2 minute read

Robert Rodriguez: 1968—: Director, Filmmaker, Screenwriter

Moved Toward Family Oriented Action

Rodriguez managed to keep the breakneck speed and charismatic flavor of El Mariachi in Desperado even though Columbia executives demanded 13 rewrites of the script, and that film became a major hit in the summer of 1995. After that, while he negotiated a major contract with Miramax studios, Rodriguez directed an action film penned by his friend Quentin Tarantino, From Dusk Till Dawn. Many critics began to compare the hyperkinetic styles of the two young filmmakers, who managed to combine film-school technique with popular appeal. Finally Rodriguez signed a five-film deal with Miramax that committed him to make several films demanded by the studio in exchange for the freedom to pursue his own projects.

Those projects included a projected series of family-oriented films with the title of Spy Kids—Rodriguez and Avellano had three children by this time, and Rodriguez wanted to make films that he would feel comfortable taking his own family to see. After turning out the clever teen horror film The Faculty for Mira-max, Rodriguez completed the first Spy Kids film in 2001. With a delightful array of special effects masterminded by Rodriguez on a computer in his own garage and a strong script that combined amusingly bratty child sleuths with positive messages about family life, Spy Kids was a hit and succeeded in winning Rodriguez new fans without alienating lovers of his hard action style. Adult film buffs were amused by such touches as the name of the film's fictional father, Gregorio Cortez—the name of a famous hero in a Mexican American outlaw border ballad.

Spy Kids 2 followed in 2002, and slated for 2003 were yet another Spy Kids sequel and a concluding chapter of the El Mariachi saga entitled Once Upon a Time in Mexico. By that time, noted the All Movie Guide, Rodriguez had "proved that his talent spanned numerous genres and his appeal was far-reaching." Not yet 35 years old at the beginning of 2003, he was, on top of all these accomplishments, a still-developing talent.

Selected filmography

Bedhead, 1991.

El Mariachi, 1992.

Desperado, 1995.

From Dusk Till Dawn, 1996.

The Faculty, 1998.

Spy Kids, 2001.

Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams, 2002.

Once Upon a Time in Mexico, 2003.

Spy Kids 3: Game Over, 2003.



Dictionary of Hispanic Biography, Gale, 1996.


Entertainment Weekly, October 6, 1995, p. 57; April 27, 2001, p. 120.

Newsweek, August 12, 2002, p. 62.

People, March 22, 1993, p. 13; August 7, 1995, p. 14.

Texas Monthly, August, 1995, p. 28; June, 1999, p. S16.

Time, March 8, 1993, p. 66.

Variety, January 4, 1999, p. 97.


"Robert Rodriguez," All Movie Guide, www.allmovie.com (March 24, 2003).

"Robert Rodriguez," Contemporary Authors Online, www.galenet.com/servlet/BioRC (March 24, 2003).

"Robert Rodriguez Biography," http://rodriguez.freewebsite.com/bio.htm (March 24, 2003).

—James M. Manheim

Additional topics

Brief BiographiesBiographies: Dudley Randall Biography - A Poet from an Early Age to Ferrol Sams Jr BiographyRobert Rodriguez: 1968—: Director, Filmmaker, Screenwriter Biography - Won Way Into Film School, Low Budget "mariachi" Impressed Hollywood, Moved Toward Family Oriented Action