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Planet Terror - Freddy Rodriguez interview

Planet Terror

Interview by Rob Carnevale

FREDDY Rodriguez talks about appearing in Robert Rodriguez’s Planet Terror, the physical challenges of the role and why he thinks US audiences didn’t take to the whole Grindhouse concept in its original form…

Q. How was the experience of working with Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino on Grindhouse?
Freddy Rodriguez: Grindhouse was one of those rare experiences where you get to work with two genius directors. I just wanted to be a fly on the wall and absorb that genius. I knew I was a part of history in the making. So it was great to be part of that whole experience.

Q. Were you familiar with Grindhouse movies before being offered the part?
Freddy Rodriguez: I was familiar with Grindhouse movies before that, I just didn’t have an appreciation for what they were doing. As a child my father would take us to the Grindhouse double and triple bills, so I remember it being part of my family entertainment. I didn’t appreciate the content then though. It was only after Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez said what they wanted to do that I began to appreciate them more.

Q. I gather you were invited to Quentin’s house to watch Grindhouse movies as part of your research? That must have been fun…
Freddy Rodriguez: These guys have such a love for film but sometimes the untrained eye may watch a film and not see the gems that these guys see in them. Sometimes it takes someone to point it out. Some viewers see elements that are cool in them but it takes someone else to point out what they feel is cool about it. So it was a great experience and a really educational one as well.

Q. How about the physical demands of the role? It’s action-packed to say the least…
Freddy Rodriguez: It was my first time playing the action hero and it was very physical. I did months of training – fight training, gun training. I have never prepared for a role that way before, it was completely new to me. So it was very, very tough at times. In fact, I just took a break from making films after Grindhouse because it was such a gruelling experience. It was great but it was physically the hardest thing I’ve ever done and I needed to take a breather.

Q. Why do you think audiences have had such a hard time taking to it in America?
Freddy Rodriguez: Some people get it but I think the biggest problem they have is getting their heads around the whole double feature aspect of it. You’d think people would remember the old format but the younger generation doesn’t seem to. The whole Grindhouse experience has been a real education.

Q. Do you think that, given time, it will find an audience perhaps in the same way that films like The Shawshank Redemption did?
Freddy Rodriguez: I think it is one of those films that will be around for a long time. Perhaps it will find a bigger audience once it’s released on DVD.

Read our review of Planet Terror