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Robert Rodriguez

Robert Rodriguez

In 1991, as a student at the University of Texas at Austin, Robert Rodriguez wrote the script to his first feature film while sequestered at a drug research facility as a paid subject in a clinical experiment. That paycheck covered the cost of shooting his film. He planned to make the money back by selling the film to the Mexican home video market. The film was El Mariachi, which Rodriguez wrote, directed, photographed, edited and sound-recorded, all for $7,000. Columbia Pictures then bought the rights and signed Rodriguez to a two-year writing and directing deal. El Mariachi premiered at the 1992 Toronto Film Festival and went on to win the coveted Audience Awards at the 1993 Sundance and Deauville Film Festivals. It was also honored at the Berlin, Munich, Edinburgh and Yubari (Japan) festivals. In addition, Rodriguez earned Independent Spirit Award nominations for Best Director and Best First Feature. El Mariachi became the lowest-budget movie ever released by a major studio and the first American film released in Spanish. Rodriguez wrote about these experiences in the book Rebel Without a Crew, published by Dutton Press.

Although it was an impressive debut, the 23-year-old Rodriguez was already a seasoned filmmaker. The third of ten children born to Cecilio and Rebecca Rodriguez in San Antonio, Texas, he had prepared for film production classes at UT by making a series of his own home movies. Family members were recruited as cast and crew. His three youngest siblings starred in Bedhead, a 16mm short film that was honored at many national and international festivals in 1991. Rodriguez also blossomed as a cartoonist at UT with Los Hooligans, a comic strip in the Daily Texan, featuring characters based on his brothers and sisters.

Rodriguez went on to write, produce, direct and edit the 1995 film Desperado, a sequel to El Mariachi. The film introduced American audiences to Antonio Banderas as a leading man, opposite Salma Hayek. Also in 1995, Rodriguez wrote, directed and edited The Misbehavers, one of four segments of the anthology film Four Rooms, again starring Antonio Banderas. Rodriguez then teamed up with Quentin Tarantino on the outrageous 1996 hit From Dusk Till Dawn. Rodriguez directed from a screenplay by Tarantino, who also starred in the film with George Clooney. Rodriguez also edited and served as executive producer on the film. His next directorial project was 1998's The Faculty, starring Josh Hartnett, Elijah Wood and Jordana Brewster.

In 2000, Rodriguez and Elizabeth Avellán founded Troublemaker Studios, their Austin, Texas-based production company, of which he is co-owner and president. The studio includes a world-renowned visual effects studio and music and publishing arms. The studio has played a primary role in making Austin a filmmaking hub.

The following year, Rodriguez fulfilled a lifelong dream and created a family adventure film, Spy Kids, which was a critical and box office success. He followed with two hit sequels, Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams and Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over.

His next film, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, was the third installment to the El Mariachi trilogy. In addition to writing and directing, Rodriguez shot, edited and scored the film. Opening at number one in September 2003, Once Upon a Time in Mexico marked his second film in a matter of months to open at the top of the North American box office, following Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over.

In 2004, Rodriguez began his next endeavor, Sin City, which was co-directed by Frank Miller, the creator of Sin City. Sin City featured an all-star cast, including Bruce Willis, Jessica Alba and Benicio Del Toro, among others. The critically acclaimed box office smash was released in April 2005.

Rodriguez returned to his love of family fare with The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D, which was based on the stories and dreams of Rodriguez's young son, Racer. Starring George Lopez, the film hit theaters in June 2005.

In the spring of 2007, Rodriguez released Grindhouse, an ode to exploitation double features of the 1970s, co-directed by his good friend and frequent collaborator Quentin Tarantino.

Upcoming projects for Rodriguez include the crime thriller Machete and the futuristic action thriller Nerverackers, both currently planned for release in 2010.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2009.
Read earlier biographies on this page.

Robert Rodriguez Facts

OccupationDirector, Writer, Producer
BirthdayJune 20, 1968 (55)
BirthplaceSan Antonio, Texas, USA
Height6' 2" (1m88)  How tall is Robert Rodriguez compared to you?

Selected Filmography

Not available.