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Sin City - He swims in water that no-one else has swum in and I respect that

Feature by: Jack Foley

ROBERT Rodriguez has long been considered one of the hippest directors to hit Hollywood in a while, following the success of films such as Desperado, From Dusk 'Til Dawn and the Spy Kids series.

Yet he is also fairly uncompromising and is willing to make some difficult choices, career-wise, so that he wouldn't compromise his artistic vision.

When he came to direct Sin City, he wished to do so with the help of the man who created the graphic novels in the first place, Frank Miller, but could have been prevented by the Directors' Guild of America (DGA), whose rules objected to the idea of a co-director.

Unperturbed, Rodriguez quit the DGA and has never looked back since.

Speaking at a London press conference for the critically-acclaimed box office smash, the Mexican director said: "I didn’t know it was against the rule to have two directors.

"I thought I’d seen two directors on other movies but they had a rule and their argument was that I was established and Frank wasn’t.

"I told them he directed better than most directors in Hollywood, because if you look at his books he was already a great filmmaker, he was just using a paper instead of a camera.

"My argument was that I thought visual storytelling was the same whether it was on the page or the screen. That’s what I wanted to prove, by just translating it directly to the screen.

"And I thought that what he was doing in the books was so much bolder than anything we were doing in cinema. I wanted to make that happen on screen.

"So rather than go through a long process of them trying to change their rules it felt easier for me to leave at that time. It wasn’t a real big deal."

The down side, for Rodriguez, is that he can not be nominated for a directing Oscar, and won't get residuals or insurance.

But he remains remarkably upbeat: "Other than that, you’re free to go and do the movies you want, so that’s nice. That’s why I can make up my own directing title like ‘Special Guest Director’.

"According to the Rules of Rodriguez that means you have to direct for at least one day, one sequence, for a dollar!"

Certainly, Rodriguez's decision did not harm the movie, or its ability to attract a heavyweight cast.

A sequel (or two) is already being penned and actors like Clive Owen, Mickey Rourke and Bruce Willis are lining up to heap praise on him.

Rourke, especially, credits Rodriguez with being one of a kind, stating simply: "He swims in water that no-one else has swum in and I respect that."

While Owen maintains that 'it’s groundbreaking what’s been achieved'.

Commenting further on how long it took to be convinced to do it, he continued: "Robert called me up and said he was going to do this thing called Sin City. He sent me a bunch of Frank’s graphic novels, and he showed me this five minute test he’d done to show Frank how faithful he was going to be to that original source material.

"He then told me he was currently shooting with Bruce Willis and Mickey Rourke and that Benicio Del Toro was going to be in it and Quentin Tarantino was going to pop in for a couple of days. So I thought about it for a couple of days – and I jumped at it of course."

Sin City opens in cinemas on June 3.

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