
- South of the Border: Loves having fun with Mexican stereotypes.
- Stylistic Suck: His exploitation film pastiches are made like this, consisting of continuity errors, deliberately bad acting, cheap-looking VFX, and digitally added film grain/damaged footage.
- Theme Naming: His children are called Rocket, Racer, Rebel, Rogue, and Rhiannon.
- White-and-Grey Morality/Black-and-White Morality: The morality in his kids films.
- World of Badass: Again, there is hardly a character in his action movies who isn't badass in some form.