Robert Rodriguez and Danny Trejo have worked together on 11 films, creating a brother-like bond. Machete Kills, is another memory added to their collection. Aside from them actually being related (distant cousins), there is this sense of familia, or family. There’s this you mess with one, you mess with the other attitude that captivates a nostalgic feeling.
“The good thing is Rodriguez uses the same crew, and as you noticed he’s used the same cast members over and over again,” said Alexa Vega, who’s also worked with Rodriguez on several films. “So you’re put in a very, very comfortable environment, which makes any working environment great and I love that,”
Like most Rodriguez films, Machete Kills features a circle of people who have collaborated before. Machete Kills is an action-packed crime film that follows Machete (Danny Trejo), an ex-federal agent who is assigned to take down a weapons dealer in Mexico who plans to launch a massive weapon in space. Rodriguez leads the audience in anticipation of part three (you better believe there’s going to be a part three).
“I always wanted to see Machete go into space and I thought, ‘I would love to do [Machete] two but I would really love to do [Machete] three,” said Rodriguez.
Cast members Danny Trejo and Alexa Vega were in attendance with Rodriguez for the world premiere of Machete Kills at Fantastic Fest. Like other great contemporary filmmakers, such as Joss Whedon and Quentin Tarantino, Rodriguez maintains a working relationship with the same cast and crew for many of his projects. Sometimes, he changes the script based on what the actors are doing and how close they become.
“Working with you, you’re always inspired by what we’re doing,” Vega said to Rodriguez. “During Spy Kids 2, at the wrap party there was this little talent show, and a couple of the girls and I got together and we put on this big dance and choreographed this whole routine and that’s where [Rodriguez] got the idea to do a whole music video at the end of Spy Kids 2.”
Rodriguez interjected saying, “I get inspired by what the actors are doing and what they’re passionate about.”
Vega’s new image in Machete Kills had reporters, and diehard Spy Kids‘ fans, fawning over her jaw-dropping outfit as KillJoy, making her transition as a child actress into an adult actress easy. Dressing up as a woman was effortless, considering Vega is 25 years old, and yet her co-stars reacted as any parent would.
“When she walked outside in that outfit everybody went, ‘Uh oh, HOLD IT!’ It was like the first time your daughter stepped out in a bikini,” said Trejo. “But it was like, wait a minute, she was so secure with herself that it made everybody else secure.
At first, the director admits, that he had a hard time seeing Vega play a character with such maturity and sultriness, but he knew that in order to change that mindset he had to give her a chance at a role that transitioned her image while not making her seem like she was trying to be too old and too sexy too fast.
“It was really hard to convince him to let me do it,” Vega said. “I called Robert and was like, ‘I really wanna play a more grown-up, edgier character. Do you have anything in Sin City that I could play?’ And he was like, ‘Absolutely not.'”
Rodriguez’s response to Vega: “I said, ‘Oh my god! Are you kidding? No one is ever gonna hire you for a role like that. You’re a Spy Kid girl.’ Then I realized, oh, that’s part of the problem: I think that way too.”
Occasionally, the role flips, and Rodriguez is the one trying to find certain actors to play his roles. Mel Gibson, for example, was an A-list actor who he wanted to work with.
“My casting director called to sort of create this little James Bond villain and he goes, ‘Who would the ultimate James Bond villain be?’ and I thought ‘Mel Gibson, he’s so fun,'” said Rodriguez. “I chased him down here in Austin for Get the Gringo and I raided the red carpet, went in there, got a photo and followed him around like a little puppy.”
Whether Rodriguez is bringing past co-stars or fresh meat along for the ride, the actors are guaranteed a fun time. “It was exciting,” said Rodriguez. “It was definitely fun and challenging.”
Watch the official trailer of Machete Kills. The film releases nationwide on Oct. 11.