Written by Ryan Demarco & Al Mannarino
In 1996, Robert Rodriguez unleashed a film that boldly went where no other film has gone before. With the help of Quentin Tarantino writing the screenplay, the two made an unconventional and bold choice to genre mash a bank robber brother duo on the run that collide with blood thirsty vampires in a Mexican bar that operates from dusk till dawn. The film ended up being a cult smash.
Now almost two decades later, Robert Rodriguez is rewriting the rules he boldly set out to establish with From Dusk Till Dawn the TV series. Now in its second season, the rules are rewritten and anything is up for grabs in this chaotic world where danger lurks around every corner and nearly everything is possible.
In this segment we sit down with the man himself, Robert Rodriguez, who teases how huge the Season 2 finale is going to be, what’s to come in Season 3, and just how far ahead they have the series planned for as of now.
What was your creative process going into Season 2?
RR: The whole reason we did season 1 the way we did was to remake the film and set up a way where we could have sequels as seasons. If we had just started the first season picking up with the movie left off, most of those guys were dead so we had to keep some alive and come up with a deeper mythology, sort of build the ground work. I thought, let’s just remake the story of the film in season 1 in a way that surprises people and spans the storyline where you think one thing is going to happen, but it goes a different way; set the stage so in season 2 we can really start the story. So right now it almost feels like a real sequel to the film. You see Seth and Kate together and the brothers are split up along with new characters. We found a lot of parallel between my mythology and these cults and the crime world so we put together a crime world with vampires, our special vampires called colibras. Really I wanted to tell a story that set everybody on a new path, and keep people guessing as to what would happen. I just directed the 10th episode. It’s my favorite of all the episodes. A real blowout and end the season on a real bang. It’s friggin’ awesome!
We just saw episodes 8 and 9, we’re waiting for 10!
RR: Oh my god, 10 will have you screaming cause everything pays off well. After the writers saw my episode, they said it’s their favorite episode also. That’s what I was going for, trying to top the snake dance. It’s very, very, very awesome.
Are you setting up episode 10 with a season 3 villain?
RR: You’ll get a hint, but as these things work we have an idea of where we want to go, but it’s really fun to discover when we actually begin to write for the third season. The little ideas we had always get bigger and better, which is the fun of doing a season by locking yourself in early because you start to discover a lot in a season. It’s gonna have a sort of a roadmap that you will want to have a lot of room to explore.
Towards the end of this season, I’ve noticed a lot of things parallel the first season. Did you work backwards writing this season in order for certain illusions to parallel each other?
RR: Some of the things, such as Uncle Eddie, we knew we would meet him in Season 2. We just talked about him in season 1, which was a trick I was taught by my showrunner. I would ask, “well when will they get to El Rey?”, and he’d say “oh well that’s not until Season 5,” and that surprised me because we were just starting the first season. They know hallmarks of where they want to go. So with Eddie, we talked about him more and more when we knew we would use him soon. In a movie, things happen very fast and can be written off quick, where a season is like 10 movies so you have to be patient, and really set things up more. It’s a completely different dynamic. That said, episode 10 feels like a feature.
How long after the original film were you thinking of doing a series?
RR: Well the film was in ’96, and I never thought of doing a series really, but I had a map painting in my office since the end of the movie. The painting is the pullback shot at the end of the film with the pyramid, which originally wasn’t in the script. It was something I made up. I had that painting in my house for a long time and office and I would see it for a long time. I had always wished I could have done more with the mythology which is what I was trying to elude to, but I couldn’t cram anything more in that film since it wasn’t really about that. When I got a TV network, my first idea was doing a TV series of Dusk Till Dawn because I kept seeing that painting! The mythology has been haunting me and it’s sort of this Hispanic network in the English language. It’s really for everybody. And the mythology surrounding everything needed to be in the show. That painting served as an 18 year reminder; the seed of an idea that I planted and never really cultivated it and now I did in a huge way. Which is strange and coincidental that the name of the place they’re trying to go is the name of the network. I used that name because it was the name of a song and another character in one of my movies was named El Rey so it’s this name that kind of follows me around. It really felt like faith that all of these people have been drawn to this El Rey, something that we planted years ago. Some of my crew has been with me since then. It felt like we stepped into a time machine when we were on set. It felt like we went full circle.
Are there any past films of yours that you would like to make a series on?
RR: None that jump out right away. I mainly have ideas for original stuff. Maybe a movie tie in with it and make it a bigger property, but of the older stuff you could always do a desperado series or a machete series, but right now we have cool ideas for some brand new shows that I’m excited about.
How does it feel to be more creatively free with From Dusk Till Dawn now that the first season has been told?
RR: Well it’s fun to just have free range. Even with the first season, we knew we had to get to the bar, and we still had the freedom to go anywhere. We didn’t have to stick by anything. Now the audience has no idea what to expect and that’s what I’m really excited about.