Robert Rodriguez

By Liz Lavin
April 26, 2007

Abaca Press/MCT

Some call him the “king of the ultra-low budget film.”

At 38, Robert Rodriguez is one of the most talented and versatile directors of today.

He was born on June 20, 1968 in San Antonio, Texas. He became interested in film making at the age of seven when his father bought him a VCR that came with a camera. With the help of his 10 brothers and sisters, he started making films using his siblings as the cast and crew.

After high school, Rodriguez attended the University of Texas. His grades were not good enough to get him into the school’s film program, so he started making a daily comic strip called “Los Hooligans.” It ran for three years in the school newspaper.

Rodriguez found his way into the school’s film program by making movies. He continued to star his siblings in many of his works.

In 1991, with $400 out of his pocket, he made the award-winning short film “Bedhead.”

Things have only gotten better for Rodriguez since then.

His next film was “El Mariachi” in 1992, with a budget of $7,000. After “El Mariachi,” Rodriguez made “Desperado” with a budget of $6 million. “Desperado” was the sequel to “El Mariachi” and with the bigger budget came a more extravagant and much more action-packed follow-up. It starred Antonio Banderas and Selma Hayek, who both went on to star in many more of Rodriguez’s films. Rodriguez is responsible for launching both of their American film careers.

Rodriguez teamed up with Quentin Tarantino for “From Dusk Til Dawn” in 1996, also helping George Clooney start his film career.

Known for his action-packed and bloody films, Rodriguez threw many for a loop when he came out with the family-friendly “Spy Kids,” which went on to be a trilogy. Following in his wave of trilogies, he then went on to make “Once Upon a Time in Mexico,” the last of the “El Mariachi” series. The cast of “Once Upon a Time in Mexico” was chock filled with celebrities, including Antonio Banderas, Selma Hayek, Johnny Depp and Mickey Rourke.

Rodriguez then went on to make “Sin City,” based on the Sin City comic books, in which Quentin Tarantino was named “special guest director.” He has just teamed up again with Tarantino in “Grindhouse,” recently released in theatres.

While not all of Rodriguez’s works have been blockbusters, he is known as a powerhouse in the film industry. He is able to be a one-man production crew and can write, produce, direct, edit and shoot his own work, no matter what budget he’s given.

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Liz Lavin

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