The Sharkboy and Lavagirl universe is personal for Robert Rodriguez
In 2005, From Dusk to Dawn and Sin Metropolis director Robert Rodriguez made a movie inspired by his younger son. Titled The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D, the intense, zany movie is seared into the minds of many 2000s-kids, regardless of the actual fact it was critically panned.
Rodriguez has a legacy as an motion director — he just directed a one-off for The Mandalorian and can oversee the upcoming The Guide of Boba Fett — however an entire generation is aware of him because the mastermind behind their favourite kids movies. Along with Sharkboy and Lavagirl, Rodriguez additionally created the Spy Kids movies, a collection of certifiably good movies that appeal to child senses and elevates their tales to entrance and middle.
His newest kid-action flick is We Can Be Heroes, a unfastened Sharkboy and Lavagirl sequel that brings the characters again as members of a superhero crew. With the movie out now on Netflix, Polygon sat down with the director (and producer, composer, digital camera operator, director of pictures, visible results supervisor, author — just a few of the many hats he wears on set) to speak Sharkboy and Lavagirl, We Can Be Heroes, and what’s so particular about making child movies.
Polygon: How did the concept of a Sharkboy and Lavagirl sequel come to be?
Robert Rodriguez: I used to be approached by Netflix to give you an unique movie that wasn’t tied to a remake or sequel for his or her service. These had been the comparables for positive — Spy Kids, Sharkboy and Lavagirl — which I played rather well on their service. They wished something like that: live-action, motion journey comedy like I did these different movies, as a result of they had been just very profitable for them.
I came up with We Can Be Heroes first and the entire time I used to be writing it, my kids and I had been arising with different superpowers for the Kids. I saved pondering wow want certainly one of them at shark powers! Now we cracked the code 15 years in the past, that was one of the best. Kids love that and it’s so empowering. So as soon as they loved the script and wished to make it into a movie, I approached them about pulling a Marvel-Sony the place they might borrow Spider Man from the studio. And so we borrowed the dad and mom for 2 causes — one to legitimize my adult household and my adult superhero crew so people would have at the very least heard of two people on the crew after which additionally selfishly, so one of many kids might have a mixture of their superpowers and create Guppy. That’s how that took place. It was actually an afterthought later just once we realized we’ve done it indirectly so way back. It labored then so why not convey a few of that again within the Rodriguez-verse!
The unique was inspired by a narrative your son wrote — was he concerned in We Can Be Heroes? What does he consider it?
He’s on this as a producer. On the finish of the credit whenever you see produced by me and and produced by Racer Max, that’s him. He created Sharkboy means again when. He was on set [for We Can Be Heroes]. All my kids had been on set every day working in some capability. [Racer] wrote with me and produced with me. My different son, my 20 year-old, composed the rating. The whole orchestral rating was my 20 year-old, Insurgent. Rogue, my 15 year-old, designed all these unbelievable alien inside units — the massive one with a pyramid, he did on his sport engine program at 15. And my 13 year-old daughter is the one who drew all of the paintings for all [Ojo, one of the characters]’s iPads. They had been on the set every day and dealing.
It was very surreal for [Racer] to see not just Sharkboy and Lavagirl again. He created [them] when he was the identical age because the woman who played Guppy. That’s how previous he was when he came up with them. But Besides see that they’ve offspring. It was very trippy. And for me, it was like she was my cinematic granddaughter. Very unusual and really inspiring and just surreal.
Sharkboy and Lavagirl and the Spy Kids trilogy don’t pander — they had been movies that took child pursuits severely. Was that a part of the ethos, and in that case, how did you go about approaching them in that means?
I’m from a household of 10 kids. We used to go to the films lots. We loved movies like that. There weren’t very many. Once I began making movies — my earliest movies, once I was in my teenagers, had been in my yard. I used to be making form of motion comedies, however my associates weren’t always out there to be in them, however my little siblings had been. There’s so lots of them that I put my little siblings in there as an alternative. And I might win festivals! Folks seeing little kids do motion comedy was a profitable method. I knew sometime I might attempt to determine an angle to make a movie like that. That was Spy Kids.
