The Massie Twins recently got to chat with six of the stars from Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’ new double feature film “Grindhouse” (consisting of “Death Proof” and “Planet Terror”), in which the dangerous duo pay homage to all things exploitive, gritty, and fun.
The Massie Twins: Rodriguez is known as a technology junkie, was there a lot of green screen work involved in Planet Terror?
Freddy Rodriguez: Maybe one scene we did a little green screen work, but the majority was real.
MT: So did you get to do a lot of your own stunts then?
FR: Yeah I did all my own stunts. Yeah, about 95 percent was all me (laughs). That’s why you get to see my face when the stunt is being performed. Usually when it is not you, you’ll begin the stunt and then they will cut to the back of your head and then back to you. In Death Proof though you will get to see my face, which is great.
MT: This is your first major action film, is it a genre you would want to revisit in the future?
FR: Sure, I would love to revisit the genre again. It was the most physically demanding character I have ever played and that was quite new for me. I was essentially an action hero, a badass. If you have seen a Robert Rodriguez film, he always has some sort of hero, whether it is an action hero or an antihero, and I am a combination of both. I had months of training for it, with guns and knives and fight choreography. Judging by the results and what I saw, I would love to revisit action again, especially with someone like Robert. I felt he did a fantastic job. To see it all come to fruition was extremely gratifying.
MT: Were you familiar with “grindhouse” movies before coming on board for Planet Terror?
FR: My introduction to grindhouse movies came when I was a kid. Grindhouse theaters were really big in Chicago, which was where I grew up. I remember being a kid and going with my pop and my brothers to see the double, triple feature karate movies. I was really too young to remember, but I knew all about it. When Robert [Rodriguez] presented the idea to me I knew exactly what he was talking about. It is the aspects that made the Grindhouse movies cools, infused with the level of quality and filmmaking ability that Robert and Quentin bring to the table.
MT: Fan of Tarantino and Rodriguez?
FR: Oh man, who isn’t a fan? I was so excited when I found out I was going to work with them.
MT: True. Could you describe going from an Oscar caliber drama to a film like Grindhouse?
FR: Bobby and Grindhouse are polar opposites. Bobby is a fantastic, actor’s piece with a great story behind it. Bobby was centered on someone who actually lived whereas Grindhouse is just a wild, roller coaster ride of a film. You kind of sit back, strap your seatbelt on and enjoy the ride for three hours. It is essentially a classic Quentin Tarantino/Robert Rodriguez movie, and if you are a fan of those directors then you are going to be huge fans of Grindhouse.
MT: What Aspect of El Wray did you associate most with?
FR: That’s a good question. I would say his desire to protect his girl. He put his life on the line and did everything he could to protect his girl. I can relate to that, I would do the same thing for my girl.
MT: How did you prepare for the role?
FR: Escape From New York was one of the films that I watched, it was also one of the pictures Robert recommended everyone watch because he wanted to create that tone with Planet Terror. If you were going to compare El Wray with anyone I would say he is a Snake Plissken type character. The only difference is that Snake Plissken was kind of a straight man in that film. He didn’t really perform elaborate stunt sequences, so my character is a little Snake combined with Antonio’s character in Desparado.
MT: So, the burning question, how do you fire a machine gun that is attached to your leg?
FR: It’s Grindhouse man! Those things are better left unexplained, they just happen!
MT: Touché. How would you compare working with Robert and M. Night?
FR: I would say they are similar in terms of being open and collaborative. I think they set similar tones on set. They are all about the creative process. It is about making a good film rather than them being dictators on set. They have great instincts; they trust their actors and are open. If someone comes up with a good idea, they’ll try it. If it works, it works, if it doesn’t, it doesn’t.
MT: What’s the difference between Grindhouse and the common horror film?
FR: When you see this movie you will laugh your butt off! That’s the difference between our movie and the common horror film. When you go see those other pictures you are scared out of your mind thinking this stuff could actually happen. Grindhouse on the other hand is scary, but it so over the top you can’t help but laugh. The comic element is huge in the film. Robert and Quentin really knew how to balance the two.