Robert Rodriguez has been one of the most notable directors of the last 20 years, having been behind the camera lens for "Machete," "Spy Kids," "Sin City," "From Dusk Til Dawn," and so many others. He's worked with nearly every A-list star on the planet. He's now stepping a little out of his comfort zone, writing the script for the newly-opened Las Vegas show R.U.N., a live-action thriller at Luxor. Prior to the show's opening night, Wonderwall.com sat down with the famed director in a wide-ranging interview to chat about the new show, his lack of sports knowledge, why he makes Salma Hayek look like an "amazon" and even the Christmas gifts he and Jon Favreau send each other.
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Working with Cirque du Soleil on R.U.N.
" I got a call out of the blue that they wanted to do this action thriller and needed more of a story to it and wondered if I could come and help them figure out how to link all these different actions and set pieces they had," Robert Rodriguez said of his work with Cirque du Soleil. "I told them I would love to give it sort of a graphic novel feel and the feel of a voiceover so you can kind of hear the inner thoughts of the character. It was exciting to try something new. It wasn't acrobatics based. It was stunts and combat and action based." How long did it take before he agreed to work on the show? "About two seconds," he said.
Pizza and Christmas gifts
Little known fact about Robert Rodriguez: He's an incredible pizza maker, having made pies in the past for a couple of guys named Francis Ford Coppola and President Barack Obama. So, when Jon Favreau was in Robert's hometown of Austin, Texas, filming "Chef" several years ago, he invited the "Iron Man" star to his house for homemade pizza. Suddenly, a few years later, Jon started "The Chef Show" on Netflix, and Robert again cooked pizza for him. Robert's episode of "The Chef Show" aired over the summer. "[Jon] came over and ate it and was like, 'This is unbelievable.' He came back a year later with a film crew for a cooking show and then it turned into ['The Chef Show.'] The pizzas even better now. I mean, I've been doing it 18 years… I bring out the chocolate pizza at the end now." Does Jon have skills in the kitchen? "John cooks really good," Robert said. "We send each other chef's knives for Christmas."
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Sports aren't his forte
"I'm not into sports," he said when asked if his five children think he's cooler now that he's working with stuntmen in R.U.N. "They wanted to watch a movie of mine called 'The Faculty' and said it's funny when it gets to the football game. I don't know anything about football. I made it more like a gladiatorial sport. There's explosions, guys that just get murdered out there and they're like, 'Wow, this is dad football.' They jokingly said that. So I said you gotta come see this Cirque show because is this is dad circus. They enjoy seeing my twist on things because they know I go for something really heightened and out there crazy."
Friends and fatherhood
Earlier this year, Quentin Tarantino announced that he and his wife, Daniella Pick, are expecting their first child together. So, why will Quentin make a great father? "He's awesome. I mean, my kids grew up with him," Robert Rodriguez said of his dear friend. "He was always such a sweet, kind soul. So yeah, I think he'd be great."
Why Salma Hayek gets mad at him
Robert Rodriguez and Salma Hayek have been friends for decades and she's reportedly the godmother of his children. They've worked together on several films, too. "She is just always such a spitfire," he said of the actress. "I mean, I knew her when she first was trying to get work in the industry and I just thought, 'I have to write a role for her, actually for her, not take a role and put her in it. She's very unique. She just she comes into a room and she's so commanding." He then adds, "She's not very tall, so I always shoot her from really low angles to make it look like an amazon. She always says, 'Thanks a lot! Every time I go out people are like, you're really short because they're used to seeing me in your movies, and I look like an amazon!' But she's just got this larger than life presence, like Antonio [Banderas,] like George Clooney, like all those actors."
Vegas might give him a 'heart attack'
Speaking of the difference between a film and a big-scale Vegas show like R.U.N., Robert said, "It's like performing the same film live. So when you're filming a movie, like if you're doing a big stunt like this, guys rehearse with pads and then you take the pads off and you're like, okay, here we go. They get it once you're done, you don't make them do it 400 times. So these guys having to do the same stunt over it. I mean, it gives me like a heart attack! That's what these guys do. Physical feats are unbelievable. They're amazing athletes, and it really shows what the human body's even capable of."