In this weekend's gut-ripping action film Machete Kills, Danny Trejo reprises his role as Machete, a knife-wielding hero recently recruited by the U.S. president to stop a global terrorist from engaging in nuclear war. The star-studded cast includes Sofia Vergara, Antonio Banderas, Lady Gaga, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Demián Bichir and Mel Gibson.
At a recent press day, we talked to Danny Trejo and director Robert Rodriguez about their latest big-screen collaboration, Hispanic Heritage Month, Alexa Vega's newfound sex appeal, Mel Gibson's space odyssey and Sofia Vergara's boob firing armor. Here are a few highlights:
Machete don't text, but Danny Trejo tweets: "My fans are so cool. I can talk to them every day on Twitter. All I hear is Machete rocks." – Trejo
Machete = Frankenstein?: "Machete is like a young Frankenstein." – Trejo
Machete Kills' lightning-fast shooting schedule: "We shot Machete Kills like a TV schedule. Lady Gaga was there half a day, Charlie Sheen was there one day, Sofia was on set two days, Mel was there for three days. We shot really fast, it was the shortest schedule I've had since El Mariachi. We shot the whole thing in 29 days, which would normally take 100 days." – Rodriguez
The pressures of creating original Latino content: "I don’t feel like there's a pressure other than what I put on myself. I'm just here to serve and do my part. Twenty years ago when I was making El Mariachi and Desperado I was shocked that there weren't any Latin actors that Hollywood thought, 'Oh this is bankable.' I thought I was screwed… so I had to build my own star system and give Latin actors work so they could become bankable." – Rodriguez
Rodriguez's El Rey Network, planned for launch in December: "The goal now is to do what we did in film on television. We want El Rey television shows to feel like features, to allow audiences to feel like they're watching a movie. The voices and the writers will be a lot of Latinos. It's going to make us stand out." – Rodriguez
Hispanic Heritage Month: "Hispanic Heritage Month is every month for me. I forget that there's an actual set date for it. I think it's great to reflect on how much we've accomplished and how much further we can take it. We’ve done the hard part already, now it's about delivering on that and making things better." – Rodriguez
"I'm just so proud of where we have come. I got into this business in 1985 and at the time they were still using white guys to play Hispanics, they were tanning them. I think it's so cool that we get to honor each other for a month. I think Robert Rodriguez has done so much for the Latino community and for independent filmmaking. Anything that I can do for him is just an honor." – Trejo
Alexa Vega's sexy performance almost didn’t happen: She wanted to come out of her shell and no one was allowing her to. I wasn’t going to allow her either. I just couldn’t image her in the role of Kill Joy. She called and said, 'Would you ever consider casting me in one of your Sin City type of movies?' I said, 'Oh my God that will never happen! No one is ever going to cast you in something like that. People just think of you as a kid.'" – Rodriguez
What changed his mind: "I realized the only person who is going to lift the curse is the one that put the curse on her so I told her, 'I'm not going to cast you in Sin City yet but come and join me on Machete Kills. There's no real part but you can be one of Sofia Vergara's girls.' She showed up to set and picked the most audacious outfit and accessories." – Rodriguez
Fighting Mel Gibson is like fighting Braveheart: "I remember getting ready to shoot a sword fight with Mel. Robert Rodriguez yelled, 'Action!' and I immediately threw my sword to the ground. Robert said, 'Danny, what's wrong?' I said, 'I'm not fighting William Wallace, are you crazy? This guy freed Scotland.'" – Trejo
The origins of Sofia Vergara's machine gun bra: "I knew Sofia was going to want to play something so different from television. I thought, she's so larger than life, I need to accessorize her. The first thing I thought out of was a machine gun boob thing that also shoots knives. Then I thought I need to give her more because that's going to run dry quick. So, I figured I would take the crotch gun that I invented for Tom Savini in From Dusk Till Dawn that was my own first prop that I built. I figured I would give her that and have her thrust her hips. I wasn’t sure if she was going to dig it or think it was too off color but after I explained it to her on set I thought it would maybe take about 10 takes for her to build up the courage but she got it on the first take." – Rodriguez
Demián Bichir auditioned for Desperado: "Demián auditioned for Desperado. I didn’t even know that. He told me on set. He never got to the top level of the casting guy so I never even saw him." – Rodriguez
Elon Musk, creator of Space X, is to blame for Machete going to space next: "It came about in an odd way. You give a series or franchise long enough and they'll end up in space. I was at a Hollywood party, Elon Musk was there and I started talking to him. He mentioned going to Mars and colonizing the planet and he sounded like Mel Gibson's character. I asked him if I could go to his factory where he makes the rockets and once there I noticed a rocket called Falcon. He said it was inspired after the Millennium Falcon on Star Wars and I realized he was making his Star Wars dreams come true. So, I thought, I need to make that happen for Mel so that's how the idea of going to space made it into the movie."
Dramas are a snore: "You have to remember that we are big movie fans and that's why the movies we make are so much fun. I don’t think me and Robert could sit through a drama without falling asleep and disturbing everyone. " – Trejo
BONUS: Watch Alexa Vega, Danny Trejo and Robert Rodriguez quiz each other on Fandano Cine.