Robert Rodriguez visited Wizard World’s Chicago Comic Con last weekend on a mission to preserve the legacy of fantasy artist Frank Frazetta, but also shared multiple exclusives, including glimpses of his upcoming movies “Machete Kills,” animatics from his Frazetta project “Fire And Ice” and a preview of his upcoming “El Rey Network.
Last Friday’s panel “A Conversation with … Robert Rodriguez” in Room 24 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont during Chicago Comic Con, moderated by yours truly, was first and foremost about Rodroguez’s love of Frazetta. Behind the panel table, Rodriguez was flanked by displays of some of the artist’s famous artwork. The director said Frazetta, who died in 2010, was a major inspiration for him and that Danny Trejo’s Machete character was based off his rendering of Conan.
Rodriguez also went on to show clips of him and Frazetta touring the artist’s gallery, and discussing how he was able to paint multiple images in just a few days. Rodriguez additionally shared footage of comic writer and artist Frank Miller touring the director’s personal collection of Frazetta art. In an emotional tour, Miller expressed that he wished he had the talents of Frazetta.
While Rodriguez had previously announced plans to remake Ralph Bakshi‘s 1983 animated feature “Fire And Ice,” based on Frazetta’s art, he shared rough test footage from the remake for the first time in public. The footage seemed to show characters crossing a glacier bridge, and Rodriguez highlighted how he was trying to preserve some of Frazetta’s techniques in the film, such as the pyramid hierarchy the artist used.
The director also spoke at length about “Machete Kills,” the sequel to his 2010 film which opens Oct. 11. The Chicago Comic Con exclusive footage he showed was a scene where Machete fires a spear gun from a speedboat into a helicopter, and then uses the gun’s retractable mechanism to launch a bad guy into the chopper’s blades – thus causing an explosion, of course. The crowd seemed pretty happy with the over-the-top violence. Rodriguez revealed he was trying to eventually use every scene shown in the 2007 “Machete” trailer from “Grindhouse” into a feature.
"From Dusk Till Dawn" by Frank Frazetta
Finally, when asked by an audience member if he’d collaborate again with Quentin Tarantino, Rodriguez answered by confirming he’s still working on a “From Dusk Till Dawn” TV series -- to begin shooting this October -- and that it would be for his previously-announced El Rey Network. He then showed a network pitch reel for El Rey with a breakdown of his box office grosses and hints about the kind of Latino-flavored, but not Spanish speaking, programming he’d feature and which fans of his would already expect.
Rodriguez also traveled to the con with a collection of 15 of Frank Frazetta’s paintings – including “Death Dealer,” “The Barbarian,” “At the Earth’s Core” and “From Dusk Till Dawn” -- which were on display in a gallery for all four days of the con. At his booth on the con floor, Rodriguez posed for photo opps and sold Frazetta T-shirts and prints to benefit the Frazetta family.