Robert Rodriguez has done it again! After announcing the launch of his own network targeting U.S. Latino viewers, El Rey Network, he has now gone back to one of his cult films to do it all over again--this time as an original television series. Taking the blue-print for the 1996 classic From Dusk Till Dawn, starring the likes of George Clooney, Harvey Keitel, Quentin Tarantino (who also wrote the script) and Salma Hayek in one of her sexiest roles yet, Rodriguez has re-created it all as a TV show with a large, diverse cast.
Starring Eiza Gonzalez as Santanico Pandemonium, the role originated by Salma in her iconic sexy snake dance, and Wilmer Valderrama as Carlos, her right-hand man, we sat down with the stars at the show's premiere at SXSW in Austin, Texas, to talk about their roles--and why they're so excited to work together on the series.
We love you in That’s 70’s Show, so it's a shocking to see your transformation for From Dusk to Dawn. What was that like?
Wilmer Valderrama: I have to tell you for the last couple of years, I’ve embraced independent films in order to bring very different characters to life. Arguably some of the mainstream audiences haven’t seen my work in independent films but thanks to Robert it will be the first time where audiences get to see me in such a different light. But leave it to Robert to trust actors to do things that even they themselves thought they weren’t able to. I was very blessed that he trusted me with this character – he texted me and said “Hey I think you’ll have fun with this character and it’s something the audience has never seen you do before.” I was like “Cool, done” I flew into Texas not knowing what I was playing. They took me to the wardrobe department where they put me in this leather trench coat and all of a sudden I’m like “What am I playing?” and they said “You're playing the bad guy.” Robert is very empowering and it's very inspiring to see him allow us to bring these characters to life. I will tell you this; you’ll definitely want to see this guy be bad!
What are some of the most exciting things that you’ve been able to do?
WV: Bringing this world to life, we never thought and expected that the world can be so wide and the pond so deep as we entered the show, specifically with the characters. That last frame in the From Dusk Till Dawn movie when you see the temple and you see the bar that the twister was built on, that’s one of the biggest reasons he wanted to make the show- he wanted to expand on that world. He wanted to bring in Mayan and African influences to actually created a mythology that is very far from vampires. We don’t use the “v” word on this show, we think vampires are our cute little cousins and what we are is very different and once you watch the show it takes more words to describe it. It’s amazing when you go to work and you read the script and you go “Oh my God! Are we really doing that this week, are we really blowing that up?” It’s an adventure to read every script.