Short Cuts

Tarantino and Rodriguez make beautiful music together, and Ellen Spiro keeps reaching for the stars.

El Mariachi Redux Dept.: No one will ever accuse Quentin Tarantino of being less than creative when it comes to scoring and soundtracking his films -- they're known as much for their funky, often retro inclusiveness as for their apocalyptic visual flair, from Reservoir Dogs' cutting-edge use of that god-awful old Stealers Wheel track "Stuck in the Middle With You" to Kill Bill's bizarrely appropriate secondslong lift from the old Ironside theme. Now comes word that at least part of the score for Kill Bill: Vol. 2 will feature compositions by Tarantino's Austin pal Robert Rodriguez, a good bet since much of the film takes place in Texas (and features actor Michael Parks, who not coincidentally returns as Sheriff McGraw, a role he originated in the Rodriguez-directed/Tarantino-scripted From Dusk Till Dawn) and will almost certainly call for Rodriguez's own brand of El Mariachi six-string flourishes. The announcement came last week during Rodriguez's lecture on film composing at the second annual Hollywood Reporter/Billboard Film & TV Music Conference held at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel. Quoted on Reuters, Rodriguez said, "These are dangerous times, where people's scores get tossed out at the last second and another composer is brought in two weeks before release. When was the last time you heard an actor was replaced on a movie after he shot his entire performance? For some reason, composers aren't treated the same way as the other collaborators, even though their job is just as important to the emotional content of the movie. And I didn't realize that until I started composing." To date, Rodriguez has composed music for all three of his Spy Kids films, in addition to scoring the soundtrack for his recent Once Upon a Time in Mexico, as well as his first eye-grabbing short, "Bedhead"... Congratulations are in order for Austin director Ellen Spiro (Roam Sweet Home) and coordinating producer Karen Bernstein, who are finalists for the prestigious Roy W. Dean Writing/Research Grant, described as "the Oscar of film grant awards," for their project Girl Scouts Beyond Bars, a documentary following a Texan Girl Scout troop made up entirely of girls whose mothers are behind bars. The final five finalists will be picked next, then the single winner of the grant. Consider our fingers crossed.

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