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Creator / Robert Rodriguez

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"You know, this logo probably cost more than my whole movie."
— Describing the Columbia Pictures Vanity Plate in the commentary to El Mariachi

Describe Robert Anthony Rodriguez (born June 20, 1968 in San Antonio, Texas) here.

Easy. He's that hard-edged filmmaker who directed the El Mariachi trilogy, the Machete films, From Dusk Till Dawn, Sin City, and half of Grindhouse.

No, wait! He's that family-friendly guy who gave us the Spy Kids tetralogy, The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl, Alita: Battle Angel, We Can Be Heroes, and The Book of Boba Fett.

Or, is he both?

Whoever Robert Rodriguez is, he's someone with a deep interest in and appreciation for filmmaking, owing to his reputation for not only producing, directing and writing his films, but oftentimes also serving as video/sound editor, cinematographer, camera operator, composer, production designer, and visual effects supervisor. He's also very proud to be Mexican, as most of his movies can attest.

Rodriguez's first notable success was with 1992's El Mariachi, his feature directorial debut, which made over $2 million on a $7,000 budget. His experiences starting out as a filmmaker all the way up to selling and promoting the film in Hollywood were written out and published as Rebel Without A Crew, a book that's been touted as required reading for aspiring indie/low-budget filmmakers.

He and fellow director Quentin Tarantino have worked together on a couple of each other's projects, their biggest collaborations being From Dusk Till Dawn (which Rodriguez directed and Tarantino scripted) and Grindhouse (with Rodriguez directing Planet Terror and Tarantino directing Death Proof).

Danny Trejo has been in numerous films of Rodriguez's, 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 also the founder of the El Rey Network, an American television network turned streaming service formerly 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.

Partial Filmography:

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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Never Bareheaded: Rodriguez is almost never seen without a hat, wheter it's his famous Stetson or his recent baseball cap.
  • 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.
  • 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.