A Heavy Metal movie, a Frank Frazetta art gallery, Sin City 2 and … Machete in space? Director Robert Rodriguez came to Comic-Con International in San Diego loaded with news from his own Quick Draw studios.
Rodriguez showed the crowd a close-up of the Heavy Metal logo set to heavy-metal music. He said Heavy Metal has always been an inspiration to him. He heard murmurs that the property might get dusted off, so he called a friend who put him in touch with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-creator Kevin Eastman, who owns the rights.
“I was a huge fan, I bought the first issue off the newsstand in 1967,” said Eastman, who appeared at Rodriguez’s panel. “[Heavy Metal] led me to self-publishing. When it came time to do my own comic book, self-publishing enabled me to keep the profits. So Heavy Metal helped me buy Heavy Metal.”
“I love the idea of artists from all over the word showing off their work,” Rodriguez said. “My think tank always had [Conan creator] Robert Howard, Sin City and Heavy Metal.”
Rodriguez’s next big announcement was a collaboration with the family of legendary fantasy artist Frank Frazetta, who passed away last year. Together they’ll work to create a Frazetta art gallery in Austin, near Rodriguez’s studio.
“I was inspired by [Frazetta] since [age] 11,” he said. “Frank created the look for iconic characters such as Conan, John Carter, Tarzan, Death Dealer … the books flew off the shelves when he did the covers. I worked with him first in 1995 on From Dusk ‘Til Dawn -- we made Salma Hayek gain some weight so she’d be more like a Frazetta girl, real curvy.”
Rodriguez introduced Frazetta’s son Billy, who joined him on stage. “As a child growing up, very early, even at age 3 I could see that [my father] was a genius,” Frazetta said. “I was probably 6 when the first cover came out. I was very young when I knew this father of mine was going to be one of the great artists.”
“We want to bring worldwide recognition back to Frazetta,” Rodriguez added. “Frank’s inventiveness and creativeness remains intact. I was surprised by how much of Frank’s original art he still held on to. He never sold them, he wanted fans to come to his gallery and see them.”
Rodriguez said the Frazetta paintings have an even bigger impact when they’re seen in person.
“It was Billy’s idea [to put the gallery in Austin]. That way I can be there … connected with my studio, and control the look and feel of it,” Rodriguez said. “I want, as soon as you walk in, you walk into the Frazetta world.”
“[Frazetta is] one of the main reasons I do what I do,” Rodriguez continued. “This joint venture is going to allow us to generate revenue. So they don’t have to sell the paintings. When you come down to South by Southwest, come down and see the Frazettas.”
Rodriguez also talked about the long-discussed sequel to 2005’s Sin City, which he said possibly could start filming this year.
“Frank [Miller] has written a script for Sin City 2, it’s called A Dame to Kill For. We’re following the [format of the] first one,” the filmmaker explained. “Two stories are new. One is called ‘The Long Bad Night.’ There is a scenario that it could be shot as early as this year. That’s the best scenario. If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen this year.”
Rodriguez talked about how the buzz at Comic-Con helped make the first Sin City a success.
“When I did Sin City, I brought that to show you, I showed pages of the comic, then scenes from the movie,” he said. “That blew the lid off Sin City… people really supported it at the theaters. It’s really hard to predict what an audience is going to want in a year or two.”
Rodriguez thanked the crowd, which filled less than half of the cavernous Hall H, for supporting his 2010 action film Machete. “The DVD went crazy. Thank you for that. Machete will kill again,” he said to applause.
He said the sequel will be called Machete Kills, with a third installment to be titled Machete Kills Again. He joked that the third movie probably would be a space opera that he only makes as a preview for Machete Kills.
“A bad-ass Mexican in space -- you don’t see that too often,” Rodriguez laughed.
He then moved on to Spy Kids 4, which will be shot in “aroma-scope.”
“Everyone will get a scratch-and-sniff card,” he said. “The idea was great, the tech has improved, the tech is amazing. There are eight instances throughout the movie when the number flashes, you smell that number. When they have bacon in the morning, you smell the bacon. Even if you’re not a kid, you’re going to be into it, it’s pretty fun. And it’s free. That comes out next month, Aug. 19th.”
Rodriguez talked about how he was the first one to revitalize the 3D craze, when he released Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over eight years ago.
“[But] I gave it to you for free -- I gave you the glasses, I paid for those glasses,” he said. “I’m still paying for it!”