Then I just loved to proceed making them for my very own kids, for my siblings, once we had that very same sort of relationship collectively. Now that my kids are older, I actually wished to do that movie, as a approach to give kids their very own mythology. I’ve met plenty of kids through the years that are actually of their 20s, who stated, Oh, you recognize, Spy Kids and Sharkboy [and Lavagirl], that was my sister and my favourite film, we watched that collectively again and again, that was our childhood. It means lots to them.
[These movies have] plenty of good meals for thought, educating worth, educating morality to kids utilizing style — just like the spy style or the fantasy style, like Sharkboy. This one, we’re taking the superhero fantasy, and utilizing that to indicate kids that they’re going to be the longer term. If the dad and mom have clearly screwed the world up, they’re gonna should step in later and be ready. [The film does it] in a means that’s entertaining, however but additionally academic. That was always, I believed, the legacy of those movies, and it’s something that I get pleasure from doing as a father or mother and as a sibling of such massive households.
something that I’ve always loved about Spy Kids, Sharkboy and Lavagirl, and now We Can Be Heroes is just how bright they’re visually. What inspired that? Why was it important?
As a result of that’s what’s so enjoyable about making these movies! If you just take into consideration what number of superhero movies and TV collection of reboots and spin offs there are, however there aren’t any with Kids. Surprisingly, they’ve done all the things however that. It actually opens you up to have the ability to use the colour palette and the shapes, like even the ship. The tech firm would ship me concepts for a ship and I used to be like It seems an excessive amount of like a adult ship. just ship me some easy shapes first, just ship me shapes. And so they ship me like a circle. And so they despatched me some tentacle-looking issues. I put a pair collectively and I stated that is it. Now let’s make that actual. My child handed you this little mannequin, now make it huge and make it actual, make it work. So it began with numerous shapes, you’re not used to seeing colours that you just’re not used to seeing, however that you’d see in a baby’s world as a result of within the movie, it seems, all that stuff is designed by a baby and that was a part of this storyline. It grew to become a part of the look and allow you to go right into a route you usually wouldn’t go
Besides the subject matter, what’s something starkly different about making kids movies versus making adult movies that some people might not consider?
You may’t just direct and write. It’s a must to function the digital camera, you need to be the director of pictures, you need to be the editor and know visible results rather well as a result of you’ve got so little time. You’ve gotten half the period of time to shoot it as a daily movie, as a result of a fim like this has 11 Kids in each shot, you lose them in six hours. You don’t have a 12 hour shoot day. They should go house, door to door in six hours. It’s a must to be actually centered, you need to rent actually terrific kids to determine easy methods to movie 11 of them in each shot. It’s a tall order, however but it’s so enjoyable. They’re so good, so imaginative.
A movie like this you should use your complete creativeness. Any concept you’ll be able to sort of put in there as a result of it’s for households it’s not like Oh, this isn’t acceptable for an Avengers movie. You might be as foolish and as humorous as you need. Like you’re whenever you play together with your kids. You may’t be like that within the boardroom. You may’t try this in your regular work life. However whenever you go house, that’s when you’ve got probably the most enjoyable — on the weekends and with your loved ones. That’s what my work will get to be. We encourage that, on set, on digital camera, off digital camera. It’s a really enjoyable set to be on as a result of it must spill into the camaraderie, that enjoyable that we’re having. We’ve drawing contests collectively in between takes. just to maintain the Kids inventive and to maintain them centered on working collectively and creating this artwork for others to get pleasure from. It’s only a different atmosphere than a daily film. Everybody, even the adults, walked away saying it was in all probability probably the most enjoyable they’d had capturing.
