By Jeff Otto | The Playlist July 31, 2011 at 4:13AM
Filmmaker Says Financing Is In Place For 'Sin City' & 'Machete' Sequels; Scripts Just Have To Be Honed
On the heels of Robert Rodriguez’s launch of Quick Draw Productions at Comic-Con and the slew of projects they currently have in development, the perennially occupied writer/director/producer/musician has also been promoting his latest directorial effort, “Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D,” which hits theaters on August 19th.
The Playlist spoke with Rodriguez about all the happenings at Quick Draw and got a quick update on the advancements since we last spoke at Comic-Con way back when (a week or so ago).
The primary idea behind Quick Draw is to develop and finance projects independently before going to studios for distribution. Rodriguez hopes this will prevent the usual hiccups and slowdowns inherent in working with studios over the course of the often slow development process. While all of Rodriguez’s future efforts will be under the Quick Draw banner, certain properties such as “Spy Kids” and “Sin City” aren’t owned by Rodriguez. “I don’t own the rights to those but then neither do the Weinsteins. Disney still has the rights," he said. "That’s why from now on I’m like, I’m just going to own everything because depending on where you go and to which studio, they might go out of business or whatever. You don’t want to tie it up over there. Especially if I make it so economically feasible that I could have paid for it myself, why am I saving these guys money?”
The “Heavy Metal” property he recently acquired rights to has traveled through a few hands over the years, most notably David Fincher, Paul Verhoeven and Zack Snyder. I asked Rodriguez whether he’s spoken to any of those directors since he took over the project and which other directors he might be considering for "Metal' installments down the line. “It could be [directors] that had expressed interest [in the past]," he said of what filmmakers could come on board to shoot the omnibus picture. "A lot of people never got the opportunity to be in on it. A lot of people have expressed interest. So yeah, I will be taking it out to different directors who I think might be a good fit and who might be available to move right away.”
While “Heavy Metal” is still in the early planning stages, two projects that are closer to production are “Machete 2” and “Sin City 2,” both of which Rodriguez currently plans to direct. “Our new company’s a little strange in that, usually, you’ve got somebody with a script and they’re trying to get the financing," he explained. "Our company is the other way around. We’ve got the financing, we’re just waiting for the script. So the focus is where it should be. You’re not worrying about the money, you’re just making sure the script’s where it should be. So whichever one has the script ready to go first. ‘Sin City’ has so many effects, conceivably you could shoot ‘Machete 2’ after and it could still come out before ‘Sin City 2.’ So how the distribution goes, I’m not sure, but they might just end up shooting around the same time.”
Since the first “Machete” movie was co-directed by Ethan Maniquis, I asked whether that might be a franchise he sees handing off to other directors down the line. “‘Machete,’ I could just produce and have somebody come in, yeah. If I found a really cool writer/director to come in to do it, they could do that too.”
One project that hasn’t been mentioned amongst the onslaught of Quick Draw-related productions is Rodriguez’s long-gestating “Blade-Runner”-esque science fiction flick, “Nerverackers.” “Oh yeah, I’m still going to do that one,” Rodriguez said with assurance. “That’s one that I have with the Weinsteins, so it would be a few pictures down the line.”
Yet another project announced at Comic-Con was “Fire and Ice,” a live action version of artist Frank Frazetta’s animated 1983 movie. Surprisingly, Rodriguez also plans to direct this one, and sooner than you might expect, considering he's already said "Sin City 2" could shoot sometime later this year if the script is complete. “ 'Fire and Ice,' that one’s the one that’s going to go for sure the first half of next year.”
So how in the world can Rodriguez direct all of these movies? He hopes working for himself under the Quick Draw banner will allow him to nurture his own workaholic nature without the worries of studio interference (or concern). Rodriguez lets out a big laugh when asked how he can handle all of these projects at once. “They might just shoot back-to-back or maybe at the same time.”