El Rey Network – Robert Rodriguez

Featured / Film / January / March 14, 2014


‘El Mariachi’ director Robert Rodriguez revolutionizes the small screen with his new network and takes us Riding with El Rey in true Renegade Style.

The channel is the El Rey Network, owned by the director Robert Rodriguez — known for movies like “Desperado,” “From Dusk Till Dawn,” “Machete Kills” and the “Spy Kids” franchise.

Playing by his own rules, Robert Rodriguez has created some of the most imaginative works the big-screen has ever seen, delivering ass kicking, action packed entertainment as only a renegade can. Robert Rodriguez started an independent film movement in the mid 90s with El Mariachi before moving on to blockbuster “Desperado” making him the legend of independent, ultra-low budget filmmaking, which also featured a cameo by fellow indie film wunderkid, Quentin Tarantino. It would be the start of a long friendship between the two. Soon after came the cult classic “From Dusk till Dawn” written by Robert Kurtzman and Quentin Tarantino. With an all out cast that included Selma Hayek, Quentin himself and launching the lucrative film career of star George Clooney.

Filmmaker Robert Rodriguez brings his innovative vision to El Rey Network.
“On a personal level, I am father to five English-speaking Hispanic Americans who I knew didn’t see themselves represented on television.”

Now filmmaker Robert Rodriguez turns to El Rey Network to captivate audiences

Rodriguez has always had the ability to play with us with his stylish cinema cult classics and now edgy genre TV. Rodriguez, who directed and executive produced the 1996 cult-classic film written by Quentin Tarantino, has directed four of the ten episodes of the TV adaptation. The pilot premiered at the SXSW Film Conference and Festival in its new episodic section dedicated to smallscreen shows.
While most were excited about the launch some were left feeling deprived and desperately trying to access the networks causing confusing and creating a frenzy. This my friends is a good thing. This can only mean one thing. People are hungry for this and want to Ride with El Rey.


Rodriguez’s serialized drama, is set along the Mexico-US border where bank robber Seth Gecko (D.J. Cotrona) and his violent, unpredictable brother, Richard ‘Richie” Gecko (Zane Holtz) shoot their way south after a bank heist in Abilene, Texas.


Now Rodriguez has a new platform to create his magic with complete control

The ten episodes take place over the course of one night, following the brothers as they try to evade a pair of Texas rangers, Earl McGraw (Don Johnson) and Freddie Gonzalez (Jesse Garcia). Along the way, Seth and Richie encounter former pastor, Jacob Fuller (Robert Patrick) and his family. The Geckos take them hostage and steal their RV to cross the border. Chaos ensues when the group detours to a strip club populated by vampires. With the law, the undead and some of Mexico’s most hardened criminals on their trail, the group must fight until dawn to get out alive. Introducing another new character, kingpin Carlos Madrigal (Wilmer Valderrama).



“I had always loved television, in fact even networks were interested in me doing TV as far back as “El Mariachi.” But I had so much creative freedom in the film world, whereas I would have a friend trying to make TV shows and they had no control over it. I didn’t like the process of TV, but I did like the medium, so I just stuck with movies…”
“Movies always seemed like the safer bet, until about three years ago…”


Why the network’s first original series is “From Dusk Till Dawn”

“For the first show, I didn’t think it would be a good idea to present a property no one’s heard of on a network no one’s heard of. I thought it would be better to have a known title to help point people towards the network. I thought it was worth revisiting the film, especially having a Hispanic slant. You can dive into this Mayan and Aztec culture, explore in a way that you never see on TV, and give all the original characters a bigger life on-screen. We added a character, a Hispanic American cop who doesn’t really speak Spanish but who travels to Mexico after his partner is killed, and he’s the eyes of the audience.”


Robert Rodriguez, always an innovator has big ideas for the the network

“I want to do a show called “The Mariachi Project” where I give $7,000 to a filmmaker to go make a feature. We’ll show it on the network, give it some critiquing. At the end of the season the winner, chosen by the audience, will get to remake the film with a bigger budget, a real crew and bigger actors. If I did “El Mariachi” now it would cost like $700. The biggest expense was the film stock and now everybody shoots digitally. The film camera I had was so noisy, I had to record the sound separately. It sounded like all my money running away.”

In April, El Rey is to add another original series to its lineup, an interview show, “El Rey Presents: The Director’s Chair,” featuring discussions between Mr. Rodriguez and film directors like John Carpenter.

In July, plans call for the addition of a second scripted program, “Matador,” created by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (“Sleepy Hollow” Fringe”). An hourlong action series about a  Hispanic soccer star who uses the sport as a cover for his secret life as a top-secret CIA spy. Mr. Rodriguez said he would direct the pilot episode.

And El Rey has teamed up with the producer Mark Barnett to develop, for the second half of the year, an original reality series that would feature the Mexican wrestling known as lucha libre.

Netflix and Miramax also announces that Netflix has acquired the new TV series “From Dusk till Dawn.”as a Netflix exclusive for its subscribers in Canada, Ireland, The Netherlands, Nordic European territories and the UK where it will air starting mid March, with Latin America beginning later in the month.


“I’m having a blast, it’s probably the first time a director has a distribution network. I tell everybody, ‘Mi network is su network.'” – Robert Rodriguez


Sources: Meredith Blake, Los Angeles Times, and Stuart Elliott New York Times

Written by Anne Herrera

Anne Herrera

Anne Herrera is the founder of MUZE COLLECTIVE, a dedicated movement using writing to generate special interest in the Arts, Sciences and Social Justice.

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Anne Herrera
Anne Herrera is the founder of MUZE COLLECTIVE, a dedicated movement using writing to generate special interest in the Arts, Sciences and Social Justice.

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