Five Favorite Films with Robert Rodriguez
The director of Sin City and Spy Kids talks about his new film, Shorts, and his son's influences on the process.
Robert Rodriguez is known as Hollywood's DIY filmmaker, having "shot, chopped, and scored" his own films from El Mariachi to his 2007 collaboration with Quentin Tarantino, Planet Terror. This August, he'll blaze another trail -- movie making as family bonding project -- with the kid flick Shorts, which Rodriguez conceived largely in collaboration with his own children. We met the soft-spoken auteur in a secluded room hidden within the San Diego Convention Center to talk about his favorite films and learn more about how the imaginations of his son led to his most family-friendly film since Spy Kids 3-D and The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lava Girl.
, because I just showed it to my kids for the first time. They'd seen snippets, but that's the first time I said, "Okay, you guys are old enough. Gotta bite the bullet; we're going to watch the damn thing all together." My son, my ten-year-old, was like... So I watched it when I was seven because it was released on my birthday in 1975. June 20th, 1975, Jaws
came out, and that was my birthday present. He was like -- with the sheets -- doing this [mimics pulling covers over head] over his head, and I was like, "What are you doing?" He said, "I'm practicing to make sure they go up high enough." [laughs] So we watched that. They loved that, and they were like, "What else can we watch?"
, because it's about family. It's just a perfect film. Five-act structure... It's just amazing. Coppola just did the coolest stuff with that.
is also one of my favorites. I love film noir movies, and that was just a new way of doing it. Set in the future, made up worlds. It's just a straight up great movie; everything fell into place, which is just rare for things to happen that way. How everything came together, the artistry that went into it, the design, the music, and how resilient the story is, how you can just keep making new versions of it, and they all still kind of work. [laughs] When you can just keep remaking the same movie with the same footage and just kind of tweak it a little bit...
, the Hitchcock movie. Between that and Strangers on a Train
, I think Notorious
, because it's just... I just dig that one.
Next, Rodriguez talks about his upcoming kid flick Shorts and what it's like to draw inspiration from his own children.
Escape From New York
, because that's the one that made me want to make movies. It was a fantasy world. It was like, "What? There's a wall around New York? It's a prison? You can do that? You can just make stuff like that up?" That's a lot of freedom; I thought that was very freeing. I was twelve when I saw that, twelve or thirteen. And I saw that [John Carpenter] wrote it, directed it, and did the music, and I was just like, "This guy's doing everything. You can do that?" It just felt like, it was so renegade. It was independently done, and it made me want to start making movies, and I started making movies from that point on. It was just very inspiring. I knew I had a lot of interest, and that made me... That was movie that just really marked my life.