Time to Grind

What happened at this morning's Grindhouse Q&A?

"I remember the first time we got together to paint models." – Harry Knowles of aintitcoolnews.com
"He means model kits" – Robert Rodriguez, happily admitting he’s less cool than people think.

Yes, the red-haired film doyen and the Austin-based cine-deity goofed around and talked up the upcoming Rodriguez-Tarantino tribute to exploitation cinema, Grindhouse. A capacity crowd in the Convention Center main theatre got to hear big props for both Austin's own Tim League (he behind the Alamo Drafthouse's regular Weird Wednesday and Terror Thursday grindhouse screenings) and, of course, Quentin Tarantino himself ("He grew up in some mystical community where shamanistic projectionists showed only the coolest shit." – Harry Knowles on QT.) A lengthy clip was shown, to howls of appreciation.

So here’s some highlights of the Q&A, for the gore-fiends out there:

- After making his installment of the film, Planet Terror, Rodriguez said that "grindhouse means freedom." Neither he nor Tarantino have seen full versions of each other’s films yet, because they want to see them with fresh eyes. There's no competition about making a better film than each other, but Rodriguez hopes his looks crappier. To catch the old, scratched, color-distorted, frames-missing effect of old film, he used digital and added errors in post-production. Tarantino went with film and is hand-editing: he'll be deliberately messing with the color chemically. Rodriguez said that, if his print looks worse in the best ways, he’ll tell Tarantino it’s because it had been watched by so many audiences. He expects Tarantino to say it's just because there were so few prints, because it wasn’t in demand.

- He doesn’t expect too many problems with the MPAA (although the fake trailer for Eli Roth’s non-existent movie Thanksgiving may end up with some serious snipping.) Even if the film censors (oops, that should read "arbiters of social values") do come down heavy, it’s no biggy. "We'll just put a really ugly cut and splice in there. The MPAA will actually be helping re-create the whole grindhouse experience." That said, his zombies are big, squishy blood-bags. The MPAA screening isn't until this coming week.

- There are plans for a Grindhouse franchise, with Machete starring Danny Trejo in the works. The releases will probably be straight-to-DVD, but they may end up with at least limited cinematic releases.

- Hobo With a Shotgun won the fake trailer competition, with The Dead Won’t Die and Maiden of Death getting a huge rounds of applause when screened. The audience also got to see vintage trailers for The Green Slime, Boss Nigger, They Call Her One-Eye and the truly classic The Crippled Masters.

- The next Sin City movie will, he confirmed, be based on the graphic novel A Dame to Kill For. Rodriguez would love to make more Blind Gunman movies, spinning off from Once Upon A Time in Mexico, but he doesn’t know if that will ever happen. He also may put out a sequel to "Rebel Without A Crew", called "How To Do It", and potentially re-print his college comic strip, Los Hooligans, but both may end up being on-line.

- 3-D is back, big style. There’s a whole bunch of studio projects in the works, including a Fantastic Voyage re-make, and Rodriguez will do more. He’s also seen the first reel of Star Wars episode IV put through a 3-Ding process, and says it's "like watching it for the first time."

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Film, SXSW, Robert Rodriguez, Grindhouse, Quentin Tarantino, Harry Knowles

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