What’s something you hope adults will take away from We Can Be Heroes?
It’s something that I sort of discovered by way of parenting my kids. I by no means wished to push them into the business. However I began discovering that as I included them, they actually took to it and it wasn’t about that they had been going to go and try this of their future. Initiatives are a approach to present the method of life actually. It’s extra life classes, particularly movie classes: easy methods to tackle a venture, easy methods to assault a giant venture, concept, enterprise, no matter it’s that you just need to tackle in your future, how you need to make a plan, how that plan always falls aside, the way you reserve it, the way you make it higher. That strategy of life is wash, rinse, repeat, it is available in a microcosm of a venture like a film.
I hope what dad and mom take away by seeing the Kids and the dad and mom working collectively and studying from one another in [We Can Be Heroes] is that parenting might be extra about partnership, somewhat than dad and mom telling you what to do as a child. You may study extra from the kid, they usually can study from you. And in the event you consider them as companions, somewhat than you having the accountability of a father or mother, you’ve got a relationship that may final for much longer. Such as you see, by the top of the film that Missy has along with her dad, they’re gonna go work collectively now. They’re gonna have a partnership. It’s not going to be [Pedro Pascal’s character] frightened about his daughter, after which he turns into out of date in her life at 13. He’s gonna be very a lot an important a part of her growth and his growth. So I believe that’s something I attempted to hit house within the film, people take away from it. The thrill of being in a household is partnering together with your kids.
What was it wish to see the strong fan reaction when the first images of adult Sharkboy and Lavagirl came out? Did you expect it?
Oh, that was so nice. I don’t think they realized at first once I first recommended bringing Sharkboy and Lavagirl. As a result of in the event you just regarded on the field workplace … That’s why I sort of stopped making these movies. Kids would see them repeatedly, at house on video. However dad and mom would solely take them to see it on the theater perhaps a few times, and say ah, you’ll see it later. Kids need to see it again and again. However they couldn’t drive themselves. So the field workplace by no means actually mirrored how a lot people had been really watching these movies. I might hear about it as a result of people would say, each time that comes on, my child watches it. It’s loopy. I believed it constructed up a fan base, however I wasn’t positive. [Netflix] knew they wished to carry again displaying them as a result of they’d heard plenty of pleasure about Sharkboy and Lavagirl, however I don’t think they even knew it was gonna get that a lot reaction. It was very thrilling. Now nearly each trailer says, Sharkboy and Lavagirl … and the remainder of the crew! However they’re just characters I borrowed from the opposite film. Folks just actually love the characters they usually stood out. Even when people have by no means seen the movie, they’ve heard of it. It’s been 15 years. After some time, you just hear about issues like that. I used to be very excited to see that, my son was very excited to see that. When people see what we did with the characters and their offspring, they’ll be actually happy that it’s in keeping with that unique movie. And in the event that they by no means noticed the unique movie, perhaps they’ll watch it.
Do you think that Netflix opens doors for these weirder movies to be made?
That’s why I really wished to do it. As a result of I like making these movies. They just weren’t field workplace possible, as a result of it feels prefer it’s a really focused viewers. However when you are able to do it for a service like Netflix … my daughter needs to observe Glitter Drive. I don’t should drive her to the theater. She will just sit there and click on and watch it as many occasions as she needs. I believed that’s one of the best place for people to see as a result of then they really hold observe of what number of occasions people watch. And now for as soon as, we’ll know precisely what number of occasions people watch the film. And that may actually give it a a lot better information as to the success of the movie than you would have in the event you put this out theatrically. As a result of it’s disproportionate as a result of a child can’t drive themselves to a theater. I used to be actually excited just to search out that out. I’m actually desirous to see. I believe it would have plenty of repeat viewing. And at last, for as soon as to have the ability to hold observe of it. The field doesn’t inform the entire story. These are very uncommon, uncommon movies to play to and to not that viewers repeatedly and once more.