When I was 13, my dad took to me the movies to see Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s From Dusk Till Dawn. That became known as the “Don’t tell Mom movie” from then on. That film launched the film career of star George Clooney and featured Mexican vampires devouring a biker bar. Nearly two decades later, has Rodriguez brought the story of the Gecko Brothers to the El Rey Network. Midway through its second season, Rodriguez and the cast of the From Dusk Till Dawn TV series appeared at New York Comic-Con on Saturday to promote their show and the network.
Appearing with the director on the panel were DJ Cotrona (Seth), Zane Holtz (Richie), Eiza Gonzalez (Santanico), Jesse Garcia (Freddie), Madison Davenport (Kate), and Brandon Soo Hoo (Scott). Clarke Wolfe from Nerdist was the moderator.
The discussion began with a comparison of the film and the TV show. Rodriguez wanted to use the series to incorporate more Mexican culture, like the Mayan snake cult. He said he added the last scene of the movie with the temple and thought of how cool it would be to explore that aspect of the story. Basically, it is remaking the film on television, using Quentin’s characters. He even joked about how cool Tarantino thinks the show is. Season 2 goes completely off the track from the movie. Cotrona added that being off script from the film allowed them to explore the depth of their characters.
Rodriguez set up a nearly 7-minute clip for the audience, from upcoming Episode 2.10. The scene featured everything you’d expect from Robert Rodriguez and FDTD: blood spraying everywhere, gory vampire violence, campy one liners, and a kick-ass soundtrack.
Wolfe bounced around the panel for several questions and topics. Eiza Gonzalez, who is so beautiful that you actually forget she’s playing a character originally portrayed by Salma friggin Hayek, loves the arc Santanico has taken from being the villain of Season 1, to learning she’s actually a heroine in Season 2. Jesse Garcia is in a strange position as he’s the only person not playing a role from the film. He said that helps him as his Freddie is essentially a loner anyway. Davenport and Soo Hoo discussed their brother/sister dynamic, as she is losing her faith in him, as he loses his humanity as a vampire. Rodriguez mentioned how excited he was to cast Wilmer Valderrama (not at the panel), despite not having a role for him written. He compares Valderrama’s Carlos to Ricardo Montalban’s Khan from Star Trek II. Cotrona and Holtz called the show “a love story between two badass brothers.”
The topic of El Rey Network came up and Rodriguez said he loves it and wants it to keep thriving. He understands the importance of From Dusk Till Dawn as the flagship show on the network, and told fans to go to their website and type in their zip code to find the channel in your area. He said for Comic Con, there is no channel “more Comic Con” than El Rey.
During the audience Q&A, I ran to the mic to convey my story about seeing FDTD in theaters as a boy, and asked the director about George Clooney, and asked DJ Cotrona about filling Clooney’s shoes. Rodriguez admitted that Clooney (an Oscar winner) wrote him to thank him for casting him. Rodriguez thought (and was dead on) that playing Seth Gecko would shed his Dr. Ross personna from TV’s E.R. and make Hollywood realize he could do anything. He also said that Clooney just kills it in everything he does. Cotrona joked that he’s trying not to soil Clooney’s shoes.
Another fan asked if Rodriguez wanted to bring any other projects to TV, like Sin City or Machete. He said he would love to. He also discussed his other El Rey project, The Director’s Chair, where he interviews other directors like Tarantino, Guillermo del Toro, and his personal favorite, Sylvester Stallone.
Overall, this was another awesome New York Comic-Con panel, where I actually got to speak to an idol of mine who directed one of my favorite movies ever. The show kicks ass and the young cast looks amazing. From Dusk Till Dawn Season 2 continues on El Rey network on Tuesday nights at 9pm ET. Season 1 is available on Netflix.
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[Photo by Dr. Zaius for Geeks Of Doom.]