Robert Rodriguez is going back to his pulp roots more than he ever has before, judging from the slew of new projects he announced at San Diego Comic-Con. If even half the projects he just announced happen, pop culture will go totally batshit.
What's the director of Sin City and Planet Terror developing? There's a Sin City sequel, Machete in space, there's the Heavy Metal movie that everybody's been trying to make for years... and there's a huge partnership with the estate of Frank Frazetta. Read on for details!
So Heavy Metal first. The last we heard about this project, David Fincher had the rights and was planning on making an anthology film with a slew of directors, possibly including Zack Snyder and James Cameron. And now, apparently Fincher has lost the rights, and Rodriguez snapped them up. In fact, Rodriguez had just instructed his rights guy to find out if they were available, when Heavy Metal owner Kevin Eastman got in touch with him through a mutual friend. So the coincidence seemed too weird not to follow up.
Rodriguez rhapsodized about his longstanding love for all things Heavy Metal, and the tons of back issues of the magazine he has in his studio. This magazine, plus Sin City and Robert E. Howard, are his three great inspirations, and the main reason he wanted to make a Barbarella movie years ago was because he thought it was the closest he could come to doing Heavy Metal.
What form will Heavy Metal take? Even Rodriguez seemed not to know for sure — but he hinted that other directors may get involved, and he said he's always loved the anthology format. He felt like the format of Sin City, with three stories and a frame story, worked really well, so he could see Heavy Metal having a similar format. And he encouraged people to send in their own home-made Heavy Metal films and stories, just the way people sent in homemade trailers for his Grindhouse project. To submit your own Heavy Metal stuff, go to amd.com/heavymetal and send in your "stories, short films, character worlds [and] short stories."
Then there's Sin City 2 — which Rodriguez said he'd either film later this year, or maybe never. This year is the best time for him to do this project before he has to do all the other projects on his plate. The second film would be called A Dame to Kill For, and it would include that previously published story plus two new stories that Frank Miller has written.
And thanks to the success of Machete on DVD, Rodriguez said a sequel is in the works, called Machete Kills Again. And he wants the third Machete movie to be set in space, called Machete Kills Again... In Space. He feels like we need more bad-ass Mexicans in space, with space babes. And Danny Trejo wielding a lightsaber shaped like a big machete. At the very least, the "Machete in space" movie will be a trailer before Machete 2, which might also be released on the internet beforehand.
And then there's Frank Frazetta. The legendary fantasy artist died last year at the age of 82, but Rodriguez is determined to keep Frazetta's legacy alive — so he's working with Frazetta's estate to create more ventures to promote his work. This includes a Frank Frazetta Museum in Austin, TX, where you'll be able too see Frazetta's original paintings — which the artist never sold. "This joint venture is going to allow us to generate new income so they don't have to sell the paintings," said Rodriguez.
And meanwhile, Rodriguez is working on a movie that will present Frazetta's vision in the same way that Sin City presented Frank Miller's vision: Fire and Ice. This was a 1983 Ralph Bakshi movie that Frazetta worked on, but now Rodriguez feels the technology exists to bring Frazetta's vision to life properly.
Rodriguez showed us a concept trailer, created by three artists on the project so far, that gave us a sense of what it would be like. And... basically, it's just a nonstop flood of insane images, of mostly naked barbarians fighting monsters, beheading giant squids, riding giant lizards, fighting giant lizards, grappling with ginormous tentacle monsters, standing atop the corpses of dead huge giant spiders. And snowy landscapes and crystal fortresses and huge freaking axes, and rivers of lava flooding over everything. If the final film looks even remotely like what he showed us, it could be the ultimate fantasy acid trip.
Let's hope that Rodriguez manages to get some of these projects to our screens in the next few years. We need more insane outer space monsters, and mostly naked axe-wielding barbarians. And lightsaber machetes!