Robert Rodriguez has made his last few movies on green screens. Planet Terror, his half of the Grindhouse project, is back to old school low budget filmmaking, running around with cameras on a set. Though he loves the control of his own studio, it was nice to get back to guerilla filmmaking.
Robert Rodriguez Talks Grindhouse
“I do that from time to time,” said Rodriguez. “I jump back and forth, like Once Upon a Time in Mexico or the Spy Kids movies except for part three, that was all green screen. And I like jumping back and forth between the control you have on the studio green screen set and then something like this which is just wild and crazy out in the streets and shooting all night. That's fun too.”
While nothing could ever be as guerilla as El Mariachi, Planet Terror was a return to form. “We'd be shooting really quick and trying to get everything as perfect as we can and just before we'd start a take, somebody would verily say, ‘Oh wait, we can see the light back there.’ I'd say, ‘Oh, it's a Grindhouse movie, keep shooting. We can't pause for that. No one's going to notice that.’ It was very much like Mariachi. It felt a lot of times where it was one take here, one take there and really just getting the more raw feel of it, just to make it more authentic.”
Planet Terror boasts the striking image of its heroine with a machine gun for a leg. It’s vintage Rodriguez, but perhaps his most difficult idea. “I had originally written the character where she lost her leg and then she got a wooden stick in there for a leg. I was driving in traffic trying to think of a central image I could have for my movie that was strong enough to be on a poster, an exploitation type poster. I was trying to think, if I made a trailer for Planet Terror, what would be in the trailer? I don't really have a really strong trailer image and I really have to jack up the idea some more. I was just stumped because I had just written the Machete trailer and that had a lot of great things in it. But the Planet Terror one was still pretty straightforward until, I don't know, it was a flash. I was stuck in traffic, I just suddenly saw Rose McGowan kicking her leg around with a machine gun on it and getting to do roundhouse kicks and the gun firing the whole time. I drew it furiously while I was driving in a little notepad and I just thought that was going to be the central image for the movie.”
An homage to the zombie films of the ‘70s, Planet Terror still has some modern twists. “You always try to come up with some new twist on it and mine was more an infection that comes back from the war in Iraq and a real viral infection takes place. They're not really zombies. In fact, we call them sickos. You always have to have some kind of twist just to make it interesting. You don't want the same zombies rising from the grave, roaming around and just being unstoppable. So you do that and then the characters that you have you just know haven't been done before so that's basically where you go for it is mainly in the characterization, giving people characters that they haven't seen before in this kind of a movie.”
Grindhouse opens to theatres on April 6th.
For posters, trailers, movie stills and more movie info, go to the Grindhouse Movie Page.
Stay tuned for updates.